The Sims 2 Apartment Pets Updated Impressions - Keeping Your Pets Happy

Your dog is smelly and has fleas. Luckily, you have a Nintendo DS stylus.

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The Sims 2 Apartment Pets is the sequel to the popular to The Sims 2 Pets and features--what else?--more pets. Now with cats, dogs, snakes, birds, hamsters, and guinea pigs, Apartment Pets expands upon the original while at the same time tying in with The Sims 2 Apartment Life, the upcoming expansion pack for the PC.

Your uncle has gone on vacation in Europe for a year and he's letting you move into his swanky apartment as a house sitter. There's just one catch: You also have to manage his pet spa business downstairs. Customers will bring in their pets, each with its own specific problems ranging from displeasing odor to massive flea infestation. In order to help out these animals in need, you play through a number of minigames, earning cash that, in turn, can be used to purchase new items for your own pet or your apartment.

During your time as house sitter and spa manager, you'll also meet the neighbors and take care of some of their pets, save the kittens of the Lost Kitten Society, and transform the modest spa into a pet-care Mecca. If you do well enough, your uncle will split the profits with you and remain in Europe, allowing you to live in the apartment and manage the spa for good. To be successful, you'll have to balance eating, sleeping, social, and, um, toilet activities.

Of course, following a linear story is not what The Sims is about. Apartment Pets is focused on creation, customization, and collection...and minigames. To remove fleas from a friendly beagle, a target will rotate around the dog's problem areas and you need to tap the touch screen with the stylus, tapping the left shoulder button to unleash some flea spray. With the money earned, you can purchase cowboy hats, star-shaped sunglasses, and all manner of embarrassing paraphernalia on your poor pet. Once your pet is pimped out, pimp out your pad. Ever wanted a medieval-themed kitchen? How about a pink princess bedroom? Have at it.

Apartment Pets is a single-player only game, so you unfortunately won't be able to share silly pet pictures or shots of your customized love shack with friends, but the game is a good complement to the upcoming Apartment Life. Visually, EA has managed to create a surprisingly detailed DS game thanks to a nifty zooming technology. Because the DS is limited to a set number of polygons on both screens, EA figured out a new way to zoom in on objects with maximum detail so you can really enjoy the fruits of your customization. Then when you zoom out, the objects are replaced with very simple version for a simple, top-down view.

Look for The Sims 2 Apartment Pets to hit the DS on August 26.

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