V-Tech Kidipets could beat Tamagotchi to the punch as your virtual chum

Yesterday, Pocket-lint heard that Tamagotchi was on its way back in the form of an iPhone and Android application, but if you want to go old school and play with a physical, er, virtual pet, electronic toy company V-Tech has a range that'll be right up your alley.

Kidipets are larger than the original Tamagotchis and far more advanced, but the principal's the same. You get to train and nurture an animal that lives within the confines of a small LCD screen.

It differs from the original Tamagotchi's in a few ways. For a start, each device in the Kidipet range is based on an actual animal - Kidipet Puppy, Kidipet Kitten and Kidipet Pony. They are much bigger than an original small egg-like device that was much copied back in the 90s. And the Kidipets can talk to each other over infrared, so children can send friends' Kidipets goodies earned on their own device.

Around the outside of the screen is a ring with different locations to visit, including games and other activities. By doing so, you can earn coins which can then be used to buy food and fun items. Unlike Tamagotchis, Kidipets don't die if neglected - they are for ages 4 and up, after all - but there is plenty of variety in what is possible to ensure that attention is rewarded.

Like Furbys, there's also a built-in microphone so the Kidipet can be communicated with, albeit with basic commands.

Each Kidipet costs £16.99 and is available on Amazon.co.uk. Pocket-lint got to play with them all during the recent Amazon Summer Wish List event in London.