Giga Pets Pixel Puppy

ScreenMonochrome
Shell colorsTranslucent purple
ManufacturerTop Secret Toys
Pet typeBasic
ProgrammingCustom
Release year2017

The Giga Pets Pixel Puppy is a reboot of the original Digital Doggy released by Tiger Electronics in 1997. More of an homage rather than a strict copy, though, this one has unique graphics and games that differ from the original. Looking through the instruction manuals, however, will show that the basic programming is pretty similar. The animations this pet has are adorable; the doggie spends a lot of time running around, but I’ve also seen him sniffing on the ground (so cute), running into the screen, and even chasing its tail. In addition to cleaning up its poop, you’ll also need to give it baths when it gets fleas, which you can tell by how it scratches itself. When you’re not caring for it, after a while it’ll go to sleep, probably to save on battery time, but you can wake it up at any point by pressing the buttons. I’ve heard that the original Giga Pets were really difficult to care for, and if that’s so, then it seems they’ve changed the programming to be more forgiving, since I haven’t really had much trouble with it at all. Also, the sounds it makes are quite varied and cute! It barks, scratches, makes chomping noises when it eats, and splashes in the tub.

One thing I don’t like is that you have to discipline it in order to keep its discipline meter up, rather than when it misbehaves like other pets. I don’t really like disciplining it for no reason, so I usually chose to teach it tricks instead, since this also affects the meter, although in smaller increments. This is of course a staple of the Giga pets programming, but it’s one that I’m just not a fan of in general. I prefer it when discipline in pets is either left out entirely, or is triggered by specific behaviors, rather than having to make my pets upset for seemingly no reason.

Overall, this is a fun, easy pet to run, and an excellent introduction for the new reboot line. It’s of course not nearly as complex as the other pets that came after it, but the animations and sounds are so adorable that this is easily forgivable. I still like to run through mine from time to time despite the lack of progression, and if you’re looking to get into vpets for the first time, this one would be an excellent choice!

Giga Pets Unicorn

ScreenMonochrome
Shell colorsTranslucent cyan
ManufacturerTop Secret Toys
Pet typeBasic
ProgrammingCustom
Release year2020

Note: this is a rewrite of my blogged review here: https://www.thefrugalgamer.net/blog/index.php?/archives/32-Gigapets-Unicorn-Review.html

This is one of the newer, revamped Gigapets that was released by Top Secret Toys in 2020, and from what I understand it was voted on by fans when they announced they were going to make a brand new pet.

Functions

This pet has all of the normal functions that you’ll find on other Gigapets, but they’ve been customized to match the unicorn itself. Here’s a rundown of your menu options:

  • Feeding: Normal food is a slice of cake, while your snacks are shakes
  • Lights: Lights can be turned on and off to put the pet to sleep. The screen for this is pretty cute; your unicorn will lay down underneath a huge rainbow.
  • Games:

* Catch the coin: Coins will fall from the sky one at a time, and you must press (and HOLD, don’t TAP!) left or right to catch them. It’ll start with 10 at first, and if you’re successful and win, the next time you play you get an additional coin added up to a max of 20. When you lose, the count resets.
* Hurdle jumping: Your unicorn will run to the left or right, and you must press the corresponding direction button to jump over them when they appear. At first you will need to clear 10 of them, and if you win, the next time you play you’ll have an additional hurdle added, up to a max of 20. When you lose, the count resets. Additionally, when you jump in the hurdle game, you can see little rainbow lines coming out the back of the horse 🙂 It’s not in color, but I appreciate how they captured the essence of the art and it’s completely clear what’s going on.
* Sky island hopping: This one will be locked to you until you max out your unicorn’s stats, at which point it’ll turn into an alicorn. Once it has wings, you can play this game, in which you hop across islands in the sky. This game is much harder, and you don’t get anything additional for winning, but it is fun.

  • Medicine: Calls the ambulance when the pet is sick. I have to admit I didn’t use this option much, because the pet is pretty easy to take care of
  • Clean: Cleans up the unicorn’s poop, which is shaped like cupcakes, or lets you brush its mane and tail.
  • Stats: Shows your overall score (an aggregate of all the pet’s stats), Health, Happiness, Discipline, and Age/weight. These are all calculated on a scale from 0-100, but the activities are pretty liberal with their point allocations, so don’t worry, it’s not that much of a grind.
  • Tricks: These are the tricks you can teach your pet. The first option is “Rewards,” and you can press the right button to go to “Tricks.” There are three tricks: Back Legs (rear up on hind legs), Horn (Shoot stars from its horn), and The Dab (IT DOES A DAB), which is my favorite. At first, the pet won’t perform the right one, but with repeated positive reinforcement, you can train them to do the correct one.
  • Discipline: This is the discipline function. It functions like the other stats on a meter, and needs to be done unprompted to keep it filled. It’s probably one of my least favorite things about these pets.
  • Alerts: Unselectable, this is your indicator that your pet needs something.

