My Animal Centre in Australia DS
Published by: Europress
Developed by: Wizarbox
Release Date: Out Now
My Animal Centre in Australia is a game that allows you to play as a virtual vet down under. You'll get to look after six different types of animal (Platypus, Kangaroo, Wombat, Koala, Dolphin and Seal). The game isn't just a way to pass the time however. In fact it has a fair bit of educational value and should be of interest to younger gamers who want to learn some facts about the six aforementioned animals in an entertaining way. You'll also get to learn a little about Australia in the process too.
The game puts you in the shoes of a young female veterinarian who wants to establish her own animal centre in the Australian Outback. Essentially you'll have to treat and cure the sick animals that are bought to your animal centre. Some animals are simply bought in, treated and taken away but others will have to remain at the animal centre for a set number of days so that you can monitor their progress. You'll have to juggle your time, educate yourself, look after your health, watch the finances and build up the reputation of the animal centre if you're to make a success of it. Of course you'll also have to build the animal enclosures and make sure they are kept clean too. Naturally, you'll also have to find time to give some TLC to the animals you have in your care.
As well as providing a tutorial the game also allows you to play choosing either the Scenario or Free Game mode. The game basics are the same in each case. You'll have to build enclosures for each of the animals if you want to treat them. You'll have to purchase a total of three books for each animal and then read them. Reading all three books earns you a certificate which will increase your reputation. As soon as you're prepared to treat an animal you will have patients bought to you. Using the touch screen you'll get to do an examination and once you're happy with the findings you'll get to make a diagnosis. Successfully treating the animals enhances the animal centre's reputation and in the long run brings in more money. As your finances improve you'll be able to afford extensions to the animal centre, living area and the enclosures.
Judging from the pink packaging and the fact that you can only play as a young lady veterinarian I think it's fairly safe to assume that the developers squarely aimed the title at young girls. Personally I think this is a shame as there is nothing particularly girly about the content of the game. Still most reckon that games are primarily aimed at boys and young men so it's an interesting about-turn. It's a shame you aren't able to play as a male veterinarian though because there's nothing inherently feminine about the game or being a veterinarian for that matter.
The game's presentation is rather interesting. When moving around the building which has your living quarters, office space and surgery, the game looks similar to The Sims. From this perspective, things look rather poor, particularly the blocky looking 2D character model of the vet. In other respects the game looks quite good. The various enclosures look good and so do the animal models, particularly when viewed from close up such as when you're examining them. The game pretty much plays out on the touch screen with the top screen being reserved for displaying information. Deaf gamers won't have any problems with the game. All dialogue is text only and all of the information in the game, including all tutorial information, is displayed visually. The game manual has been well written and does a good job of explaining what needs to be done in the game and what each icon (and there are plenty of them) means.
My Animal Centre in Australia does a good job of offering both a good game-play experience and educational value. All of the books you'll read in the game contain facts and they make for interesting reading. The game itself does a good job of rewarding the time you invest in it. The game does become a little repetitive after a while and it's fair to say that it's a game that's targeted at younger gamers who are interested in caring for animals. If I had to pick out a few disappointments it would be that the developers ought to have included a male veterinarian character model and that more animals would certainly have added longevity to the experience. They could have even gone the whole hog and allowed you to move locations and setup other animal centres in the Australian Outback. For less than £20 it's a solid package and one that will educate as well as entertain.