SimAnimals Review
Wii | DS
SimAnimals box art
System: Wii, DS Review Rating Legend
Dev: EA Redwood Shores 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: EA 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Jan. 21, 2009 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Everyone 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

Navigating the map with the D-Pad works well, but the stylus controls have a tendency to be imprecise and frustrating. Picking up small objects and transferring them to an animal or your backpack often takes several tries, and shaking trees, flowers, and bushes to get fruits and nuts is more annoying than it is rewarding.

SimAnimals screenshot

The tight graphical interface also tends to get cluttered and cramped, especially when you have your backpack inventory open across the lower screen. Fortunately, much of the important information for a selected animal or plant crops appears on the top screen. Drawing water with the stylus from nearby reservoirs to form clouds that can be stored and pulled out at a whim to water plants is clever; other abilities like charging up your happy meter and blowing into the microphone to knock seeds off trees are rather useless.

The crisp graphical presentation packs a lot of color to offset its simplicity. While the cute 2D animal and plant sprites are sharp and generally pleasant on the eyes, the caricaturized animal portraits that crop up on the upper screen are dopey in comparison. There's a good level of variety in the background and map designs. Each level looks quite different from the last one. Some are purely natural, featuring brooks, trees, and grassy plains, while others include piles of garbage, farm equipment, lodges, shacks, and human elements.

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Kids who pick up SimAnimals on the DS will find it's easy to dive right into the accessible gameplay. The lack of variety in objectives and occasional controls problems might be less of an issue for these younger players who find the meat and potatoes of the game - attracting new cute animals to their forests - to be joyfully addictive. The handheld version is an improvement over SimAnimals on the Wii, and the intended audience should find much to enjoy in this virtual natural realm.

By Nathan Meunier
CCC Staff Contributor

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
3.7
Graphics
Colorful sprites are crisp and simple.
3.2
Control
Touch controls aren't as precise as they could be, leading to moments of frustration.
3.7
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Upbeat music sets a chipper atmosphere and the animal sounds are cute.
3.7

Play Value
Attracting and caring for animals is addictive and absorbing, even if the repetitive gameplay gets old over time.

3.6
Overall Rating - Good
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Touch, move, and play with over 30 species of animals from the Northern Hemisphere including bears, squirrels, foxes, badgers, and owls! To journey deeper into the forest, you need to fulfill these animals' basic needs. Earn your animals' trust, and they'll play with you; be mean to them, and they will fear you.
  • Embark on new adventures when you unlock forest areas including woodlands, swamps, or an eerie abandoned cabin. Move and pick up everything in your forest. Some plants grow better near water, and certain animals are healthier when close to particular food sources. The happier your animals and plants, the more places you'll have to explore and discover new objects and animals!
  • The animals need you in order to survive in the forest. Help them gain access to food, move into your forest, clean polluted areas, and much more.
  • Find out who the troublemakers and the good guys are, and make sure they all get along … or not!
  • More lies in the forest than what meets the eye. Uncover one-of-a-kind objects and animals, some with special abilities, by completing tasks.
  • Interact directly with the animals in their environment using your stylus, while your Nintendo DS microphone lets you become the wind. Blow into the mic to gather fruit from trees, spread blossoms, and to see what else happens!


  • Screenshots / Images
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