Originally conceived as a Nintendo DS launch title before Pictochat was announced as a packed-in feature of the DS, Ping Pals lets players create an avatar to send chats and doodles wirelessly with their friends. Although only one person needs a Ping Pals cartridge to start the chat, the game uses unlockable clothing and accessories as incentive to purchase their own cartridge and chat away. Have no friends? Ping Pals can even simulate chat with a simple AI chatbot.
Players can purchase items from a store using coins or trade for them with other players. Coins are earned in various ways, including receiving a daily allowance, chatting for a long time, typing special predetermined keywords, and playing minigames.