The Sims 3 Pets
Enjoy guiding your virtual likeness through its day-to day tasks, but feel it’s missing some four-legged friends? Sigh no more: you can now give them a recreation of Fido or Fluffy.
A pixel-perfect one, too – thanks to the intimidating level of customisation when you create a pet. For example, you can select not only the length of your pet’s fur, but also its texture and shape. It’s a veritable playpen for OCD dog-groomers.
The core gameplay is the same as in The Sims 3: control every aspect of characters’ lives, from woohoo to work performance, trying to juggle it all so that they don’t wind up miserable, stinky or fired. Unless you’re a sadist, in which case go nuts. But your pets are now playable, too.
Their moods are less volatile than humans’ – who often seem curiously depressed by the antics of their furry friends – and they can be kept awake for longer, meaning no more dull minutes spent fast-forwarding through the night.
It’s nice to have some diversion while the rest of the household is at work/school, but the pets’ fairly limited range of actions, such as scratching furniture and digging up the garden, does lose its novelty after a while.
That said, dogs often uncover items while wrecking the neighbours’ flowerbeds, meaning they can effectively work for you. Just don’t tell the RSPCA that you’re running a canine sweatshop.
The main new feature is the ‘mysteries’: five step-by-step storylines, such as treasure-hunting or joining a secret society. Two are pet-specific, requiring either a dog or cat to play – the latter’s involves plotting world domination, naturally. And bizarrely, one of the tasks it sets you is to take down a child. We’re not sure if pets like that are legal in real life…
Those hoping for an entirely overhauled Sims experience will be disappointed, but it’s doubtful anyone will harbour such expectations. Mysteries add some nice structure to the otherwise open-ended gameplay, but this is basically – as the name suggests – The Sims with added animals. Which, for plumbbob devotees, should be enough.