Conduit Labs’ Music Pets Amps Up the Facebook Pet-Caring Genre

Conduit Labs has had good music in its products for a while now. And this doesn’t just mean quality, orchestral soundtracks. No, this refers to developments such as its social music site Loudcrowd that is centered around the concept of listening to real music by real artists in a social setting. So when their newest game, Music Pets came to our attention, we put on the headphones and got ready to rock.

The game is very similar to Pet Society in many respects, but before any red flags start flying, it’s not a clone. Players start by picking an avatar and a room template and proceed into a simple 2D world. You are immediately greeted with the core difference between games like Music Pets and games like Pet Society – music.

Just before entering the world, you’re prompted with a selection of music that the game thinks you might like (you can also type in an artist name directly). Upon game entry, you have a very downtrodden little critter in a room home and you need to make it happy. However, there’s no brushing or washing or anything like that: there’s only two massive sets of speakers and some good music based on your prior selections.

That’s right, in order to keep your pets happy, you play them music. Real music, meaning real songs from real bands. Our pick? The group Flyleaf. From here, the game has a base to go from, and players, for the cost of energy, can send their pet off to fetch more music. Initially, they can only fetch songs similar to what you like, but eventually, as one levels up, they can fetch based on artists, what friends like, your unfinished collections (more on that a bit later), or just something random.

Unfortunately, it does take a little while to level, because most of the actions that earn experience are very limited until you garner more friends to visit. However, should you have a good bit of friends, you can earn good chucks of experience just by dropping in once a day and listening to music with them.

In addition to earning new levels, these same actions also earn the player Coins. As this title is similar to Pet Society, in many respects, the other major element to Music Pets is decorating a personal space. Though the style is different, the concept is the same, as players spruce up their single room with a range of design styles. However, the items in the game’s store do feel a tad pricey and there isn’t much you can afford early on. Likely, though, that is merely to coax players into listening to even more music with more friends.

Truly though, the game is not about collecting items (though it doesn’t hurt), or even just listening to music. It’s about collecting music. That much became apparent when the game displayed “Collections” as well as achievements. These are the full albums of music you have listened to (though not all songs will have a corresponding album collection), and it comes down to using the various fetch commands to complete them; which for some artists, is a very daunting task.

This does lead to a bit of an annoyance though. Every time you fetch a new piece of music, you get to preview it and mark whether you love it or hate it. However, the game seems to think a music track that has been “Hated” is one the player wants to keep, and now there’s a new collection to fill up. If you “Hate” a song, why would you fill up a playlist with it anyway? Beyond this, it’s highly obnoxious that you can only play songs once a day! What if they want to play the same song 19 times in a row? Of course, this is probably not a design issue so much as it is a legal one. It is licensed music, after all, so we won’t hold it against Conduit Labs.

Despite complaints, Music Pets did hold up very well. Perhaps that assessment is influenced by the presence of good music, but then again, if the game makes that bias available, then so be it. Frankly, the music finding and collection is what makes this game standout. Granted, it does overshadow some of the other features (like the virtual space decoration) quite a bit, but it is nice to have an easy (and legal) way to share music with your friends online.