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Those who have perfected the art of looking after their Sim people and Sim Cities now have the chance to turn their skills to the animal kingdom. Sim Animals brings the micro managing delights of EA's other Sim games to the animal kingdom.
First job is to choose your world. You are then taken through a brief tutorial about how to move about the map, interact with and unlock new animals and win medals. And you soon discover that just like other Sim games, the aim is to keep your population happy. Here though is the new challenge of working out what your furry friends need.
You start off with basics like Rabbits, Squirrels and Birds and given tasks to win their trust by interacting with them and feeding them. Interaction takes place via a giant hand which you use to drag your self around your forest, play with animals by waving over their heads and pick things up. Another aim of the game is 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. Each area of the game has a happy energy bar, so you can see if you and your animals are reaching a zen-like state of harmony. This also shows how close you are to unlocking a new item.
The game is good at giving you new things to do at regular intervals.
Click on the magnifying glass and you can access more information about what your animal wants its favourite food and habitat. Some animals want fun (party hat symbol, strangely enough!) others want to find a mate. When trust has been won you can add animals to your back pack (along with acorns and fruit) and take them to other parts of the map to meet the squirrel mate of their dreams. Not only do you need to look after you animals but you also need to nurture your forest, plant seeds and clean up,
Moving around the map using the giant hand was the only really annoying part of the game. It was really hard work to navigate properly and see where the animals were. Zooming in made everything too close and zooming out everything was too far away. I spent ages looking for a robin, only to find it flew off every time my big onerous hand came anywhere near it (obviously not eared enough trust with that one yet!) I'm sure it's something you would get used to over time, but arm ache was a bit factor using the wii-mote for that length of time. Maybe my Wii muscles need a bit of building up!
If you like needy animals and a game which you can keep coming back to for months or even years then this is for you.
The game is good at giving you new things to do at regular intervals. Unlocking new animals and areas of the map keep things interesting, as do the tasks for each animal. The game is easy enough for kids to play and there isn't a huge amount of text prompts, which is always a barrier for younger ones. But for me the killer is the high maintenance style of it, which is what eventually put me off the other Sim games, fine if you like that kind of thing. This definitely isn't a quick play kind of game, so if you like needy animals and a game which you can keep coming back to for months or even years then this is for you.
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