Who would have thought that a vet sim would work? In fact, scratch that: who would have thought that a pair of vet sims would work? For, in spite of a few grievances, Focus’s double bill of Pawly Pets: My Animal Hospital and Pawly Pets: My Animal Hospital In Africa (available for £9.99 apiece) works a treat.
Starting with My Animal Hospital, here you need to set up your own practice and buy in what you need (covering home delicacies, surgery equipment and food and care materials for the animals), before getting down to the business of making sick animals better.
This is handled well. Clients come into your reception desk where you can choose to help them or not. Say yes and you need to diagnose the animal in question. Usefully, you can gleam knowledge from in-game books (of which you can buy many) that help you understand what it is you’re looking for.
As you examine animals, you begin to notice things wrong with them and from there you can work out the illness and diagnose them. Then the game switches to you caring for them and getting the treatment pattern right, being careful to explain everything as you go along. There’s a real start-to-finish process with every sick animal you meet.
While all this is happening there are books to be balanced, goodies to buy for the practice and customers to deal with. It can get quite a job balancing all the resources and work, and the game does also encourage you to build in rest time for your vet (not a junior doctor, clearly). It can still get a bit hectic, though, which is the only blight on an otherwise diligently constructed and surprisingly educational game for a younger target group.
The sequel, Pawly Pets: My Animal Hospital In Africa, switches continents, and this time you’re running your service with a whole different selection of animals to treat. In place of dogs, cats and rabbits are zebras, elephants and big cats, and it adds some nice variety, not least to the graphics. There’s some extra sideline activity for your vet too. We did find this to be a little more fiddly than its predecessor, but ultimately, as an educational game, just as strong.
Graphically clear and with friendly presentation throughout, these two Pawly Pets titles do genuinely make the veterinary world into quite a compelling pair of games. There’s fun to be had building up and decorating your practice, while the work with the animals is engaging and continually nudges the player’s knowledge along. And while it can be a little overawing at times, the end result is something of a treat, with both games offering good reward for the money.
Company: Focus Multimedia