Pet Fair™ (Free) by PlayCoMo, Inc brings small-time fair management and pet handling to the iPhone and iPad.
The never-ending chain of upgrades and theme decorations keeps the ball rolling, while the adorable graphics make the whole package easy on the eyes. The copious in-app purchases (and less than pleasing pacing) damage the experience a bit, but hardly enough to detract from this free app’s value.
Like other micromanagement apps available in the App Store, Pet Fair allows users to build their own fair from the ground up, constructing buildings, clearing pastures, and adding decorations with the cash and experience they accumulate. In this sense, the gameplay is most similar to apps like “Smurfs’ Village,” or even the recently popular “Tiny Tower.”
However, rather than having players construct an entire town or apartment complex, Pet Fair has one single goal. This goal is to rebuild an abandoned fairground to attract as many pets as possible, raking in their cash in the process.
To do so, players will need to manage their coins and resources appropriately to build, upgrade, and maintain various buildings. Structures range from a simple tree to a magical castle with heaps of other units in-between. There are also decorations, wonders, and games to be built, each adding both income and “fun” points to the mix.
Sporting a list of items well into the triple-digits, Pet Fair offers more than enough content to fill several hours of gameplay. Buildings collect income even when the player is away, though users must pop in every now and again to restock their venus, or no money is made.
All in all, Pet Fair is an addictive and fun micromanagement title for the iPhone. However, the fun is often cut short by the game’s focus on in-app purchases.
Users need energy points to perform actions. These points, of course, run out rather quickly, but can be purchased in various amounts for a couple of dollars via the in-house shop.
Likewise, certain buildings require certain resources to be completed. These items (mushrooms, gems, butterflies, etc.) can be purchased like the aforementioned energy points, or can be scrounged for by digging up nearby vegetation.
Essentially, Pet Fair creates a choice between grinding extensively or shelling out a few extra dollars to keep playing.
In this sense, Pet Fair is best played in short spurts, shoveling up a batch of loose grass now and adding a new building sometime later. Because of the limitations the developers have implemented, the title makes it difficult to escape for hours at a time.
However, Pet Fair is still an excellent value, especially as a free game in the App Store. If you’re a fan of the genre, or if you just enjoy a good casual game for the iPhone, Pet Fair is guaranteed to please.