At first, I was excited when I saw the sneak trailer to SimAnimals coming to the Wii and DS early next year. However, as I begin to read the articles on the game…it just seemed dull. I’m not sold on the gameplay since you play as “God’s hand” and take care of animals. What else is there to do except feed them and guide them through the forest?
Sure, there are over 25 animals and 50 plants to create your own habitat. But after an hour of gameplay, wouldn’t it seem tedious? Maybe they should throw in a mini-game to see how far you can toss your creature…
What’s interesting is the style EA has plumped for, steering a steady and successful course between realistic and Disney-cute. The game has a great look to it, and in a rare backstage tour of the game, we saw why. The designers had plenty of sources to inspire them, and although they were reluctant to expand on them we saw notes revealing how crucial certain films had been. So Bambi, Open Season and even Peter Pan had played their part – the last used to show how colour and contrast can be used to make characters stand out against backgrounds, for instance.
We played it on the Wii and it looked great, its charming style making the most of the Wii’s limited graphical capabilities. The controls are subtle – approach a wary animal too fast and he’ll run away, but tempt him with berries and he’ll soon look contented when you pick him up (if he’s not happy, you won’t be able to get close enough to pick him up