Experimenting with planting a lot of one type of plant spawns new, mysterious foliage and this, in turn, attracts new animals. There’s also the simple pleasure of designing a woodland since you can grab and move anything around the screen with ease.
There’s just a nagging feeling it that could have been more delightful though. SimAnimals gets close to excellence in some respects, then slightly disappoints. The visuals are colourful but not that special. The animals are cute enough, but don’t really do an awful lot.
But there are some interactions that are very sweet. Once you’ve unlocked Wind, you can hold down the L and R shoulder buttons and blow into the DS microphone to send a breeze rippling through your wood. This has multiple effects, including knocking fruit from trees, pollinating plants and sending your animals flying all over the place (some like it, some get cross).
You can also win an individual animals’ trust by hand-feeding them, then holding your hand close until they sniff it and roll on their backs to be petted.
The problem is this is time-consuming, and often the animals get narked or completely ignore you. In the meantime, while you’re trying to get assorted birds, rabbits and bears to like you, all your plants will be shrivelling into dry patches of brown.
PocketGamer – SimAnimals DS review