Pet Games - My Thoughts and Reviews
This page is a sort of web shrine for adoptable pet games, which I've loved since I was a little kid. I’m not sure if it's because I love animals in real life, or because I like long-term gaming, but I’ve always had a ton of fun with these sorts of games and sims. A good number of them also include decorating elements, and I love any activity that lets me be creative. Overall, it’s a large genre that encompasses lots of different types of games, so I’ll be breaking them up into different categories based on different criteria.
Basically, a pet game is a game in which you are able to “adopt” and/or care for either one or more pets, whether they be real animals, fantasy animals, monsters, aliens, etc. A few of them allow you to adopt humans, although these are usually in the minority. Caring for the pets can include feeding them, playing with them to make them happy, keeping them clean, etc. A few pet games don’t include this because they’re more like “collect-a-thons” that are geared towards having very large collections, and caring for them all would quickly become too difficult, but you can still usually name them, dress them up, and show them off.
These types of games tend to be very popular among creative types, who often like to create backstories for their pets, along with artwork, fanfiction, and the like. Those that are online will frequently hold contests to see who can come up with the most creative pet pages, stories, and pictures. I’m no exception! I've got little stories for each of the pets I play with, and you can look at some of them in the My Adopted Pets section.
Here are my collections of pets from various sites and games. If you're unfamiliar with these, check out the reviews section!
View Pet Page
My Subeta Pets
My Favorite Chicken Smoothie Pets
I was too many to post them all, so after you look at these, check out my profile to see more!
My Dragon Cave Pets
Click here to see all of them!
Reviews & Lists
Adopt, Fight, and Explore
These types of games let you adopt pets and then do things with them. The number of pets you can adopt is usually quite small, so that you can focus on increasing their stats and bonding with them.
Neopets: Despite being far less active than it was back in its heyday, Neopets is still the best-known in the pet game genre. It allows you to adopt up to six Neopets - fantasy creatures that are based on real animals - and keep them fed, happy, and cure them when they get sick. They can also be trained and fought, a bit like Pokemon, and the site also features a world that can be explored by the players. Neopets also functions as a social network, where players can post on forum boards, send each other “Neomail,” and participate in the Neopian economy.
Neopets' economy in particular is a little out of whack these days, due to rampant inflation and sparse drops of items that are highly coveted. It is still playable and fun for new players, but it takes a bit more work than other sites to make enough currency to be comfortable. With plentiful ways to get food and toys, it’s not difficult to keep your pets happy, but the more unique customization options will require some work.
Subeta - Much like Neopets, you adopt digital pets, feed them, make them happy, and can train and fight them. Subeta also includes human avatars that you can collect items for and decorate. The forums are where most interaction takes place, and they are very active. It is far easier to earn money in Subeta, and as a result, the economy is much calmer. Almost all of the site is mobile-friendly, with only a few games still reliant on flash. To be honest, though, I don’t really play many of the games, and those that I do aren’t usually in the Arcade section, which is where most of the flash content is. Subeta is pretty much completely playable on mobile, and the team is actively working on converting the rest. Needless to say, the development team is very active as well.
Subeta is probably the closest clone to Neopets that I've come across, but it has several features that I think trump Neo. You are allowed to adopt 10 pets rather than Neo's 6, and you can purchase more slots in the future if you like. Each of the pets has absolutely beautiful artwork, and you have the option to add your own as a "custom overlay" if you like. The economy is much more manageable, and there are special "collection" sections in every user's profile to make it easier to collect trading cards, beanbags, and plushies, so that you don't have to use your only gallery to do so. If you are interested in using the gallery feature, though, you get one per pet, rather than one per account. One upside to the better economy is that it's much easier to customize your pets, which is done with elixirs rather than paint brushes. While there are a few highly coveted ones that go for several million, most of them will be within everyone's budget (and it’s not nearly as hard to earn a million or two here anyway). An additional BIG plus, Subeta also has more gender options, and in general is MUCH more LGBTQ+ friendly. Its overall population is older, and the site is generally geared towards adults. You can choose between male, female, and neither for your pets, and if you decide you'd like to change your pet’s gender in the future, you can do so with an elixir.
Flight Rising - I haven't played this one yet, but it looks like it functions much like Neopets and Subeta. The difference here is that it is focused on raising dragons! This one is fairly popular on the Chicken Smoothie forums.
Goatlings - Like the above, but with goats! And the goats are adorable.
Verpets - Verpets was much more popular in the past, and doesn't have as many active users these days. However, it's still up and playable.
Sylestia - This one is new and in beta, but the artwork is lovely!
Xanje - Xanje is an adoptable pets site that is aimed at adults. The artwork is pretty great, and a good number of the creatures are wonderfully creepy.
Solpets - Seems rather small at the moment, but the pets look cute.
Beast Keeper - This site allows breeding, which I would normally put under the Collectible Pet Games section, but I've included it here because they limit the number you are able to adopt.
Felis Fire - Focused on cat creatures and customizing them. Set in space!
Pixpet - This one sells itself as a text adventure. The pets, true to its name, are pixelated and very retro!
Collectible Pet Games
These games don't allow you to do as much with your pets, because they are focused on collecting and/or breeding them, and leveling up their stats would probably get unweidly quickly. The main critera I use for these games is that they do not limit the number of pets you can have, or allow you to have very large numbers of them.