Graphics

One of the things I’ve mentioned I love about these pets is that the screens are incredibly clear and easy to see, something that the Tamagotchis still struggle with. This one is just as pretty to look at as the rest of the Giga Pets line, and the animations on it are clear and easy to read. The unicorn is very active during the day, and will not only walk back and forth, but will also look back at you and gesture, and sometimes even performs some of the tricks you can teach it! If you leave the pet for a while, it will show the pet’s sleeping screen to save on battery, but you can wake it back up by pressing any of the buttons.

Sounds

The sounds on these things are really impressive for the size and simplicity of them. There are separate noises for running, neighing, brushing, eating, and successfully completing an objective in the games. They’re all clear and easily distinguished, and they sound great. I really wish there were more pets that had clear sounds like these–the beeps from classic P1 Tamas and others are cute, but get boring quickly. It would be nice if they could incorporate some of the more sophisticated ones.

Gameplay

If you like other GigaPets, especially the newer ones, you’ll like this one as well. There are no stages, which is normal for these, but I enjoy them nonetheless and I feel like everything else about them is very well done. The fun in them is keeping their scores up everyday and watching the nice animations on them, and just letting them keep you company. For those of you who like seeing your pets grow, though, this one will probably not be your favorite. To be honest, aside from one particular feature, the pet will play the same from day to day, whether that’s on day one or day 30. Just about the only change you’ll see is that when the pet’s score goes above 90, it will turn into an Alicorn and allow you to play the third hidden game. This doesn’t stay indefinitely–once the score dips back down it will downgrade, but you can always make it change again by upping its scores with the usual care options.

Digipets 10-in-1 Multipet

ScreenMonochrome
Shell colorsGreen, yellow, red, white, blue
ManufacturerKids Only
Pet typeMultipet
ProgrammingCustom
Release year2005

Surprisingly, although this pet looks like a knockoff, its programming is actually unique, although not really very in depth overall. I’d say it’s a pretty easy pet to care for, though it can be very loud and has no mute function.

Upon starting up the pet, it will cycle through pictures of all 10 pets it features: cat, dog, crab, goldfish, horse, mouse, dinosaur (which looks like charmander), butterfly, frog, and rabbit. Then you can use the left and right buttons to cycle through and choose which one you want to raise. You’re then able to set the time and name your pet, but I will mention I can’t find a way to access the name at any point after this, so for all I know it gets forgotten immediately. After you’ve set all these things up, you’re ready to play.

There are seven functions that you can access from the default screen either by pressing “enter” or the left/right buttons. The menu structure is as follows:

  • Index:
    • Weight, Training (? I do NOT know what this icon is supposed to be), Food, Happiness, Strength, Health, Sleep, Age, Pause
  • Feed
  • Train
  • Play
  • Education
  • DR (medicine)
  • Clean
  • Light

That’s right, this one has a pause function! And a sleep meter, which is almost as rare as pause functions, especially on pets this age. This means that if you’re not careful, you can really mess up the pet’s sleep schedule, since it will happily fill up the sleep meter during the day if you let it. On the other hand, if you’re willing to clean up poops on a regular basis and make sure it’s naps take place at reasonable hours, this pet won’t ask much else of you and is very easy to take care of. The animations on this one are cute and unique, but they only cycle between a few frames at a time. You won’t be getting tons of idle animations or anything, but what you can see is really clear and the screen is easy to read. They have a “grumpy” animation for when their needs aren’t full met, which I have to admit is pretty cute. It’s mostly just a frowny face that they wear as they bob up and down a bit, but I think it’s funny.

The rest of the functions aren’t super interactive: feeding lets you choose between pizza and milk. Being the health-conscious person I am, I usually choose milk, but I’ve seen nothing in the instructions or on the pet that would indicate that feeding pizza is bad for them. I suspect it’s just there for variety. Training, playing, and education are all animations that play for a bit and then up the corresponding meters. There is no game on this one, which is a slight disappointment. On the other hand, you’re not stuck guessing left or right and failing over and over, so for some that may be a plus. Dr/medicine and cleaning won’t be needed until the pet gets sick, which happens slowly, or poops, which is frequently. Also, if it does poop, you’ll be reminded by three short beeps until you do clean it up, and given that you can’t turn off the sound here, I would recommend the pause function if you’re somewhere where you can’t tend to the pet for a while.

The Light function is obvious, and needs to be toggled when the pet sleeps. You can do this when its sleep meter is low and it complains, or you can do it at night when it’s convenient for you, and this will help reinforce a schedule for it. If you don’t you may end up getting woken up a few times throughout the night!

I took care of this one until it was 12 years old, or twelve days in our time, and there was no change in growth or growing up and going away etc. The care options do not change in between each pet, so the differences are largely graphic. I would say if you don’t mind the noisiness and haven’t raised a pet before, this might be a good choice, but on the other hand it’s so very simple and unchanging that I feel like only enthusiasts will really enjoy taking care of it. As a collector, this one interested me because of its different care functions and meters, and I do love a good, clear screen with nice drawings. But otherwise this one doesn’t stand out a whole lot from the crowd, and definitely hasn’t done anything better than other multipets I’ve played.

