Teach kids the importance of caring for, and adopting, a shelter pet with this free iPhone game, developed in association with the Humane Society of the United States. In Fluff Friends Rescue, players retrieve lost pets in the woods, bring them back for a veterinary checkup and a bath, and then place them in a pen to be adopted. It's a time management game that requires players to multitask in order to complete goals and find permanent homes for the animals, but it’s also a great way to open a discussion about the essential role of animal shelters and, more generally, the problems of pet overpopulation with your children.
To make it challenging, Fluff Friends Rescue doesn't start you off with all of the elements you need to run a functioning shelter. As you rescue each pet, you earn money and unlock other features of the game, such as stations to add to your rescue facility and toys to give the animals, and that helps the vitality of your rescue center, as well as the adoptability of your animals.
The game plays a lot like the popular Facebook game, Farmville, and is free to play, which means you'll have to dole out some cash for certain in-app content. You can disable this feature so your child doesn’t accidentally charge your credit card for in-game items, but this will make it difficult to advance further in the game without “grinding”—a mechanism utilized by games in this genre that requires players to do repetitive tasks to rack up points before they can move on to the next task.
As an added bonus, players can purchase special items endorsed by the Humane Society and the net proceeds will be given directly to the organization. The app was developed in conjunction with MindJolt’s Social Gaming Network, a game company that specializes in Facebook and mobile games. You can download Fluff Friends Rescue for free in the iTunes App Store, or play it on Facebook.