A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that if your kids are begging for a pet, this game might help demonstrate some of the major responsibilities they'd be taking on. Sim pets need food, but they also need love and training (and they misbehave by hissing or urinating on the floor). However, note that the game is too hard to control for most young tweens -- they might get frustrated.
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What's it about?
Add a new level of reality to your Sims life with this well-designed -- but complex -- expansion pack that lets you get pets from the adoption center or take in strays from the streets. With THE SIMS UNLEASHED you'll also be able to head to the new Old Town, where animals, including cats, dogs, iguanas, turtles, birds, fish, and pet goodies can be purchased (only cats and dogs become family members). You get a lot from having a pet: Letting your human Sims stare at an aquarium full of fish adds to their fun level. Cats will protect your home from mice and gophers, dogs chase skunks, and both cats and dogs are social animals, replacing the need for complicated virtual human interaction with simple warm and fuzzy animal relationships.
But as in real life, pets demand responsibility from their owners. Players must housebreak dogs to make sure they don't make a mess of the house, and you've got to clean your cat's virtual litter box. With the pets comes a whole new class of stuff to buy, such as cages, fish bowls, litter boxes, and scratching posts. And pets are not the only additions to come with Unleashed -- gardening plays a big part now, and there are new career paths, a new phone book, and new places to live.
Is it any good?
The downside is this already hard-to-control game just got harder to manage. Fast-moving animals are next to impossible to click on without pausing the game. Raising newborn kittens is extremely difficult (animal control arrives too quickly to take them away), and teaching your pets new skills takes a major time investment. Other game possibilities -- such as having your departed pets revived or setting up your own adoption center -- are much too complicated for the casual player.
Note: You need The Sims or The Sims Deluxe Edition before installing this expansion pack. Read Common Sense Media's reviews of other Sims products to learn the full range of pros and cons with this series.
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