- Platform: Windows 95 / 98 / 2000 / Me
- ELSPA Minimum Age: 15
- Media: Video Game
For the first time ever, the Sims can visit a pet store and bring home a variety of creatures and accoutrements. Players will make a big splash with the addition of a lumbering Labrador or fickle feline to their Sim family. They can also buy a parrot, turtle, lizard or fish that are fun for the whole family but don't need to be house-trained.
The Sims Unleashed gives players dozens of new social interactions and expands their neighbourhood. Thirty all-new residential and community lots featuring new homes, lush parks, a hip new cafe, cool shops and a farmer's market are available for Sims to explore. Now the Sims can walk their pooch in the park or bring their cat to a café and build their relationships with their neighbours through their adorable animals.
Your Sims can teach Fido where to go themselves or hire an efficient Pet Trainer to do all of the dirty work. Sims can also enter their kitties and canines in the local Pet show. The competition is "dog eat dog," as Sim pets try to impress the Pet Judges for prizes in obedience, tricks and good pet mood.
Also new to The Sims Unleashed is gardening. Your Sims can now grow a variety of vegetables in their own backyard plots using seeds purchased at the local garden store. Proper care of the garden will yield a crop that can be picked and stored in the new kitchen pantry or sold at the local farmer's market. Your new pets will also come in handy as they help chase away the pesky rabbits, gophers, and mice. Don't be surprised if they aren't the only unwelcome animals that come a callin'.
The Sims Unleashed expansion pack adds five new career paths with 50 new and exciting jobs. Sims can enter the exciting world of fashion, become a culinary genius, take care of the neighbourhood's pets as a trustworthy veterinarian, teach others as a noble educator, or simply run away and join the circus. Over 125 new objects for pets and people, dozens of new character skins and an all-new decorator set with a New Orleans French Quarter theme round out this new Sim offering.
The developers say this is the biggest expansion pack to date, and certainly there's quite a bit here for your money. There's a good variety of pets to choose from, and whilst felines and canines are likely to be the more popular options, there's little to stop you adding something more exotic like a lizard to your Sims world. Pets are a fun addition, whether you let them roam or take an active interest in their development.
While pets are the headline attraction, there's actually quite a bit more to discover in this expansion. There are extra locations and there's a new gardening element added, which is passable enough. There's the usual extra bevy of careers and objects brought into play too. There's nothing in The Sims Unleashed to impress non-converts, but it's essential for the completist and offers better all-round value than most Sims add-on packs so far. And you can't help but love those kittens. --Simon Brew