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Sim Animals DS Review

24/02/2009 Family Domestic Gamer Review
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Sim Animals DS

Sim Animals

Format:
DS

Genre:
Strategy

Style:
Thirdperson

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Domestic Gamer (Wii)

The Sims continue their foray into the world of the Nintendo DS with Sim Animals. Now those who have perfected the art of looking after their Sim people and Sim Cities have the chance to turn their skills to the animal kingdom. The DS version takes the Wii game and lets you play on the go. While most of the features are matched the DS game is simpler, cleaner and a little less demanding.

Having had a chance to play Sim Animals for the Wii a few weeks ago, I was keen to give this format a go. I have to say I liked it a lot. I was surprised by how different they were in look and function. The style of the game is much more flat and cartoony than on the Wii, but I found it much easier to navigate around the map and use the functions like watering plants and picking up acorns.

There was none of that Wii-mote arm ache I found with the other game. It felt much easier to pick up the game and have a little play, which means I will probably return to it again. As much as I like our Wii, the DS format is much more likely to get my attention. The DS game doesn't have the same depth as the Wii version, so if you want something you can really get your teeth into, I'm not sure this will be as interesting.

There was none of that Wii-mote arm ache I found with the other game.

The game is set in a forest with trees and water. The game guides you through a tutorial which shows you how to water trees and plants, make friends with and feed the animals. You move about the screen by moving your pen/hand icon about the map. The top screen gives you an overview of where you are. You have to keep the serenity of your forest in check by getting ‘Happy Energy'. This is achieved by keeping your animals happy and maintaining your forest. At the bottom of the screen there is a happy energy bar, so you can see if you forest and animals are reaching a zen-like state of harmony. This also shows how close you are to unlocking a new item.

New animals appear in your forest from time to time, starting with squirrels, then rabbits, and raccoons. Each animal unlocks a new challenge, i.e. make a home for your raccoon by shaking the tree until it falls down, providing a tree stump for the raccoon to live in. (unfortunately my raccoon wasn't all that interested in his nice tree stump dwelling and promptly left the forest!). You can keep the rabbits happy by creating new flowering bushes for them to each or by picking rose flowers (I chased my rabbit for ages with a rose flower, but he wasn't all that keen - where am I going wrong!?)

Tap on each animal and you can access more information about what your animal wants its favourite food and habitat. You can even give it a new name. Some animals want fun (party hat symbol - strangely enough!) others want to find a mate.

Dragging things into your back pack is fun - you can even put rain clouds in there - and handy if an area of the map you've unlocked doesn't have any water. Later on you get lightening too - handy for setting fire to decaying plants. To be used with caution!

I would definitely choose the DS version over the Wii one, as I found it so much nicer to use without loosing the essence of the game.

The animals didn't seem quite as needy and dependant as their Wii counterparts, so on the whole I found the whole experience less demanding.

It's easy enough for kids to play, so it's the kind of game any member of the family could pick up. The DS version has the disadvantage of not having a multi player function so no chance of any family interaction as you would on the big screen version. Even so, I would definitely choose the DS version over the Wii one, as I found it so much nicer to use without loosing the essence of the game.

Written by Josie Campbell

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Josie Campbell writes the Domestic Gamer column.

"As quite a domesticated mum of three I love the thought that Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, DS lite and PSP games can have a practical role around the home and enriching everyday life but also fun to chill out and unwind with too. Here are my Domestic Gamer review, join me to read about all sorts of games, from cooking, health, and family ones too."

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