Thursday Throwdown: Pet Society or PetVille? You Decide

Thu, May 20, 2010

Pet Society, PetVille, Social

It’s Thursday, which marks another installment in the ongoing Thursday Throwdown series here on Frisky Mongoose. If this is your first week with us (welcome aboard!), the Thursday Throwdown is a weekly feature that sees us comparing two or more similar Facebook games and then letting you, the reader, decide which game is better.

Last week, we took a look at Treasure Madness and Treasure Isle, and while Treasure Madness fans tried their best, Treasure Isle has come out on top in the fan poll, with 72% of the vote, to Treasure Madness’s 28%. You guys let your opinions be known by overwhelming us with comments, and for that, we say thank you! It’s great to hear what you guys have to say about your favorite games!

This week, we move from the treasure hunting genre to that of pet simulation by looking at Playfish’s Pet Society, and Zynga’s PetVille. For a bit of background, Pet Society has been around since September of 2008, and according to the latest AppData figures, is currently sitting at around 17 million monthly users, while PetVille didn’t hit the scene until December of last year. Despite it being newer, PetVille currently ranks 11th on the top Facebook games chart with 19 million players (Pet Society is ranked 15th).

As both games contain “Pet” in the title, it’s clear what they’re about, and both games can be described in much the same way – You are allowed to create a pet (down to its facial features and colors), which you will care for by feeding and bathing it. Your pet lives in a home that can be customized with various furniture items, and your home can grow in size as your proficiency with the game (and your virtual bank account) increases.

Perhaps more so than any games we’ve looked at thus far, Pet Society and PetVille have an incredible amount in common. That isn’t to say they are identical, however, as there are some differences, albeit not entirely game-changing, that can sway gamers’ opinions towards one title or the other.

For starters, in PetVille, not only do you have to keep your pet bathed by using a bar of soap to clean it manually (which is also done in Pet Society), but you must also keep its home clean by picking up garbage, dirty laundry and the like. Doing so earns you bonus coins. Also in terms of basic pet care, feeding your pet is a different process in both games.

Look at this mess in PetVille!

No mess in sight here in Pet Society

While you are allowed to choose from a variety of food options in both games, in Pet Society, you feed your pet items one by one, by removing them from your storage container and giving them to your pet (you purchase them from a store in the game). This is an instant feeding process that sees your pet receiving an instant status boost, whereas in PetVille, you fill your pet’s food bowl with fruit and the like, with each variety coming with a time limit, allowing you to feed your pet once and (depending on the food) leave it for upwards of a day, knowing that it will be fed the entire time.

Some of the food available for purchase in Pet Society

Here are some food options in PetVille

This timing mechanic comes into play when considering the fact that pets in PetVille will run away if they aren’t properly cared for, and you’ll need to pay coins at the pound to retrieve them, while in Pet Society, you can all but entirely abandon your pet, only to see it waiting for you (albeit unhappily) when you do return.

Speaking of being unhappy, your pet’s mood in PetVille plays a much larger role than it does in Pet Society, and is in fact customizable via the use of mood cupcakes like those that make your pet more outgoing, creative or even a bit of a troublemaker. By choosing which area to specialize in, you’ll unlock new (free) items and animations.

In terms of “Pet Society only” features, you can go fishing, plant a garden and even become a chef in the game. Fishing is done at the Fishing Pond, after you buy bait, and sees you fishing for various themed fish, like glow in the dark or gummy fish. Cooking sees you using the mini toaster oven that you start the game with to cook dishes (that can’t be found elsewhere in the game) in order to sell them for a profit. This is the game’s nod at another Playfish title – Restaurant City – in that it requires you to go out and purchase the required ingredients before you can cook a dish to begin with. Finally, you can buy seeds at the game’s Garden Shop and grow flowers and such in the game’s default garden (for outdoor space in PetVille, you have to accumulate the necessary ingredients to build a yard, which only functions as another room – there is no gardening).

Pet Society's garden space

Here's a backyard in PetVille

To occupy your time in PetVille, you can make flower arrangements using the individual flowers you are given by Zynga, or as free gifts from friends. This offers you bonus coins if your flower arrangement can attract a rare butterfly. Likewise, PetVille also contains Weekly Challenges, while Pet Society contains nothing of the sort. These Weekly Challenges often involve you repeating some in-game task a set number of times. Complete them before they expire, and you’ll earn Love Points (the game’s experience points) and Pet Coins, along with a badge.

Aside from these differences, there are many more worth noting – here are a few:

  • In PetVille, you can create a front porch (albeit at the expense of having a backyard), while Pet Society doesn’t have this option.
  • In Pet Society, the items you see in the store come as is, while in PetVille, some items contain a color-wheel, allowing you to choose from a list of paint colors for that particular item. This isn’t to say that items don’t come in multiple colors in Pet Society – they are just listed separately and are in a much smaller supply.
  • While your first room in both Pet Society and PetVille contain some default living room items, you’ll also gain basic, starter items in PetVille’s kitchen, as an example.
  • Pet Society contains a hurdles game that you can play with your pet, while PetVille offers Bubble Pop.
  • In Pet Society, when visiting friends’ pets, you can clean them, but you don’t always receive bonus coins for doing so, while you do receive coins and Love Points for visiting friends in PetVille.
  • Pet Society offers something called a Petling, which is like a pet for your pet that must be cared for (and can run away), while PetVille does not (in place of this, PetVille offers animated animal decorations like a small bird or dog, as examples, although they don’t require feeding as they aren’t technically “real”).
  • In PetVille, you’ll find random treasure chests that can contain Pet Cash or Lost Toys – most recently, a fairy set of collectible toys that can be posted to your wall as a news item, allowing your friends to collect them.

