My Friend Peppa Review: Thoughtfully Made For the Littlest Players

My Friend Peppa has the unenviable task of convincing parents their young kids deserve video games. For the families that don't shy from the medium, this a delightful new way to play together.

I vividly remember the first time my son played video games. He was almost three, and I put the controller in his hands during a session with Toy Story 3 on Xbox One. His face lit up with a grin unlike anything he'd ever really expressed before. 

Equal parts stunned and overjoyed, he couldn't believe that suddenly, he was in control of Woody's movements. Because of their interactivity, games have this unique spell over us no matter our age, and kids, arguably most of all, benefit from this hands-on time with a fascinating new medium.

That same look of wonder I saw on my son six years ago, I saw again, only this time it was on my daughter's face when she and I dove into My Friend Peppa. Though she was maybe always going to be an easy mark for a game based on her favorite cartoon character, I can vouch for My Friend Peppa too. It's a rather brilliant family game.

My Friend Peppa Review: Thoughtfully Made For the Littlest Players

In My Friend Peppa, players create an original character in the popular Peppa Pig world. After a cute character creation menu lets players choose things like headwear, clothing color, and glasses, they're welcomed into town by the star pig herself.

The very first thing you'll notice about My Friend Peppa is how faithfully it recreates the show's look. It's incredible and really without a single flaw. The 2D scenes, the animations, everything is exactly as it looks on the Nick series. It's an achievement I can only remember being performed by one other adaptation, the South Park games, which makes for an awkward pair, no doubt.

Narration and music are spot-on too, giving each new in-game adventure the exact feel of an episode. Unfortunately, it does seem as though the game was only able to land sound-alike voice actors, and even as most sound good enough, it can be a bit distracting, at least on my seasoned ears if not my daughter's too.

Beyond that blemish, though, My Friend Peppa really is a thoughtfully made game. There's no central plot to advance. Instead, players move about town in any which way they prefer, which is exactly as it should be given the demographic for the show. Children are encouraged to experiment and explore, and you'll never be more than a few steps from the next interaction.

Many of the show's major landmarks appear in the game, including Peppa's house, her school, her grandparents' house, and (as the opening cinematic reminds you), "even Potato City!"

The game is, in essence, an interactive museum to the world's most beloved preschooling piglet. You can reenact some of the series' most cherished moments, such as splashing in muddy puddles or joining Madame Gazelle and your playgroup in a sing-along of Bing Bong Zoo.

You can also perform crucially simple tasks that help young players examine the structure of a game through the lens of Peppa. You'll have minor quests, like collecting your granny's chickens and helping prepare a salad for your family, or you can head to the park and control a kite in the air with light, no-fail flying controls.

Every screen of the 2D game presents multiple interactions, dialogue from Peppa and friends, and either nods to the show or new moments invented for the game. It's something my daughter has found irresistible, and I love to see it.

The game's most inviting trait is its one-button control scheme. You'll move left or right with the analog stick, and whenever you find an interaction, though the game prompts a particular button (A on Xbox), any face button suffices. In this way, young players can learn how to read and react to on-screen information for maybe the first time as little gamers, but they also aren't punished for getting it wrong.

For parents who didn't get into gaming and who sometimes worry about whether it's right for their kids, I can honestly say Peppa is as cozy and cute as the show, and all that's different here is the interactivity. Even then, smart, built-in parental controls can force a natural break in the gameplay using an unseen timer that runs in the background.

With options ranging from five to 20 minutes, parents can elect when Peppa and her new friend will go to bed. This allows for parents to more easily step in and move their young players onto a new activity if they feel they've had enough gaming time.

My Friend Peppa Review — The Bottom Line

Pros

  • Picture-perfect art direction mirrors the TV series
  • Fun, stress-free activities with intuitive controls for young players
  • Smart parental control options put an upper limit on playtime

Cons

  • Lacks the original voice actors

Speaking to the team behind My Friend Peppa, I was told one of the hard things about making this game was helping families understand it's not more of the show. That's a testament to its excellent art direction that perfectly captures the show in look, even if the voiceovers leave something to be desired in how it sounds.

Made with clear and undivided attention toward its players who may be discovering video games for the first time ever in their young lives, My Friend Peppa is a lovely achievement in family gaming.

[Note: Outright Games provided the copy of My Friend Peppa used for this review.]

Our Rating
8
My Friend Peppa has the unenviable task of convincing parents their young kids deserve video games. For the families that don't shy from the medium, this a delightful new way to play together.
Reviewed On: Series X

Contributor

Mark is a dad, husband, bicyclist, animal rights activist, and a gamer, of course. You can find him on all platforms covering co-op, indies, horror, battle royale, or whatever else he's obsessing over right now. In addition to GameSkinny, he's been published on GameSpot, IGN, GamesRadar, EGM, Escapist, Official Xbox Magazine, and a bunch of other great outlets.

Published Oct. 27th 2021

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