Chicken Smoothie - Chicken Smoothie doesn’t really have any care options for your adopted pets, but you do get to watch them grow and dress them up. The rest of the site is geared towards collecting different kinds of pets that the site releases more of every month. The forums are VERY active, and you can usually always find something interesting going on. Definitely check out the intro board, though, because things can be confusing when you first get started.
Dragon Cave - Dragon Cave is also based around collecting images of adoptables, all dragons that initially start out as eggs. Eggs mature based on how many clicks and visits they get, so you'll often see them in people's forum signatures in order to keep them alive. It also features a very extensive breeding system that lets you create different kinds of dragons and lineages based on which ones you combine.
Magistream - Magistream is like Dragon cave, but features much more than just dragons, and has some beautiful pixel art for each creature. Also, because the creatures are of different species, I don't believe you can breed them.
Egg Cave - There are many fantasy creatures on Egg Cave as well, but also some that are based on real creatures. This one has a world map and its artwork is a bit more on the "Neopets" side of things.
The Final Outpost - This is one of the few Science Fiction adoptable sites out there. It allows you to adopt and breed pets that are both fantastical and mundane.
Protochroma.net - Also Sci-fi, this one is focused on breeding.
Leetle adoptables - Mostly clickables for your forum signatures. This site lets you submit your own, however, and add ones you like to your own toybox.
A good number of these sites are based off of, or straight up ripped from, the Pokemon games, often focusing on a specific part of the games, like fighting, or allowing you to breed the Pokemon. I haven't played any of these, but I have them bookmarked as I'd like to try them eventually.
Neopets Classic - This is a revival of the original Neopets site before they made changes to modernize it. Sign-ups are not always open, but I believe you can purchase a spot via Patreon if you don't want to wait.
Modern Neopets - Another revival that looks like it's aiming to branch off of the existing Neopets site and into its own things. This one also has a Patreon for those interested
Flower game - Own a virtual garden! Why aren't there more of these?
Wobble Town - Wobble Town is an online Tamagotchi clone. You can't do much but feed and customize the wobbles, but they're cute and fun!
Tamanotchi - Another Tamagotchi clone. This one lets you choose from several different styles for your "egg," and then breed them as they grow up.
I've been picking these up on eBay lately and reviewing them in my blog. Check out these links to see what I've reviewed so far:
Tamagotchi - You've probably heard of these if you've been around for a while, since they were really big back in the early 2000's. I had one as a child, along with several off brands (a baby t-rex VR Creature, also known as the Aka-chan ROM, and the Pikachu digital pet). Oddly enough, those off-brands are now worth way more on Ebay than the original Tamagotchis! Anyways, Tamagotchis are pretty basic little digital pets that exist in their own separate keychain computer with an LCD screen. The original ones were not able to talk to each other or breed, but the company still produces them, and the newest ones feature full-color screens and wifi capability, and one model even comes with a camera that is worked into the gameplay. The feature that makes Tamagotchis stand out are the original characters, which are said to be aliens that have come down to Earth to learn from humans about how to live. They will grow up to take on different forms based on how you treat them, and each one of these forms has its own name and personality.
Gigapets - Gigapets was Tiger Electronics' competitor to Tamagotchi, and unlike all those other Tiger Electronics handhelds you remember from your childhood, these were actually pretty good. There were four original ones, a dog, a cat, a t-rex, and an alien. Unlike the Tamagotchis, they do not have more than one form to grow into, but they were still fun to play with, and I had a lot of fun watching them get bigger as they grew. I had the T-rex growing up, and when I had the opportunity to buy a new one for the re-release I went with the puppy.
They’ve re-released them recently and added a few new options: there’s a unicorn pet now, and a special two-in-one "compu-kitty and star cat."
Digimon - I never really had these as a kid, nor was I that interested in them. That's largely because it was marketed towards boys, and emphasis was placed on the fighting part of the pets, rather than caring for them. Nonetheless, you could still feed them, clean them after they've pooped, treat their sicknesses, as well as train them as they grow. Feeding would also add to their weight in different ways, which in turn would affect their battle stats. Digimon can evolve and die just like Tamagotchi, with the added battle mechanic affecting how they change and how long they've lived.
Bandai, who also makes Tamagotchi, have also re-released the digimon devices and currently sells a new one as the "Digimon X." I've yet to try any of these, but they sound pretty fun, especially if you've got a few folks you can battle with every now and then.
Touma Pet - The Touma pet is a Chinese knock-off of the Tamagotchi Pix, with gameplay that varies considerably from the original. I've heard good things about these, and have one on its way to me in the mail. I'll eventually be putting a review of it on my blog.
Desktop & console games
Here is a list of games that are similar to the virtual pet sites I've listed above. I'm aiming to write reviews of each of these eventually, and will link to them when I do.
- Stardew Valley, Harvest Moon, My Time at Portia, and Garden Paws are all very similar and are closer to farming games/sims, but there is a lot of overlap in the playerbase
- Planet Zoo/Zoo Tycoon
- Petz (PF Games series)
- Petz/Nintendogs (Ubisoft series)
- Monster Rancher
- Slime Rancher
- Chao game in Sonic Adventure 2 Battle
- Viva Pinata series
- The Sims (with the pets expansions) - The Sims 3 has the best pet options, since it includes horses, cats, dogs, and smaller non-controllable pets. The original Sims 1 Makin' Magic expansion also includes dragons.
- Animal Crossing - not exactly an adoptable pet game, but the villagers fulfill a similar role.