Paws & Claws: Pampered Pets 3D
Publisher: TREVA Entertainment GmbH
Genre: Pet Simulation
Release Date: 09/26/2013
Paws & Claws: Pampered Pets Resort 3D is a pet simulation game where you are the owner of a pet resort that caters to four types of cats and dogs. While these animals are staying at your resort, your job is to feed them, keep them hydrated, wash them, make them happy, and play with them, as well as keeping the different houses clean. Unlike Nintendogs + Cats, in which you are supposed to bond with your pet, this game is more business oriented, with you providing a service and letting the animal go home. The game is obviously aimed toward younger audiences, so it was a bit awkward for me to play, but I did my best to play this through the eyes of a child.
The game is easy enough to play; you utilize the touch screen for just about everything, making things simple. The map is incredibly simple, with you just dragging your stylus across the screen to move. The most complicated part of this game is probably the menu, which might be a bit difficult for younger kids to navigate without aid from an adult at first. It also looks charming enough; the dogs and cats are incredibly cute, regardless of breed, and they move realistically enough, sneezing if you get soap near their face, for example. (I will note that few cats would stand that still during a bath.) The problem with the graphics is that, while the animals are cute, they all look the same. Every German Shepard looks like the last, with no real variation in color, size, age, or anything. It’s one generic dog after another, one generic cat after another, with very little variation. As far as the “3D” advertised in the title goes, there really isn’t any. Just because the game is on a 3DS does not mean it’s a 3D title.
Some of the aspects of the game are a little buggy; for instance, I had trouble on occasion with giving the pets a bath, as you have to wash off all the shampoo (makes sense) but sometimes if you do it just right/wrong, the water can’t actually reach the bubbles, forcing you to exit the cleaning and go back to it, wasting a bottle of shampoo. Other aspects don’t make much sense, like when playing fetch. Your job is to get the ball onto a target on the ground using the touch screen to somehow control how the ball moves, which is difficult to do well consistently. It would have made more sense if, instead of a round target, there were bands, where you would get points based on the distance thrown instead of whether you can hit an arbitrary target that moves around.
My biggest issue with this game is that it’s boring. I don’t mean in the sense that the premise is boring, as I have no problem with the concept of a pet resort simulation game. You’re tasked with specific goals, that once you meet them, give you the ability to buy other items (like better milk and treats) and more houses so you can hold more pets. This is fine, except that some of the goals (e.g. treat two husky dogs, treat two retriever dogs, and clean dog house one) are repetitive across goals, and while the goals will naturally unlock if you treat every animal that stops by (not sure why you wouldn’t), it still takes a long time to get anywhere. It took me over an hour just to unlock the ability to take in cats, for instance, because I had to “treat x amount of this dog and y amount of this other dog” five times before I could unlock cat house one, and I had no control over what dogs showed up for treatments. Of course, after that, I couldn’t actually play with the cats until I met one or two other goals, and only being able to work toward one goal at a time slowed the game down further. I would like a game to go the whole way and have you measure the right amount of hemp oil for dogs after their surgeries, ok maybe that’s a little much but you see what I’m getting at. Maybe I was just unlucky, but it wasn’t a fun experience shampooing dogs that didn’t help me reach my goals, even though it did give me money I could save.
Additionally, because the game is more business oriented, you don’t actually spend that much time with the animals and no time actually customizing the resort, making the experience dry. For pets that show up for the Diet Program, you play fetch or some other game with them, feed them, water them, shampoo them, pet them or feed them treats, and send them home. Rinse and repeat over and over and over and over and… you get the idea. There is no reward for doing well, other than getting more money, and an hour into the game I had more money than I could need. The game isn’t challenging or rewarding in any sense of the terms, unless of course you count the occasional difficulties with controls I mentioned above.
There is virtually no lasting appeal here, which is unfortunate because, well, it’s possible this game could have gone somewhere, anywhere, but the result here is a stagnant experience that I can’t imagine holding a child’s attention for longer than fifteen minutes. The novelty wears off quickly and ends up feeling incredibly stale. Unless your kid has an undying dream of becoming a business owner, and I doubt they do at this age, they likely won’t be playing this game for very long.
Short Attention Span Summary
This game, while it had potential, unfortunately falls incredibly flat, with repetitive goals and activities, little variation in pets, and no possibility for customization of the resort itself. If for some reason your child really likes running a business, this game could be for them, but otherwise, give this title a pass.