EA has just released The Sims 3 Pets across several platforms: Xbox 360, PS3, PC and 3DS. While each version of the game has its own unique features, they all share one thing: for the first time in the Sims franchise, you can now take control of your pets.
The Sims 3 Pets for 3DS is a standalone game (rather than an expansion), has several unique features of its own, and has also improved over The Sims 3 for DS and 3DS. This game gives you three save slots, which you can use to create a family. A family is limited to three Sims and/or pets. However, since Sims in this version don’t age and can’t have children (although WooHoo-ing is now an option), this is not a serious limitation. As such, the town is populated by your family and non-playable adult Sims, dogs and cats (known as Townies).
While Sims won’t die of natural causes like old age, you can torture them to death (for example, through starvation).Disappointingly, the Grim Reaper does not appear to claim your Sim. Otherwise, the game is a simplified version of its PC counterpart. Your Sims eat, sleep, go to work and make friends with passing Townies. They can also visit any of the handful of town locations, such as the park or the boardwalk, as well as a couple of Townies’ homes. Unfortunately, these have to be loaded individually, a feature reminiscent of The Sims 1 and 2, complete with annoying load screens.
The addition of Pets gives the game a bit more depth. You can create adult cats and dogs. There is a good variety of breeds and customisation options in the create-a-pet interface. Unique to the handheld version is the option to give your pets accessories: anything from a top hat to fairy wings to sunglasses. Pets can have 3 traits that determine their personalities, just like Sims, and affect their proficiency at certain tasks. Pets also have lifetime wishes related to their traits.
Both cats and dogs can learn 4 skills, indicating their ability to survive on their own and scrounge for food, their digging (for dogs) or hunting (for cats) ability, and so on. Completely unique to this version is the ability to make pet-only households. Unfortunately, and the game does warn you about this, pets can’t earn much money, nor can they pay bills. They can scrounge or beg for food, so they can survive, but chances are you’ll end up with a very sad, very filthy animal whose personal possessions keep getting taken away when the bills are overdue.
A normal family with a Sim and some pets or other Sims offers many more gameplay options. Sims can take a pet to work to help them get promotions. Pets can also learn a variety of tricks, watch TV, and cats even can catch burglars. There are also karma powers, which are all unlocked from the start of the game and can be cast at any time, providing you have enough power points. And if you feel you’ve met all the Townies, you can add more with the ‘create a Townie’ option.
While the basic gameplay is there, it does feel very spartan when compared to the console and PC versions. It feels a bit like too much like The Sims 1 or 2, rather than The Sims 3. The game makes good use of the two screens, with the game taking place on the top screen, and information about your Sims appearing on the bottom one. The controls are not bad, but the cursor sometimes feels a bit inaccurate when it comes to trying to select very small items on the screen. Build/Buy mode takes some getting used to.
This extremely simplified version of The Sims may appeal to those who are sick of wading through dozens of potential interaction options, but still want to enjoy some Simming.
Design and Presentation: 6.5/10
While the graphics are much crisper and clearer than the DS version of The Sims 3, after playing the console and PC versions, it’s just not the same. The game makes good use of both screens so your Sims’ information is always easily accessible. The 3D feature merely adds some depth to the Sims and their environment, so it’s personal preference whether you use it or not.
This game does have the potential to keep you busy for many, many hours, if you can get into it. It’s also not as expensive as many other 3DS games. And the bonus of being able to take your 3DS with you wherever you go is an attractive way to stave off boredom.
While not a bad game in itself, The Sims 3 Pets for 3DS can’t hold a candle to the console and PC versions. You’ll either love this version or hate it. However, for your Simming-on-the-Go needs, this game has more than enough to keep you busy for many hours.
Last Updated: October 31, 2011