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SimAnimals Review

Playing God has never been this dull

Nintendogs may turn off many gamers but you have to admit that Miyamoto's pet simulator is an impressive creation. Not only has it attracted many new gamers to the DS but it looks great, has bags of charm and even Nintendo fans enjoyed finding the Mario hat. Yet, most importantly, it does something that many animal games have failed to do since - it really makes you care for your virtual pet. With over 60 different wild beasts to care for, SimAnimals should be perfect for animal lovers but you'll really struggle to enjoy the company of these creatures.

Of course, looks aren't everything in the real world - if they were no one would own a bulldog - but it would be easier to have a bit more compassion for your creatures if SimAnimals wasn't so ugly. You begin by controlling a hand high above the forest and if you thought the world looked bad from a bird's-eye view, just wait until you swoop down to ground level. The animals don't look particularly cute and the forest environment looks awful. Everything has a slightly muddy hue and the trees are so blocky that it looks as though it could have been made for the N64. You can't help but feel that a cartoony art style would have been a better idea than this poor attempt at realism.

Click to view larger image
Talk To The Hand

If would also help if it wasn't so simple to earn the animal's affection. You begin in an area of the forest populated by a few animals and zooming in on them with the magnifying glass will tell you their needs. So a deer might want to have babies but before she can be introduced to other animals, you have to earn her trust. It's as simple as picking her up and taking her to a place where she can eat some food before dropping her next to another deer. Then they'll finally start having fun and maybe even breed.

You also have to look after the plants. Some plants and trees won't be happy in their environment so you have to move them to different ground and even water them to create a happy environment. Eventually, once your part of the forest is happy, you'll unlock a brand new area.

Water Torture

It does get more interesting when a beaver turns up on the scene but this also highlights some of the issues with the control system.

First you have to get a stick for him to build a dam with and this means waving your in-game hand over an oak tree for ages. The tree will eventually fall but then you have to rub the hand over the stump to produce one measly stick. It's all very fiddly, repetitive and dull. Still, once you've fed the beaver some chestnuts and given him some sticks, he'll build a dam and a lake will form from the river which will attract ducks to the area. Then the damn beaver wants to have babies. There's no pleasing some people.

Click to view larger image
There is something slightly worthy and educational about SimAnimals. The fact that there's not much in the way of character detail to help distinguish between, say, your two ducks is probably quite realistic but it also means that SimAnimals lacks charisma. Sure, you'll learn about different plants, trees and animals as you work your way through the forest but it's about as much fun as reading the Collins Gem Wildlife Book and unless you're over 40, that's hardly a recommendation.

Comments

22 comments so far...
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  1. fienno 123 Thursday 29th Jan 2009 at 13:41

    Christ, the animals look blocky...

  2. Mario dude Thursday 29th Jan 2009 at 15:10

    Looks good...But not good enough!
    Missed upportunity! :lol:

  3. DBZFan355 Thursday 29th Jan 2009 at 16:27

    Im gonna by it just to see the cute animals! I love dogs!

  4. ILoveWii Thursday 29th Jan 2009 at 17:06

    I thought you were praising it...

  5. Thamayous Thursday 29th Jan 2009 at 18:36

    I don't think it looks that bad..

  6. Pikmin Freak Thursday 29th Jan 2009 at 19:00

    It looks horrific. What is up with that dog? Never thought it would be good. It looks awful. Sounds extremely boring and tedious.

    Bring out Pikmin (3), Pokemon and Mario & Luigi 3 now!

  7. City Of Delusion Thursday 29th Jan 2009 at 19:03

    Let's be frank: Who didn't see that coming?

    *cue tumbleweed*

  8. starfox1994 Friday 30th Jan 2009 at 09:37

    Huh. Looks quite good to me, to be honest.

  9. starfox1994 Friday 30th Jan 2009 at 09:38

    It looks horrific. What is up with that dog? Never thought it would be good. It looks awful. Sounds extremely boring and tedious.

    Bring out Pikmin (3), Pokemon and Mario & Luigi 3 now!


    What a nintendo fanboy post.

  10. Flash7 Friday 30th Jan 2009 at 16:40

    How can you think the game loks good? It looks absolutely terrible. Stop stading up for games that have no effort put into them!

  11. Flash7 Friday 30th Jan 2009 at 16:42

    How can you think the game loks good? It looks absolutely terrible. Stop stading up for games that have no effort put into them!

  12. Ubahquiet Friday 30th Jan 2009 at 16:56

    Honestly? I'm not suprised in the slightest at this score. Twas expecting something a bit lower, maybe in the high-fourties, but whatev.

  13. Heroofhyrule Friday 30th Jan 2009 at 20:50

    It looks horrific. What is up with that dog? Never thought it would be good. It looks awful. Sounds extremely boring and tedious.

    Bring out Pikmin (3), Pokemon and Mario & Luigi 3 now!


    What a nintendo fanboy post.

    What a pointless post.... people like you overuse the word fanboy, thinking it actually insults people, because they think a game looks aweful when it actually does, and pikmin 3 and mario and luigi 3 happen to be good games, unlike sim animals. so GTHO.

  14. Pikmin Freak Friday 30th Jan 2009 at 22:24

    It looks horrific. What is up with that dog? Never thought it would be good. It looks awful. Sounds extremely boring and tedious.

    Bring out Pikmin (3), Pokemon and Mario & Luigi 3 now!


    What a nintendo fanboy post.

    Saying a game is bad (which it is) and then saying a few games that are coming out that are better is not a "fanboy" post. That was a rather pointless post.

  15. 3MEGAMAN Saturday 31st Jan 2009 at 11:47

    EA ar not even tryin anymore. now i lost all hope for a great game from them.

  16. Mcpilch Saturday 31st Jan 2009 at 12:51

    shame really, the advert was funny, but i guess i should have known that it would be rubbsih, like all other of EA's attempts to make money out of dated and boring franchises.

  17. Mama Luigi Saturday 31st Jan 2009 at 21:17

    I give up...

  18. TheCakeisalie123 Saturday 31st Jan 2009 at 23:17

    I saw an ad for this game, where it has a bear playing the game with the Wiimote and Nunchuck and the other animals that are playable in the game are looking at him playing the game, with some gameplay showing, then a fox takes the Wiimote and Nunchuck out of the bears hands and starts playing it. Advert Weirdness at its best

  19. sonicfever Sunday 1st Feb 2009 at 17:08

    Advert was OK, but as soon as it turned to gameplay the first word in my had was "fail".

  20. sonicfever Sunday 1st Feb 2009 at 17:11

    Advert was OK, but as soon as it turned to gameplay the first word in my had was "fail".

  21. flygon98 Sunday 1st Feb 2009 at 18:37

    I bought it.
    It was alright.
    I think this review was accurate. I would've given it about 63%.

  22. mariostar6 Friday 1st Oct 2010 at 19:32

    Slower then an endless ocean game(but not as good).
    Looka like a pile of animal droppings.
    Not at lot to do.
    Realy REALY boring.
    Well, my mum did recogmend this. i should of just brought thrilleville: off the rails. Mums have bad videogame taste.

    My score 3/10

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