The world of The Sims is already pretty expansive. Realistically, beyond adding more stuff to buy, furnish you house with, dress your Sim in or whatever, there is not much more that can be added. Nothing really needs to be changed and it is pretty complete. Or so I thought…
Then some bright spark decided it would be a good idea to add Pets into the game. This is something that has been done before with the previous versions of The Sims. But, as with all of the additions that we have seen before, The Sims 3: Pets takes everything just one step further, to the point of even allowing the player to fully control their newly acquired best friend.
The Sims 3: Pets offers teh player two different kinds of animal companion. The first kind are more or less an addition to the furniture, pets that are fun to look at. Anyone who has ever owned a snake will understand that they really don’t care whether you are there or not, as long as they get fed regualrly. Snakes, lizards, rabbits, turtles, and a few others all can be purchased and nurtured to a point. They may not be the most exciting, but for the Sim who wants to appear to have more depth, a pet lizard is a must.
Then you have the game changing pets. Dogs, cats and, for the first time, horses. These are the pets that have to be interacted with and cared for, In return, they can even make some cash for the Sim.
They also have their own section in the Sim Creator, meaning that players can create exactly the colour/shape/style of dog/cat/horse they wish. The options are incredibly impressive and ensure that should the player want to make an exact replica of their family pet, they can. Or if they want to make a psychedelic, mutated beast, that’s also possible. The player can even give the pets traits to add more character.
As I already mentioned, they can even bring in the Simoleons. Cats can hunt and catch smaller animals, dogs can find buried treasure and horses can enter races or competitions to bring in the big bucks. Combining a well trained racing horse with an equally well trained Sim jockey can result in an incredible amount of wealth, if the player is that way inclined. Being able to actually control the animals makes them feel much more like a part of the Sim family and offers a whole new gameplay mechanic.
Breeding is also something that should be considered for money making. There is a lot of money to be made here, especially if your pet has been developed. But there is also some fun to be had for those players who made extensive use of the Pet Creator to come up with outlandish designs for their animals. Breeding with others may result in some bizarre combinations and is always worth getting excited over.
Also worth getting excited over is the new “pet perfect” neighborhood – Appaloosa Plains. Filled with lots designed specifically for your pets, plenty of countryside in which to ride your horse, and wildlife roaming free, there are plenty of reasons to love this new neighborhood, but the fact that it is included with the game is the only reason most players will need.
Of course, the expansion comes with a fair chunk of other additional content, such as new traits and goals, or objects. But the emphasis here is on the pets themselves. Although they do not drastically change the game, they have certainly done what they should and expanded the game in a very pleasing way.
Is there a casual Sims player out there? Personally, I think not. You either love The Sims and want to own all of the expansion packs, or you don’t play The Sims. But if there are Sims players out there who take a more casual approach and pick and choose between expansion packs, The Sims 3: Pets should be high on their list.