The Sims 3: Pets review

It’s not easy being a horse, especially a horse working at GamesRadar. Lunchtime is the loneliest. Everyday my cordial offerings of healthful oats and fresh carrots are ignored by my human co-workers. As soon as noon arrives, it’s always burritos this, or hamburgers that. The average equine only lives about 30 years. But I swear! The way the fast food loving staff at GamesRadar eats day in and day out, they’ll all beat me to the grave. But I digress.

Today, I’m here to offer our publication’s human audience a real horse’s perspective on The Sims 3: Pets. The latest expansion in the series offers the usual extras with new lifetime wishes, skills, career opportunities, buildings, and items – all set in the fresh country-side neighborhood, Appaloosa Plains. But of course, the biggest and most important addition the expansion brings are horses and the ability to play as them.

To be fair, felines and canines are also available. But they are not important. As usual, weak-minded cats and dogs sit under the shadow of the unquestionably superior equid. That’s how it is in real life. And so it is in The Sims 3: Pets. Dogs can learn simple tricks and will catch fleas, while cats can learn to pounce on inanimate objects. But again, I digress. It’s hard to hate on how useless dogs and cats are in The Sims 3 and in life when there’s so much to love about horses.

Above: Cats and dogs are stupid. Trust me. I’m a horse

For the first time in gaming history, we have a character creation mode fit for true horse lovers. There’s a variety of breeds to choose from, including American Standardbreds, Salernos, and Palominos. Everything from the color of your coat and mane, to the shape of your head, snout, and body can be customized to your liking. With a large selection of featherings, bridles, and saddles to further accessorize your virtual steed, one can easily lose hours customizing your horse before getting into the game.

When you do get back into the game, I recommend selecting Appaloosa Plains, the new neighborhood introduced in Pets. Here, you’ll have access to a nice selection of country-friendly starter homes and pet-centric facilities, like the Equestrian Training Grounds, where you can improve your horse’s jumping skills. There’s also the Equestrian Center, where you can prove your worth by entering racing, riding, and jumping competitions. It’s also where the magic happens, as you can also offer stallions as studs and breed mares.

Above: A weak human scatters hay while my glorious mare dreams of fish. This is how it should be

But the best thing about Pets, is the ability to play The Sims 3 as a horse. While your human Sim toils at its day job to earn enough Simoleons to buy you food and shelter, you can multitask, spending your days trotting through Appaloosa Plains. Fast-forwarding through your workday will be a thing of the past, now that there’s so much to do with your pet. You can socialize with other human Sims – and even make friends with other dogs and cats (although I have no idea why anyone would want to do that).

Grazing in fields and improving your racing skill by galloping around are both acceptable ways to pass the time. But true happiness will come by fulfilling your horse’s wishes, earning you Lifetime Happiness points that can be used to unlock special Lifetime Rewards. Our favorite: the Friend of the Herd perk, which increases the chances of wild horses visiting your home.

The Pets expansion really does offer a brand new way to play The Sims 3. That’s you, trotting into town to spit disdainful snorts at Sim children before begging passersby for some fresh carrots. Dig around, feel the Earth beneath your hooves, master the jumping courses, and take your time. You have many hours to explore the verdant plains of Appaloosa while you human gamers sit at your desks growing fat on Hot Pockets.

Even playing as Sim humans is improved by the mere presence of horses. There’s plenty of chore play to lose yourself in as you make sure your horse has everything it needs and more. Prepare gourmet pet food, like horse granola, to round out your cooking skills. Scatter hay, to fortify your Sims horse with nutrients, fill up the water trough, clean up the poop from the stall, and make sure to clean those hooves. You’ll also want to make sure your human Sim gives your horse Sim the love it deserves with lots of affectionate hugs and back rubs.

There’s really no other way to put it. The Sims 3: Pets is the best expansion released since the series first launched in 2009. Trust me. I’m a horse and I know what I’m talking about. Even non-horses will enjoy hearing their steed’s gentle clip-clops as you trot through Appaloosa Plains and explore it from the perspective of a pet. And of course, everything that made The Sims 3 so great in the first place is still here, making Pets as good a reason as any to load up The Sims 3 for another romp.

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