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iPhone  header logo

Hatch


For: iPhone   Also on: iPad

Unloveable

Product: Hatch | Developer: Impending | Publisher: Impending | Format: iPhone | Genre: Virtual Pet/ Toy | Players: 1 | Networking: wireless (network) | Version: Europe | App version: 1.0.0
 
Hatch iPhone, thumbnail 1
Remember Tamagotchis? They were fun, weren't they?

Ever since that craze for virtual pets in the '90s, makers of interactive entertainment have brought you new ways to look after animals.

Whether it was making your Dogz and Catz play nicely as they roamed your Windows 98 desktop, or feeding Pikachu Poke Puffs in Pokemon X & Y, we've been doting on our digital darlings for what seems like forever.

Hatch is apparently a shot at this kind of pet care experience, only this time it's on your iOS device, and it looks sweeter than sugar.

So who better to take on a review of this saccharine-looking pet-sim than me: the only person on Pocket Gamer's staff who has admitted to enjoying Hello Kitty Beauty Salon.

I'll be looking after my, well, whatever it is I'm looking after for the next seven days. You can about how I get on here.

First impressions

My time with Hatch has so far been quite the delight.

When you first boot the game up you're treated to a wonderfully detailed animation documenting the existence of a mysterious species of creatures known as Fugus.

Apparently, human beings used to live in harmony with them, but when the two species started to fight over the precious Fugu eggs, the Fugus disappeared.

Now, apparently, they've returned.

After answering a couple of questions, I was presented with an egg. It didn't do anything.

"Huh," I thought. "Guess I'll just quit and do something else."

So I fired up YouTube and reminded myself of one of my favourite cartoons, called Starcom, while enjoying a green tea with my mid-morning snack.

A couple of minutes later, I got a Notification on my iPhone letting me know that the egg was about to hatch, and that I wouldn't want to miss it. Which was true, so I fired it back up.

Then my yellow Fugu hatched from its egg, and licked the screen. After this burst of excitement, it sat looking at me, and I at it, neither of us knowing quite what to do next.

An apple was growing in the forest surrounding it, so I picked it from the branches by tapping and holding on it. My Fugu, whom I had named K', looked at the apple and opened its mouth. So I fed it to him and then watched as he devoured it.

K' looked friendly enough, so I tickled him under his chin and he began purring like a cat.

Then we went back to just looking at each other. I closed the application.

Later on, at lunch time, while I was enjoying a cheese and pickle sandwich and watching an episode of my favourite anime, suddenly my phone emitted a shrill "MEW MEW MEEEEEEW!", scaring me witless.

I regained my composure and reached for my phone. There was K', holding a present for me.

It was a box filled with acorns.

Day 3: Little deviants

K' is not popular in my household.

He made a grave enemy in my partner when he decided to grab her attention with his “MEW MEW MEEEEEEW!” yelp while she was exiting the shower one morning. Her name for him is, “Little f**ker poo-pants”.

He's not in my good books either, though for slightly different reasons.

There's just so little to do with K'. I wait for fruit to grow in the trees, pick them when they're ripe, and feed them to him. I tickle his stomach, and he laughs. If I put the fruit I pick into a basket, I receive Acorns that I can spend in the store, which is run by a helpful tyke named Max.

Max's store contains different kinds of rugs that can be placed underneath the Fugu, the purpose of which - beyond simply looking pretty - remains unclear.

In addition, I've purchased a camera that I can use to take photos of the world around me, and K' will pop his head into the frame while I'm doing it. I've also bought a large bag, which can store fruit and other items.

There's a Sticker Book I'm gradually filling, and I'm finding these stickers hidden about my Fugu's small environment. Again, there doesn't seem to be much reason to collecting them.

The one bit of gameplay I've found is that if I feed K' enough fruit, a ring of flowers will begin sprouting up about his feet. Completing the ring will make him do a Happy Dance, and the fruit on the trees will grow quickly.

Occasionally a star will grow on a tree, too. These are the game's version of a premium currency and used to purchase special items in the store.

The other main reason that I'm not too keen on K' is that he appears to be a total deviant.

For instance, I've just received a notification about a special present waiting for me from the little guy, and when I started the game up I found a box with red ribbon around it and K' looking very pleased with himself.

I opened the gift to discover a freshly laid turd.

As I stared in disbelief, K' looked on smiling.

Then he slowly winked.

Day 7: Cracked

Virtual pet games rely on one thing above all else: that you care enough about your digital doggie or virtual moggie to put up with the more chore-like aspects of the experience.

If you don't love your Fugu, why would you bother clearing up its poop?

Perhaps K' is a particularly thick Fugu, but the only interesting thing I could get him to do was jump for a piece of fruit while I held it above his head.

He doesn't seem to be capable of learning, and when I check in on him every couple of hours we go through the same routine: he's crying, so I stroke him, then I feed him, then I clear up after him, then I close the app wondering why I bothered.

Hatch has some of the best animation and character design I've seen in a while, and the background changing depending on time of day is neat too. I also adore his half human, half feline audio ejaculations.

But the superb presentation is wasted on a flimsy game that gives so little in return for your continued engagement with it.

On his seventh birthday K' gave me a cookie, which I duly fed him since his eyes were fixed on it as though it were mana from the gods. As he munched it down I contemplated how I could possibly abandon such a delightful-looking creature.

Then he did one final, gigantic poo, and returned to his mat, smiling at me as he waited for me to clear it up and feed him more treats.

I closed the game, deleted it, and K' was gone. Good riddance.

How are you getting on with the game? You can tell us and the rest of the PG community about your experiences by leaving a comment in the box below. Click here to learn about our free-to-play review policy.

(And, yes, we know that Hatch isn't free).
 
Hatch
Reviewer photo
Peter Willington | 28 November 2013
A shallow and unconvincing portrayal of a virtual life, Hatch has about half an hour of content, but days and days of repetitive and unrewarding chores
 
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