Review by DanTheTimid
"A bit niche, a bit unrealstic, but a cute and amusing pet simulator"
Let me start this review by pointing out that, while I am an avid gamer, I am not really a fan of pet simulation games. If your a hard core pet simulation gamer (do those exist?) whose played a little of every pet simulator and looking for the best one out there, I have no insights on how this compares to other pet simulators. For the rest of you non pet simulator aficionados however hopefully this review will give you a good idea of what your getting yourself into if you decide to check this game out.
The graphics in this game are absolutely adorable. This may be a negative for you if you were hoping for a dark bunny game where you raise and battle bunny's like pokemon, but for those who can appreciate cute graphics this game is right up your alley. The 3d bunny's are well designed and fairly expressive giving them a more realistic. The environments are a little rough around the edges (particularly your bed room which could have used some options for sprucing up) but relatively colorful and interesting, especially the various bunny cages you can unlock. All of the minigames graphics are especially well done, with very cutesy hamtaro like renditions of bunnys mixed in with the more realistic looking ones. Other then the danger of getting a tooth ache from everything being so over whelmed with cuteness theres not much negative to say here.
This is a pet simulator, there is no story.
Background musics are alright if forgettable. Bunny's are not exactly the noisest of creatures so theres really not too much they could or should have done for sounds in this game. I guess I just wish there were more background musics to be unlocked, maybe like a cd player for your bed room you could win new background cds for. So yeah, not the strength of the game, but not really a weakness either.
Heres the meat of the game. Gameplay consists of feeding, grooming, training, playing with, and dressing your pet bunny. I will say right off the bat that the fact you only are allowed 5 letters to name your bunny with was a little off setting, I'm not sure what justification there was for that. Feeding consists simply of picking a food or water item and setting it up in your bunny's cage where if they're hungry they will partake of it. Theres various en tree's, vegetables, snacks, and beverages and not being familiar with pet simulators I wasn't really clear on when to feed my bunny which items but I'd like to assume there is some rhyme and reason to the different classes of food. Food and water are not unlimited however, you must either find or win more. Finding more consists of releasing your bunny from his cage so that he can romp about your room, then every now and again there will be little presents hidden in your room that if your bunny sumbles upon you can make use of. If you happen to see a present on your own you cannot just pick it up yourself but you are able to pick up your bunny to move him right next to it so that he can pick it up for you. The other way to get more food/water is through mini games. These mini games can only be iniated when your bunny feels like playing, at which point a "play" button will become available and the bunny will inform you as to which game he's interested in playing. The games range from relatively easy to rather difficult and include such things as air hockey, an easter egg hunt (surprisingly difficulty), balancing boxes to rescue a bunny from a tree, cleaning the floor while bunnies leave tracks all over it, and even a very cute bunny rpg game where you control a cartoon bunny hero who collects items like a bunny face shield and carrot sword and then engages in a battle system against rats, cats, and dogs. The battle system seems to be luck based (you pick which of 3 spots to attack and which of 3 spots to defend, if you guess right you hit or block them) but in its simplicity it is still rather amusing. In the end you'll probably spend more time playing these minigames then anything else so its good that they have atleast a little variety and that they are atleast some what enjoyable. You will of course also want to spend some time cleaning the bunnies cage, and the most bizzare of things your asked to do which will also eat up alot of time... you will train your bunny to talk! Thats right, talk, not unlike a parrot. This is done through a weird game where the letters of words or phrases appear on the screen and you must pop them fast enough. If you do your bunny will get a little bit closer to mastering the word/phrase until after several tries he eventually learns it and adds it to his vocabulary. As your bunny becomes more fluent in english he'll begin talking to you on his own as well as providing you with other weird information such as what your fortune is for the day (though what day it is does not seem to have any bearing on these fortunes which seem completely random as I was told once on 3 seperate occasions in the same day that my fortune was a lucky day, an unlucky day, and a VERY unlucky day).
This is going to vary from person to person, some people will play with and maintain even the most simplistic of virtual pets for months while others will bore with even complicated ones within a day. In this game in addition to collecting food in all your games and searches your also collecting new cages, new toys, and new clothing to dress your bunny up in. Collecting them all can take quite a while and as such gives you a nice long term goal. On the other hand if your especially good at the mini games (which I am not) and were lucky not to get to many doubles you could theoretically collect everything rather quickly. Your next goal would probably be to teach your bunny as many words and phrases as possible. I'm not sure how many there are in total, at the time of this review I haven't taught mine everything yet, but I assume there is a finite number of those as well so eventually you'll collect them all. Once everything is collected your main objective is just to keep your bunny healthy, happy, and fed and how enjoyable that is to you again will vary depending on the person. Still for many pet simulators I expect that is the ONLY thing to keep you going, atleast this game has additional collection and training aspects (not to mention training your bunny to use his toys though to be fair that training usually doesn't take more then a few minutes).
Most of the controls are spot on, everything is done with the stylus, from petting your pet, scrubbing the floor to wash away paw prints, to flinging around your air hockey paddle to really launch that puck. My only real beef with the controls comes with holding your pet. Instead of just grabbing it with your stylus and pulling it along through the area to where you want to drop it you instead have to click on arrows which maneuver your hand. I assume this is because it allows you to pet the bunny thats in your hand while your other hand holds it... but you don't have to be holding your bunny to pet it and moving around with the arrows is very awkward.
I got this game as a gift so it cost me nothing, thus I got my money's worth of enjoyment out of it. However for the rest of you who are looking at having to pay 30 dollars for this... I don't know. I happen to love bunnies (whether of the human female variety or the animal) so this game held a little extra enjoyment for me in that category, but at its roots it is still just a pet simulator. If you happen to love bunnies and happen to enjoy pet simulators I think this game might just be worth it. If not however, theres ALOT of other DS titles you can get for the same price I'd recommend over this. This is at its heart a very niche game, if you fit its niche give it a try, if not, I'd probably save your money, atleast until it drops alot in price.
Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 03/17/08
Game Release: Petz: Bunnyz (US, 03/04/08)
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