The Sims 3: Pets review

  • The deep horse creation mode
  • The thrill of jumping
  • Making humans serve you
  • Dogs. Who likes dogs?
  • Cats. They're not as cute as you think
  • Human Sims. Without horses, they'd be useless

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).

Above: Horses in The Sims 3: Pets are much better than they were in Red Dead Redemption. Just look at this horse’s graceful gait

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.

More Info

Available Platforms: 3DS, PS3, PC, Xbox 360
Genre: Simulation
Published by: Electronic Arts


  • modestcomplexity - November 1, 2011 1:36 p.m.

    At first I thought the pets thing would get old - after all, I remember Giga Pets and that concept was interesting for maybe 2 hours. Anyway, finally just picked up this expansion pack and it is surprisingly fun! I have spent literally hours just playing around with the coat design features, you can really create distinguishable animals. Also, this add-on has some new songs in Simlish, and those are always hilarious. My favorite has gotta be "Television" by Jack's Mannequin, it is such a trip to hear that song in Simlish, I wonder how they do that?
  • NanoElite666 - October 28, 2011 11:22 p.m.

    I feel this review would be a bit more credible if we were able to get the opinions of a cat and dog on the game as well. Right now it just reeks of horse elitism...
  • Fenderstat - October 28, 2011 6:03 p.m.

    Buttercup, how do gamesradar pay you? If it's in carrots and oats and instead of monetary value isn't that slave labour? How do you pay your taxes and are you treated fairly and equally paid to your human counterparts? You should be demanding more from Gary Steinman as he used to work for PC Gamer and therefore he is rich.
  • D0CCON - October 28, 2011 4:13 p.m.

    This is a monstrosity. Buttercup's review is not a part of the Metacritic average. That is racist in its most purest form (as in literally hating on a race that isn't human).
  • Fenderstat - October 28, 2011 6:07 p.m.

    it's ok mate. Buttercup isn't a white person so any derogatory remarks made about other races are interpreted as witty humour, even cross species!
  • keltar93 - October 28, 2011 2:42 p.m.

    Wait, is this Buttercup's first review?
  • alienkid771 - October 28, 2011 2:14 p.m.

    I have the weirdest boner...
  • Mezolitik - October 28, 2011 2:12 p.m.

    ...seriously? Wow, so, what you're saying is, this is one of the best games ever?! How much did they pay you, really?
  • Cwf2008 - October 28, 2011 2:40 p.m.

    I would guess some oats and fresh carrots
  • UberNoob - October 28, 2011 2:05 p.m.

    BIAS! BIAS! BIAS! Stop horsing around Buttercup!
  • GamesRadarButtercup - October 28, 2011 2:09 p.m.

    Doo nnt qquestin mmy autthrty.m,., srryy muy hooovvs
  • 510BrotherPanda - October 28, 2011 2:41 p.m.

    That's no excuse. Strong Bad from types with boxing gloves on, and he's human-shaped. As a horse, you are better than that.
  • GodlikeApe - October 28, 2011 3:55 p.m.

    Thank you for reminding me of Homestar et al. Clearly B. Buttercup should have reviewed Batman: Arkham City. Loose animal reference.
  • UberNoob - October 28, 2011 4:02 p.m.

    One of the perks of us humans: we have fingers :) Hey Buttercup, do you know any centaurs?
  • GamesRadarButtercup - November 4, 2011 10:41 a.m.

    No. Buut i beilve i knww yourr momm
  • D0CCON - October 28, 2011 4:19 p.m.

    You must have one heck of an editor.

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