It was a new kind of monster mash at the Los Angeles Zoo last week, when CC and I had the chance to check out online kids' game Moshi Monsters.
The free, Web-only pet adoption game from U.K. game developer Mind Candy, features lively creatures that children can customize and guide around Monstro City.
The little monsters themselves look cute but mischievous -- an adorable franken-zombie, anyone? -- and the game definitely does not shy away from gross-out offerings -- eye pie for lunch? Ewwww.
But the games themselves allow kids to get creative with little guys that want to interact with them. There are levels such as happiness and health that players must maintain. (Don't want to have a morose monster on your hands.)
CC had fun picking out her Cousin It-like monster Furi's colors and traipsing around Monstro City trying to find him some hairspray for his unruly mane. (She was actually a big fan of the eye pie. Ewwww, again.)
The game also offers some educational elements, such as Daily Challenges, where kids can pick the correct number of objects on the screen, as well as choose the corresponding word for whatever is on display. That's definitely a plus for the little ones.
One of the representatives on hand mentioned over lunch that the game isn't meant to be something kids want to spend hours playing. It focuses on shorter bursts and time-saver challenges.
For older kids, there's a social element to the game, where kids can network online through Monster blogs, pin boards and buddy lists.
For me, and I'm sure a lot of other parents, this presents a bit of a red flag (although CC is definitely too young to work her "baby network.") However, kids can block unwanted "friend" requests, and parents can exert however much control they want. (Click here for more info.)
And while game-playing is free, you do have to provide an email address to get started.
All in all, CC found the little guys entertaining and refers to them as "Mochi" Monsters -- she loves those Japanese desserts! She also had fun running around the zoo for a bit and digging into a goody bag filled with posters, pins and key chains.
I guess I just need to get used to the eye pie. (Ewww.)