The Sims 2 Apartment Pets Impressions - Pet Spas, Customization, and Playing Dress-Up

We take a tour of EA's upcoming animal house.


The Sims 2 Apartment Pets is a game that's all about caring for animals. And by caring for, EA really means "dressing in funny clothes." But isn't that one of the best things to do to cats, dogs, bunnies, and even snakes? Who doesn't know the joy of a pet's pouty face peering out from underneath the adorable brim of a tiny cowboy hat? Now you will be able to experience this bliss away from your Toonces or Bigglesworth with Apartment Pets, which will be shipping on August 26 of this year.

Polly wants more customization and clothing options in this pet-themed Sims sequel.
Polly wants more customization and clothing options in this pet-themed Sims sequel.

A sequel to The Sims 2 Pets, which launched on multiple systems two years ago, Apartment Pets expands upon the former's popular formula by letting you keep many pets at once, including a bird, a snake, a hamster, a rabbit, a guinea pig, a cat, and a dog. According to the story, you are the owner of a pet spa, and you live in a pretty nice apartment building. These two locations are where you will spend most of your time, caring for your animal charges in your apartment, as well as those brought into the spa by clients.

Even though the focus of the game is pets, this is still very much a Sims game. You have a fully customizable avatar and apartment, and the money you make treating animals at the spa can be spent on everything from wallpaper to hot tubs. The selection of ovens alone is impressive. But when you aren't decking out your crib, you're taking care of animals that are, in turn, thrashing it. Now, as somebody who cares for animals, you'll be tending to a lot of pets that aren't your own at your apartment; people will trust you to take care of their Mr. Slippies and Snuggle Bears. So even though you will eventually acquire one of every pet type that is actually yours, you'll have many different birds, bunnies, and dogs throughout the game.

However, you will only ever have one of any given type of animal at a time, so you won't be able to keep 47 cats in one room until the smell draws animal control and your character goes to jail. Indeed, Apartment Pets is a kid-friendly game, so nothing remotely bad can possibly happen. The very worst possibility will be that an animal doesn't like you very much.

Even though you can't keep tons of exotic pets in a dangerously enclosed space, that doesn't mean you won't be able to torture them in your own special way, given that Apartment Pets is loaded with little animal outfits. You can take that silly little cat of yours and put a big, bad mister cowboy hat on him, and then a little matching vest, and call him the sheriff of cat town. All of the animals can be dressed to ridiculous degrees, though the snake can only wear hats. Nevertheless, a snake in a top hat is quite a sight, especially because the snake that we saw closely resembled the deadly Australian taipan. Obviously, your snake won't be able to run amok and kill everything in the game, but it's nice that the designers chose such a cool, intimidating model. And when you put the top hat on him, boy does he look like little mister serious.

You can spruce up the appearance of underdressed pooches like this happy fellow.
You can spruce up the appearance of underdressed pooches like this happy fellow.

Aside from dressing pets and cooing at your Nintendo DS, you also have to run your pet spa. At all times, a meter will show you how many customers are in your shop. You simply go down, check out their pets, and make money. The checking-out part usually involves a diagnostic minigame. Once you've completed that, you'll probably discover that Miss So-and-So's dog smells like raw sewage, needs a brushing, and has fleas. Consequently, you'll treat each of those maladies and then send her master packing, minus some simoleans that you've earned.

Though there's doubtlessly much more to The Sims 2 Apartment Pets, we could only check out the game long enough to admire a couple of minigames (you can dance along with your bird) and dress a few pets. Only a final version of this game will tell whether its pedigree is pure, but if our early glimpse was any indication, this game will be the cat's pajamas when it hits on August 26th.

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