Lego video games continue to branch out from their traditional fare of licensed material -- Batman, Harry Potter, Star Wars -- with the announcement of "Lego Friends" for Nintendo's portable DS and 3DS.
"Lego City Undercover" and companion prequel "Lego City Undercover: The Chase Begins" were released in March for Wii U and 3DS respectively and marked a significant step away from the safety of film or TV tie-ins.
Controversial in some quarters for its portrayal of girls' and boys' interests, the Lego Friends range inspires fall 2013's video game with friendship-building activities that include visits to the dance studio, soccer practice and accessories store.
Players are given five friends to interact and strengthen relationships with and can do so in various ways -- helping each other by taking pictures for a friend's newspaper article or reviewing a song list for an upcoming revue.
Various pets are available to groom and train, with shows to enter and special skills to make use of.
Additionally, one interesting part of pet ownership lies in the ability to "trade places with the fun-loving pets to play the game from the animal's perspective," a feature reminiscent of quirky titles "A Dog's Life," "The Dog Island," "Tokyo Jungle" and, in a more surreal but decidedly less canine fashion, "Octodad."
Official website: http://videogames.lego.com/lego-friendscp/kc