Pocket Creatures will be your special pet on iPhone and iPad
Taking an holistic approach to nature and nurture
While at GDC, I got the opportunity to hook up with Morten Svendsen and Asbjoern Malte Soendergaard from Tactile Entertainment.
They're finishing work on their Tamagotchi meets Black & White meets Viva Pinata game Pocket Creatures, which is due out in April.
As is traditional in the genre, you start off with an egg, out of which will hatch a little creature you have to look after in terms of feeding and nurturing.Primal urges
"It's a pet game we want to play ourselves," explains designer Svendsen. "Every action you make in game will affect your creature's evolution."
This includes the sort of interaction that made Lionhead's Black & White so interesting. For example, you can change the affinity of your creature to food by feeding it certain items and then slapping it around to make it sad. It will learn to dislike them.
Or you can just shake your iDevice to make it vomit. Nice...
This sort of behaviour can also be extended to the various animals which wander around the world. Of course, you can also build up positive reinforcement by petting your creature when different events happen. His affinity to everything is demonstrated by a simple love/hate meter.
The Viva Pinata part of the game comes as you can plant seeds and grow them by watering and fertilising them. Indeed, you use a wandering platypus to dig a hole and then you can use the anteater to suck up the required water. Alternatively just make your creature sad and use the rain clouds that will appear above his head.
"There's many different ways to get things done in this game," Svendsen says.Growing pains
Plants can be used to grow food as well as magic trees, which drop special abilities such as freeze and lightning. These are particularly useful when your garden is attacked by pests.
Throw into the game's featurelist a backstory about a lost race who used to live on the deserted island, and planned support for multiplayer interaction of creatures via a future update, and it seems that Pocket Creatures is shaping up to be one of the more ambitious virtual pet games that we've seen on iPhone.
And it's coming to iPad too.
You can see how the game works in the follow video.