Because my daughter, who is ten, is a Littlest Pet Shop fanatic as well as a shopping fiend, this game is a great addition to our board game collection. Two to four players, ages 9 and up, can compete as animals – a dog, cat, monkey or bird – who race each other to buy items from each mall store, using treat tokens won from the Food Court along with directions from the electronic console, which operates on three AA batteries (not included). The console has two voices, a pleasant woman’s voice that tells players how many spaces to move, or to go to the ATM to get more spending money, and a man’s voice that warns when you’ve set off a security alarm or are at a store with a long line or that is out of stock. The first time we heard the man’s voice it made us jump (“Wow!” he yelled when we pushed the console button) because we were so surprised, then we laughed that a game would make us jump like that. The console keeps track of each player’s purchases when you swipe your bank card in the right slot – the other slot is the ATM – so if you forget to put a purple check mark marker on your card at each store, the console will let you know when you have bought everything you need to win. This also keeps players from cheating or arguing over who made which purchases, which is pretty handy for parents who don’t want to hear their kids hollering about that sort of thing, or parents who can’t remember (like me) what they bought because they are too busy trying to keep the cat off the game board.
Each store has a different item to buy, depending on your pet – if you are the dog, you can get a haircut at Squeaky Clean, or designer goggles at Glitter Pet, and you can learn to shake hands at Totally Talented. We had so much fun playing this that the morning after we bought it and played it for the first time, my daughter woke up asking to play it even before breakfast, which is a big deal for my donut and coffee loving child. One of our cats – the big fat one – kept interrupting us by stepping on the game board and sitting on our money, but that only added to the fun, even if it made me confused over my purchases, and it was a silly thing to be pulling money from underneath the cat like she was the ATM. The game board folds up to make a case with a handle to carry it around easily, so you can share the fun with your friends and their participating pets as well.
This is more fun than we expected, but not a surprise from Hasbro, which continues to keep us entertained. Littlest Pet Shop fan or not, we think most girls will like this game, and maybe a few boys as well.