Nano Doubles

The Nano Double pets let you raise both a dog and cat simultaneously. Although the name of this device would suggest that it was its own line, it seems that the dog and cat version was the only one that was ever made (wouldn’t it have been nice to get a boy/girl baby double, or a hamster/turtle version?).

Video of NanoDouble Gameplay

Dog functions

  • Feed (dry food/lemonade)
  • Light
  • Games: two of them; the left/right game, and get the ball (tap one direction)
  • Medicine (nurse icon)
  • Bath
  • Stats – uses hearts and includes overall score
  • Discipline (angry face)
  • Unselectable alert

The pet will crawl across multiple screens, including one with a fence. You can switch between different pets using the diamond button on the front panel.

Cat functions

  • Feed (dry food/bottle)
  • Light
  • Games: left/right game and catch the mouse (tap one direction)
  • Medicine
  • Bath
  • Stats – uses hearts and includes overall score
  • Discipline
  • Unselectable alert

Nano Family

There are two different colored shells for this pet, one with pink highlights, and the other with purple highlights, but I have no idea if the programming is any different between them. They let you chose between a variety of female and male dogs at start (there are like 8 total, which seems a lot), and then you can raise them. Apparently they will also talk to each other and play/have puppies, but I unfortunately only own one, so I have not been able to test this.

After picking up one myself, the most immediate thing I can say about them is that they’re really hefty and feel lovely. There’s a good amount of weight to them (but not too much!), and the screen is nice and large. The buttons are almost clicky with how much feedback you get when pressing them, and I just really like the case design overall; there’s even a dedicated sound button! This one is super fun to carry around! As is usual with Nanos, my pet can walk across multiple screens, and chases butterflies and runs next to her doghouse. There’s also a fence in the background of one of the screens. Each time I exit a menu function, the game shows me the face of the dog I chose, and then zooms out to show what she looks like now. This is a nice feature, and helps to remind you which dog you chose.

One of the major drawbacks, though, is that as far as I can tell, there’s no way to raise a second generation without connecting to a second device, and the prices for these aren’t great right now. Because of that, although I did enjoy playing with this one, it eventually got a little boring and I turned it off. There isn’t a whole lot of growth, it lacks different age stages, and without the ability to have a pup, it seemed kind of pointless after a while. I would like to pick another one up in the future and play it again, but until I find another good deal, it’ll have to wait.

Video of Nano Puppy family gameplay

Functions Some of these don’t go across the top and bottom of the screen like in other pets, but have you scroll through a menu on a different screen. They also have an alarm function on the clock screen.

  • Stats – There are two branching stats options: the first shows you the sort of info you’d expect to pop up by pressing the “mode” button on an empty screen (name and age of your pet and the personality you chose), while the other one contains the more immediate ones (hunger, happiness, sickness, and education)
  • Feed – Contains dry food and drink options. These aren’t the usual food/snack options, because in fact they have two separate meters and must both be filled for the pet to be happy. I suppose one is representing thirst, otherwise it wouldn’t make much sense to have a snack option.
  • Wash – This is only for cleaning poop, and the pet will refuse it if is not needed
  • Medicine
  • Family connect – I don’t have another one so I won’t be able to test this, unfortunately. At least not yet
  • Read book – This is for the education meter
  • Play game (kick the ball into goal) – There’s only one game here and it’s pretty simple. I press the square button repeatedly when playing, otherwise the ball flys off into the distance. Not sure why I need to press the middle button, but it works and makes the pet happy. The game will repeat each time you win or lose and you can stop it at any time by pressing the circle button.
  • Baby – shows an animation of a baby getting licked by puppy. Not sure what that does. It’s represented by a stroller icon in the menu, so my working theory is that either this tells me what stage of growth the puppy is on, or it lets me switch between the pets I’m raising (if there are multiple allowed).

Nano Teddy

One of the rarer ones, this one pops up on Ebay occasionally for obscene prices. I have yet to see any of it in action myself, but based on the instructions, it seems to run similarly to other Nano Pets. Notable however is that it does include exercise and a weather function, and that you are instructed not to feed it too much, and to vary its meals. If you have any pictures of the screens that you would be interested in sharing, please reach out to me!

The instructions I have here are thanks to Daughter of Anubis on Tumblr

Nano Bunny

ScreenMonochrome
Shell colorsRed, teal
ManufacturerPlaymates Toys
Pet typeBasic
ProgrammingNano
Release year1997

Video of Nano Bunny Gameplay

The Nano bunny lets you give it a name up to 8 characters long which will show on the stats menu. The startup animation is just a beating heart that stays until the bunny is born, then it switches to the bunny animation.

Functions

  • Shower
  • Stats – uses dots?
  • Feed – carrot/apple/candy
  • Game – Simon says (press the buttons as they show on the screen)
  • Discipline (wagging finger)
  • ???? Light?
  • Exercise
  • Medicine