Terrapets Android App Review: A Pokemon-FarmVille Hybrid
At a Glance
What happens when you combine FarmVille and Pokemon? You get Terrapets, a terraforming-and-creature-battling Android game from CerebralFix. Unfortunately, though the concept of combining FarmVille and Pokemon is novel, Terrapets lacks any real motivators to keep you playing for longer than a few minutes.
Terrapets is pretty straightforward: It's a "terraforming" game, or a game in which you build up the surrounding land however you like, but with a twist. Instead of tending your land so that you can raise crops, you're trying to catch and tame (and sometimes battle) fantasy creatures.
You start out with a bare-bones wildlife reserve. Your first objective is to cultivate the land, turning it into grassland, swamps, forests, lakes, and the like. Afterward, you can start placing traps to catch some Terrapets. Your basic reserve features a cottage that gives you Terrapets cards for catching the creatures, as well as a money rock that gives you cash.
To level up, you must complete goals that the game sets for you. Traps vary (some kinds of traps catch better creatures), and what types of creatures you get will depend on where you place the traps. For example, if you place a trap on swampland, it will snag only swamp-dwelling creatures.
Once you've placed and baited a trap, all you have to do is wait. This is sort of like waiting for your crops to grow in FarmVille; you can leave the game and do other things.
When you come back to Terrapets and see that your trap has caught something (it'll be shaking), you can open the trap and try to tame the creature or battle it using one of your already-tamed Terrapets.
If you choose to tame the creature, a slot wheel appears, and your job is to stop the wheel on the right icons. First, you'll want to stop it on icons for food, so that you can feed the Terrapet and make it more amenable to being tamed. Later, you'll want to stop the slot wheel on the card icon, so that you can throw your card out and (you hope) tame the creature. However, the wheel also has other icons that will thwart you, such as a skull that makes you lose a turn, and a bottle that feeds poison to the pet.
If you want to battle the creature, the game asks you to choose one of your existing Terrapets to help. Every Terrapet has three different "moves," each of which corresponds to a rock-paper-scissors move. To battle a creature, you must choose which move to make during each turn, and hope that the rogue creature chooses a weaker move. If you win, your current Terrapet will level up, but you can’t capture the defeated creature.
Terrapets is a great idea--I'm always up for something that brings more actual gaming to time-management games--but it's still a little rough. There's a lot going on, and there's quite a bit of disconnect among the different parts of the game. For example, you get no real interaction with the creatures, aside from trying to tame or fight them. You can't see your Terrapets on your reserve, which sort of defeats the purpose of making an attractive wildlife reserve. You can battle creatures, but for what purpose? You can't catch the ones you defeat, so all you can do is have high-level Terrapets that you can't see.
Since Terrapets is still in beta, CerebralFix may be able to improve on some of these issues. Right now, nothing about this game compels me to play it for more than a few minutes--it has neither the aesthetic appeal of FarmVille nor the exciting battle/catching appeal of Pokemon. Still, it's free, and perhaps it's worth a look if you love FarmVille and/or Pokemon, and you want a new game to play.
We tested this app using a Samsung Galaxy Nexus running Android 4.0.2.
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