Electronic Theatre Preview: Pet Pals: Animal Doctor

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Electronic Theatre Image            Pet Pals: Animal Doctor will be arriving on UK shores on May 1st, and so Electronic Theatre have taken a close look at yet another of the titles released on Wii that may have been misjudged by many even before release.

            Though undeniably aimed at young girls, Electronic Theatre ImagePet Pals: Animal Doctor isn’t the typical money-spinning software you may be expecting. Taking it’s mark directly from the Trauma Center titles, the game is a complex mix of memory and speed challenges.

Upon beginning the game for the first time, the player is briefly introduced to the rest of the veterinarian group, before being given a waiting room full of patients to deal with. Pointing at each patient and pressing the A Button offers a brief rundown of the pet, and their symptoms, and the player may choose which they wish to tackle in any order – so much for “first come, first served”.

Each patient displays a short Cut-Scene providing further details of the problems the animal is facing, before giving you the task of remedying their ailments. The player is given a series of tools to discover and cure the animals, functioning much like a basic interpretation of the set-up in Trauma Center, but with a much more lenient difficulty curve. Selecting the correct tool for use at the correct point will highlight an issue, and the player needs only to press the A Button on that area to move-on to the next point of the examination. There is a strict time limit players have with each animal, though failure will simply send you back to the waiting room, with the option to start again or choose a different patient.

The challenge takes the form of working under pressure, as with Trauma Center, as well as using the correct tool in the correct manner, at the correct time. Points are earned through accuracy and deducted through the misuse of the veterinary tools. PlayersElectronic Theatre Image can replay previous patients to boost their score, but will most likely require more than one attempt at each pet in the first place. Luckily, hints and a somewhat overbearing nurse are available throughout, minimising the frustration of repeated failure.

Though the graphics aren’t exactly top-spec, the game is incredibly well animated and each character or animal displays distinctive personality traits. The developers have obviously spent some time not just on the animals, but also with each human interaction. The game is full of tidy little touches – the Loading Screen offers not a progress bar and spinning disc, but two iguanas, one running madly in circles and another slowly creeping down the screen.

            Pet Pals: Animal Doctor is an easily misunderstand title. While it may not exude the anime delights of Trauma Center, to say it is without charm would be a great injustice. Whether Pet Pals: Animal Doctor can sustain interesting from a wider demographic remains to be seen, but from what we’ve experienced thus far, there’s little to signify the game won’t perform well in the hands of children.






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