Hatchery – Like Pokemon, But Still Early On

Hatchery, developed by Kramaley Games, is a Tomagachi-like creature-hatching game that tasks you with nurturing and caring for an insipidly cute animal.

First, you buy an egg (or get sent one via friend invite) and then nurture it to life by warming it up and giving it attention. The egg, like all the stages of life in this game, is rendered purely in icon fashion (and thus without animation). When the egg is near hatching, you see a crack in your egg, and eventually it will give rise to a baby. The babies are cute little characters reminiscent of pokemon that require feeding, cleaning, playing, etc.

You can spent points on any of the things used to remedy a cold, hungry, or bored creature and then hopefully watch as your creature levels up and becomes fully grown. When fully grown, the creatures are self-sufficient. You can keep them around if you like (showing your grown creatures is one way to gauge success in the game) or you can send them to their deaths, er, battle at Battle School (a partner app called Battle Masters where you can take those cute little monsters and battle them against each other). This latter option seems against the maternal instinct you seem to be rewarding throughout the game, but let’s get back to this review…

The developers do a good job of making this a social game. You get points by either subscribing to partner offers or by taking care of other people’s eggs and babies. There is a forum, a ranking list, an update guide and a FAQ section. The interface is a bit wonky – you can feed your creature but there’s no real “back” button to then go and bathe it. The game screen is also sandwiched between a lot of ads which makes it hard to discern what’s part of the game and what’s not. There are also occasional instances of HTML showing through, which is just sloppy.

There are a few games like Hatchery on Facebook, and this is one of the better ones. It dances around having animations to depict the creatures, which is a shame because that’s really the next step to compete with the big boys. A better interface and some de-bugging would also do this app wonders.

Gameplay: 7

Developers: 7

Cute factor: 5 (honestly, puppies and kittens have more appeal to me, sorry)