A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Players spend their time helping animals and earning money. They cannot be mean to or mistreat pets or other sims. However, sims still have basic human needs. They need to sleep, eat, socialize, and relieve themselves in bathrooms regularly or risk having embarrassing (though non-graphic) episodes in public.
Products & Purchases
There is an obvious pro-consumerism message. Players are encouraged to shop for new clothing, pet paraphernalia (toys, clothes, consumables, etc.), and items to outfit both their homes and the pet spa. The game feels rather like it was designed to introduce younger players to the Sims universe so that when they come of age they'll be ready and eager for the real thing, and, as such, could be viewed as a kind of elaborate promotional tool.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that, unlike the Sims games available for PCs and consoles, which are known for their adult themes, this DS game is suitable for children. Players take on the role of a sim running a pet spa, and play is more or less limited to looking after animals by playing with them, grooming them, and dressing them up in silly clothes. The only antic that might raise eyebrows occurs when your sim fails to make it to the bathroom -- he or she will moan a little and shake a leg as though it were wet. Unfortunately, it also misses a good learning opportunity. While some pet care simulators impart valuable and interesting information about animals over the course of the game, Apartment Pets is unlikely to deliver any wisdom at all, other than that pets need to be washed regularly and entertained.
Is It Any Good?
To be fair, there's a little more to it than that. The act of treating a pet, for example, is made up of lots of little mini-games. The player may also choose to chum around with the animals by adorning them in a variety of pet clothes, stroking them, or playing games like fetching a ball, though these activities feel a little like a poor man's Nintendogs. There are also a few side challenges available, including a doggy treasure hunt and a couple of music games. But while there are plenty of activities, they're all extremely brief and lose their appeal the more you play them. It's fun at the start, and some crisp and clean 3-D animal animations help keep the players' interest, but it eventually grows wearisome.
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