As we’ve said before, PetVille and Pet Society offer incredibly similar gameplay experiences, but as we’ve seen from just this sampling of differences (there are many more that could be discussed in detail), they are in no way identical to one another. So which game is best? As usual, we’ll leave that up to you, by asking you to take a second to vote for your preferred game in the poll below.

After that, you’re welcome to leave a comment in the comments section below explaining why you chose the way you did – in fact, you’re more than welcome to – you’re encouraged to! We’ve love to hear why you voted for the game you did, so let your opinion about these two games be known!

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- who has written 2533 posts on Frisky Mongoose.

Brandy is the Social Editor at Frisky Mongoose, focusing on the social side of the gaming world.

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  • Mary

    I am pretty surprused tht Petville has gitten more popular than Pet Society as i feel that Petville does not offer the same ganing experience as Pet Society at all.

    For starters, the Petville pets are ugly and no amt of clothing can significantly change thier appearance. Whereas in Pet Society, the pets are rather cute and the different wigs, clothes and accessories can change your pets look completely. Petville pets are ugly and maybe evn a bit retarded and disgusting in the way they eat their food. I hate the fact tht they run away after only 8 hours. I mean, do they really expect every1 to log in every 8 hrs. Pet Society has asimilar feature with its petlings which run away if u dont feed them for 3 consecutive days which is quite reasonable.

    Houses in Petville are a bit too real life for my liking and consequently boring. Pet Society gives the look of a fantasy where u can creat both rooms for normal houses but also real fantasy rooms such as the treasure island theme recently.

    I have jst played Petville a couple of times and as obvius, found it a pretty silly version of Pet Society whereas i am a big Pet Society fan. So my views are a bit biased.

    Things i dont like about Pet Society:
    The games such as racing, frisbee and ball are quite boring.
    Its very difficult for a new pet to decorate the house which may discourage new comers. I got hooked into Pet Society when my younger sister started playing. At first, i found it quite silly too, but as the levels increased, i got hooked.
    Items have become a bit too expensive and new pets can sometimes only watch the items in store with ency many of which are gone in 1 week.
    There are not too many great gardeb items so too create a try]uly beautiful garden is pretty difficult. Though some ppl hav accomplished this seemingly impossible task.
    Loading issue have become too frequent

  • Guest

    PetVille has the best graphics, gameplay, and decorations!

  • Ava Elzbieta

    Actually, you DO earn coins in Pet Society for cleaning a neighbor's pet: 20 coins for each fly removed (up to 80).

  • Brandy Shaul

    Do you mean my game is glitched!? I JUST cleaned some neighbors' pets, and not a single coin was earned… DARN!

  • Shannon

    I left Pet Society for Petville because I found it much more difficult to earn coins in Pet Society. Everything seemed to be gravitating toward the purchase of currency instead of the earning of it.

  • Shannon

    I left Pet Society for Petville because it seemed to me that PS was becoming more and more focused on the purchase of currency rather than the earning of it. I found it hard to make enough coins to enjoy things like decorating my house or planting my garden. I haven't had that problem at all with PV – even starting out, I never really felt like I was struggling to get coins to enjoy the game. There's a lot about PS that I like – it's a little more interactive with the fishing and gardening. But PV is just more fun, somehow. I think if someone came along and combined the best parts of the two, they'd be very close to having the perfect pet game.

    Oh and Brandy, you should be getting both coins and love for visiting/cleaning other pets…although the game does stop dishing them out after so many times in a 24 hour period.

  • Jessica Larkan

    The pets have to have flies to be cleaned. If there are no flies, they aren't dirty, so can't be cleaned. You can also now earn 50 coins just for one visit, excluding cleaning a pet. So in all, if a pet is adirty and you visit them, you can earn 130 coins. You only need 10 friends to earn 1,300 coins. I agree with Mary also, the Petville pets are SO UGLY. There is almost no possible way to make them pretty!! Also, in Petville, though it may be easier to earn coins, I found that all of the furniture, clothes,and other items were much more expensive. I VOTE PET SOCIETY!!! The original pet gaming experience!!!

  • Elle Anne

    for starters pet society is original and petville ripped them off! now wen u start pet society u get a bed,desk,light,chair,t.v.,table,books,dorr,rug,and a window! petville is ugly and creepy and requieres to enter the game more frequently and you can't take photos in the game.the major turn off is tht u cannot send a gift within the game you need to exit the game and get the pet society you can do both.and another thing is tht u have to ask for nieghbors in pet society anybody who has one it will show

  • Ejabanawan

    Go PetSoc!Go PetSoc!