Disclosure: I have received a fee for my time and to cover the purchase of some in-app content. However, as per my PR info disclaimer, this review is my unbiased honest opinion of the product.
Product: Shopkins Happy Places iOS app
Price: Free with in app purchases
Age Range: 5 years+
Manufacturer’s Description: Hey SPK fans! The Lil’ Shoppies are moving into Happyville and they need your help to make it a Happy Home! Join Jessicake, Popette, Coco Cookie and many more as you collect super cute Petkins and decorate each Happy Place with a cute lil’ face!
Review: Lydia and Georgie share an iPad and they love to try out new games, especially when they feature characters or brands that they are already fans of. We don’t have a lot of Shopkins toys but they love to open the Shopkins blind bags, so they do have a small collection of them, which they enjoy playing with.
Shopkins Happy Places from Kuala Studios is the first app to feature the Happy Places brand, and the idea is that you get your own Lil’ Shoppie who moves into their own Happy Place in Happyville, which you can then fill up with in game collectible Petkins, and decorate to your heart’s content.
The game starts on moving day, and you start your Happy Place home from scratch, with the game guiding you through placing your first Petkins. This made it easy for Lydia to pick up on how the gameplay works without her needing to follow written instructions.
Once you have placed your Petkins in your Happy Home, your Lil’ Shoppie Jessicake interacts and plays with the Petkins in the house.
You can also take part in #HouseGoal challenges which encourage different ways to play based around simple stories like birthday parties.
One element of the game are surprise boxes which bring the excitement of real life blind bags that the girls associate with the Shopkins brand into the game. In each surprise box you get five new Petkins to decorate your Happy Place. They cost £1.99 each and are delivered to the house in a van for you to tap open.
You can buy surprise boxes with the in app tokens scheme which are easy to earn as you interact with the game. 25 tokens gets you a new surprise box which three items inside.
Lydia was off school with a poorly tummy last week so this was the perfect game for her to curl up and play. It reminds me of how much fun I used to have arranging my Sims houses – it’s a small child friendly version of that kind of gameplay, really. I was slightly alarmed at how much fun she had baking her Petkins in the oven, that seemed a bit mean to me!
Lydia says this game is “good” and Georgie says she “loves it” – Lydia’s description of the app goes a little like this “you get something you want and you put it in the house, you can move it up and down and back and forward. You get surprise boxes to open and it’s really fun to play and I love it.”
The game has some good parental controls built in which you can access via a ‘enter the year of your birth’ question from the home screen. It lets you limit gameplay time, and disable game notifications and permissions to save to the device camera roll, as well as volume settings and a restore purchases button.
From the home screen, children can view their Petkin collection as well as going to their Happy Place, which is fun for kids who want to try and collect it all!
Each day you open the app you get a Daily Bonus of a surprise Petkin, which is a fun little extra.
The TaskMaker engine built into the game lets children create visual diaries which you can then save to the device camera roll – from there you can share them with friends and family. My girls love to iMessage my parents with pictures they make in apps.
We give the Happy Places app 4 stars. It’s fun, but the in app purchases could add up quickly and it does get a little bit boring after a while of play. It’s fun for quick dips into now and again though, so I think this one is definitely going to be staying on their iPad for a while yet.