Moshi Monsters: Neopets Meets Social Networking

Moshi Monsters, from UK startup Mind Candy officially launched last week with a product that marries the ideas behind Neopets and Tamogotchi with a social network for kids.

Users adopt their own Monster and keep it happy by solving daily puzzles that are sent to each player. Monster owners can interact with their pets by tickling them, playing games, shopping, designing their rooms, and shortly by dressing them up. One core element being promoted for Moshi Monsters is the ability to build an emotional bond between the user and their Monster, which is achieved through flash animation and a complex behavioral engine. Monsters develop their own unique personalities depending on how well, or badly, they’ve been treated.

Players can connect and communicate with others through the Friends Tree, visits to other Monster rooms, Monster blogs, Newsfeeds, and a messaging system. The site is geared towards kids, so online safety is a top priority and the Moshi Monsters team monitors site activity to make sure it remains safe.

Now admittedly it sounds like Neopets or similar services with some social networking thrown in for good measure, but where Moshi Monsters stands out is with $10 million in backing from Index Ventures, Accel Partners, and Newmediaspark. Sure, money should never be the final judgement on any site, but well known VC firms think there’s something here worth investing in. I’m also no judge on what kids like (mine isn’t quite old enough yet to use this) so ultimately you (or your kids if you have any) can be the judge.

TechCrunch UK has more on the Moshi Monsters from when the site first launched in closed beta back in October 2007.