Social networks have been burdened by an overabundance of copycat social games with dozens of variations on essentially the same game type clogging Facebook’s search function. The pets genre in particular is looking pretty crowded on the platform with almost 100 apps tagged as such in our social game traffic tracking service, AppData. So we were surprised when Rivet Games, formerly known as FooMojo, announced a pet game as its first Facebook offering after closing a $5 million round of series B funding.
Far from feeling like a copycat, Rivet Games CEO Jesse Janosov says the company’s game is a unique offering based on its visual style alone. The game, called Pet Tales, uses a photorealistic style detailed enough to render individual hairs on cats and dogs when viewed close up within certain game modes like the “play with pet” one pictured below.
“It’s not really cartoony, like a lot of the other pet games aimed at [a younger audience],” Janosov says. “This game is for an older audience, for people who like pets.”
Pet Tales builds on the collectible pets theme established by FooMojo with its now off-Facebook title, FooPets, by adding a gameplay loop around decoration in addition to the pet care and other interactions. Players decorate a park for their adopted pets to inhabit and play with other pets. The game monetizes mainly around premium decoration items, much the same as other social games in the pets genre.
Where Pet Tales is unique, and where Rivet Games hopes to execute scalable growth, is in the visual assets. Janosov tells us that when he joined the studio, he noticed that the company wasn’t making use of a lot of the FooPets assets, so it made sense to build Rivet Games’ first title around those. The visual style lends itself to branding, should Rivet Games decide to take Pet Tales to mobile platforms in the future, which could be in the cards as the developer considers mobile game development. It also makes it difficult for other developers to copy Pet Tales on either Facebook or mobile platforms.
“Our 3D models are done in Maya, which gives our pets a really realistic look,” Janosov says. “This whole space has been dominated by copying — but good luck copying us.”
Pet Tales officially went live almost two weeks ago and currently has around 8,000 monthly active users as last reported by Facebook.