Sort of went under the radar, but turned out to be a pretty solid title!

User Rating: 7.5 | The Sims 2: Pets WII
This may be hard to believe, but I haven't always been as into the The Sims series as I am now. In fact, I only really got into it when I started messing around with some console games, this being the first one. Released in 2007, it was The Sims 2: Pets for Wii, PS2, and Gamecube that introduced me to the world of simulation, and I must say it did a pretty good job. Here's my review for, specifically, The Sims 2: Pets for Wii.

As we all probably know, the point of the The Sims series is to provide an open-ended, sandbox experience that forces you to expand upon your creativity and utilize various different strategies to fulfill, please, and tend to your darling little Sims. Of course, if you wanted to, you could always create a full house of Sims and stick them all into a human zoo of sorts and watch their misery unfold, but that's just an idea. Anyway, the point is that you can do what you want, and it's not a Sims game unless it has that old familiar feel to it. That feel is definitely not missing in this port. It may not be a very well known game, but it actually does quite a nice job of importing what you need from the PC version to a gaming console.

Firstly, game mechanics and technological feats. Most of the time, the game runs pretty smoothly. Every now and then menus sort of glitch up, the cursor disappears, the controls get confused, or a Sim gets stuck, but nothing really long lasting or overly bothering. Though I find it a bit weird that when you leave the house and then spend a few hours out you will return at the exact same time you left, it's understandable so that you don't miss out on need-fulfilling time and your job. That being said, it's incredibly unreasonable for it to take a Sim a full in-game hour (time is accelerated, as usual) to pee and perform other mundane tasks. The graphics, while a little more cartooney than the PC version, are pretty standard, producing a friendly looking environment with happy looking little Sims and cute animations. Menus are usually smooth and the game runs just fine. One mechanic I really like about the game is the ability to have multiple of your own families in one neighborhood, but we'll get into that in a bit. The music in the game is nice and friendly, just like the environment, and fits perfectly, with an artsy intro to ice the cake. When Sims run they tend to stop awkwardly, and this can cause problems, and there are no end of path-finding issues, but nothing unforgivable. The Sims 2: Pets appears to be presented quite nicely, probably not above average, but close.

Many players may find the gameplay to be incredibly stripped. In all honesty, it is. Features that should be important like death, aging, weight gain, WooHoo, and human childbirth have all been eliminated, as well as pets being able to get jobs or enter competitions, and you won't see any animals other than dogs and cats in the game, like you would on the PC version, but the game seems to detract attention from this fact in other ways as well.
But that brings us to the main point of the game: pets. Though there never was a vanilla The Sims 2 released on the Wii, Pets was the most popular expansion and for good reason so I suppose it's only logical to base console games on it. Dogs and cats are fully customizable from everything to ear shape to hoodie pattern to sneakers to personality, and you have a variety of breeds to choose from as well. Pets will be your little, versatile companions. You can have a whole household full of pets as long as there's at least one Sim, and there's a whole bunch of things you can do with them. Take them out, teach them tricks, tell them to guard the house, tell them to bring in the newspaper, build relationships with them, buy stuff for them, play with them, have them mate with other pets of the same species to produce puppies or kittens, and scold them when they pee indoors or dig a hole in your flower garden. Pets will run away if you don't take care of them and join the group of circulating strays about the town, and if no one takes them in, they'll eventually be gone forever. Pets will also build relationships with each other and interact autonomously quite frequently. Dogs will fetch the paramedic if a Sim faints, but will require washing, and instead of having the Environment motive (need for a clean house), they need to Chew on toys, bones, newspapers, and furniture. Cats will clean themselves, but will tend to avoid you, and have a need to Scratch toys, posts and furniture instead of an Environment motive. Both cats and dogs can be taught tricks, and they all have their own personalities, so while there are quite a few things seemingly missing, there's still quite a few things to make it enjoyable.
Customization with the Sims introduces the ability to have multiple layers of clothing and select shoes separate from the outfit, which was really quite a big deal at the time. Sims behave the way their personality directs them to, and they have Wants to fulfill as well as needs. The same goes for pets. Wants are basically little and sometimes big tasks the Sim or pet wants to perform. Fulfilling pet wants, which could be anything from playing with a certain toy to having a litter, nets you Pet Points, which are the currency used in the town square. When buying things for your house from the Object Catalog, you will use regular Simoleons which are earned by your Sim when they come home from whatever career track you chose for them at the end of the day. However, when you are in the Town Square, the large, central community lot of the town, you will use Pet Points, probably because everything in the Town Square is pet themed. Yes, it can get kind of annoying seeing bones and paw prints everywhere, but there's not really any way to avoid it unfortunately.
At the Town Square, you can do various things like buy treats, clothing, toys, food, and housing for your pets, and you can donate, adopt, wash, and board them as well. Your Sims can also enjoy various public facilities such as the coffee, smoothie, and ice cream stand as well as the hot dog vendor and some of the nice scenery. Really, the Town Square looks pretty great. The more you use the various facilities available to you in the Town square, the better they get. Unlock more items and snazzier looking buildings with every chunk of items you buy. It is up to you whether your Town Square is a cozy little suburban community spot or a skyscraper commercial zone of sorts.
One thing that is worth complaining about it how... well... that's it. You can't visit other peoples' houses, so the only lots that will ever be available to your Sims at one time is their house and the Town Square. Usually you can find something to do, like playing chess with a chicken, repairing broken computers, or getting abducted by aliens, or maybe even defending your territory from robbers, though if you don't have a job that comes with friends to make and skills, like Charisma and Logic to build.
As mentioned earlier, you now have a neighborhood experience similar to TS2 for PC/Mac. You can have multiple of your own families in one neighborhood (the cozy little neighborhood of Whiskerton) and you can move around and rearrange all the precreated Sims all you like. Do as you will with them, and remember, the more you fulfill Sims' Wants, the more Aspiration Points you get, which will unlock new Townies (Sims that you can talk to around town) among other things.
When it comes to building, it's possible to create something that's close to a master piece, but your houses can only be one story, foundations and basements are not allowed, no diagonals with anything except walls and floors, and no roofs. There's also that pesky fire code to deal with that limits the amount of items you can put in your lot. Defy it, and it goes all evil on your behind and sets your house on fire. Don't want that. Deal with this and you've got a pretty decent house building system.

Now for control. As per usual now, the Nunchuk is used to control Sims in Direct Mode, which works pretty seamlessly, however there is also the pretty great Classic Mode, which gives you the original game's point and click layout. Considering the technology involved with the Wii remote, it's pretty obvious that this feature works best with the Wii, though controls can often confuse themselves to the point where you're trying to move the camera but end up moving the cursor instead.

Overall, The Sims 2: Pets for Wii is a possibly just above average game with a nice, easy going simulation experience. It may be a bit stripped, but it's still worth it, as it soon becomes strangely addictive, especially with all the scattered dry humor we've always loved.