Now, you and up to three other players can be Dr. Doolittle. Impressive graphics and realistic animal movements support a free roaming format full of unlockable elements and seemingly endless scenarios. Interactions with the animals include belly rubs, petting, feeding and even collecting. Yes, you don't even have to tag these furry creatures (though you can give them names) when you stick them in your backpack (maximum of five).
After the initial setup, which includes a nice "sticky" keyboard, you can choose to control with only the remote or the remote and nunchuk. Your character basically is comprised of a Mickey Mouse like white gloved hand and your Mii avatar. Your main focus is the animals and keeping the overall energy "happy", but developers also throw in some God-like powers like creating rain to sustain the vegetation. You can even make a lightning that has various functions such as clearing away useless debris on land.
You don't have a health bar, so you won't get hurt if the animals really don't like what you're doing to them – the reactions created by developers are usually strong enough to prompt players to stop what they're doing, though there are always those players who unfortunately like to torment (e.g. building walls around Sims, etc.). You also can make animal homes and complete unique food collecting actions such as shaking seeds and nuts from the trees.
You can always access status information pertaining to the animals and your relationships with them. Using your map and especially the encyclopedia increases your success. Knowledge of each animal’s diets and other environmental actions, like cleaning pollution (you can also get plants that clean polluted areas), give you some solid advantages. Once your skills really develop, you can even have animals start a family. You can even control animal actions and change behavior patterns (e.g. befriending animals that you usually eat, etc.).
This process isn't all creation, multitasking and maintenance, though. Dangers include animals that eat each other or attack. Movements work pretty well (no strafing, though), except when you have to find attacking animals to protect your own. Other realistic elements like this one make the game more meaningful as well as teach you about life cycles of familiar animals.
The open-ended exploration unlocks areas as you venture further and you can save any time by pausing the game with the 2 button. A solid, free roaming game with plenty of potential for series continuation in different settings and related animals on land, sea or air.
SimAnimals is rated E (Everyone) by the ESRB for comic mischief. This game can also be found on Nintendo DS.