Envision a Sims game that has nothing to do with The Sims. That’s more or less what The Sims 2 Pets for the DS is. The game starts out with making your Sim avatar. Then your choose their pet and customize them. This seems pretty promising. Except that after that, your poor little pet gets pretty much ignored in the wild rush to care for other people’s pets. As it turns out, The Sims 2 Pets for the DS is a veterinary simulator, unlike The Sims 2 Pets for the computer which is an expansion that gives your Sims the ability to have pets. Awkward, isn’t it?
Alright, so now you’re a veterinarian with a pet you’re ignoring. And then, random people are coming in to your house to drop off their pets that they’re bad at taking care of. I can’t even begin to tell you how many people came in and they’re like “My dog smells”. I don’t know about you, but when my dog smells, I give it a bath. I don’t rush it to the vet in a panic. Pets can also be brought in because they swallowed something, because they’re actually sick, because they have fleas, because they have worms and fun stuff like that. But I can’t get over the idea of rushing to the vet because ohnoes, my cat smells. I understand that in the real world, your pet could smell because of any number of reasons other than it needs a bath, but they didn’t account for any of these while programming this game, if a pet smells that’s because it needs a bath.
The other things about this game that baffle me include the fact that I can keep up to 3 pets in the same enclosure without them fighting or catching each others diseases, the fact that when you send your Sim to bed the animals never need them in the night and the fact that the Sim can eat once a day and be fine. Did I mention you never have to feed the animals? For a game that is supposed to be a simulation, they sure left a lot of stuff out. I’m willing to cut them a little slack since its a DS game and they could only fit so much on the cartridge, but still. They did, however, include the ability to train the animals and play with them outside. You can also take them to the park. The training feature is rather limited including only about 6 or so commands. And the mechanic for training the pets reminds me of something out of Windwaker or DDR. You have to tap a button on the screen to match the whistles shown. If you can successfully match it 3 or so times, the pet learns the trick. Its pretty simple.
At first, you have your dog or cat (whose stats magically never go down) and maybe 1 or 2 other pets on site that you’re taking care of. Then suddenly, you get a high enough reputation to have 5-6 other pets on hand that you’re trying to cure all at once. Once you hit this point, you have to be organized about which pet needs what or you start losing customers. Its about this point where I stopped having fun. It becomes less of a game and more of a chore as you try to get each pet cured in the amount of time you said you could. It almost feels like they designed the game to ramp up how many animals you were caring for too quickly so you don’t really have a chance to get used to each increase.
And so, the rating. I really didn’t enjoy this game very much. I found it very stressful and, to be completely truthful, I was very annoyed that it wasn’t what I thought I was getting when I purchased it. I was expecting something where I take care of 1 or 2 animals and a few people not 1 person and 8 or so different animals per game day. The realism, something the Sims genre is usually pretty good about for some things, was completely lacking. I’m sorry, but you can’t sit on a couch for 2 minutes (game time) and have your comfort levels be completely full. Neither can you put a dog with fleas and a dog without fleas in the same enclosure and not end up with two dogs with fleas. And so, I feel that I have to give this game 2 out of 5 Hearts. The Sims really should just stay on the PC where they have the processing power and memory to make the kind of games that they’re known for and people expect.