The Sims 4 Cats & Dogs Review – My First Impressions!

DISCLOSURE: I was sent an early access review copy of The Sims 4 Cats & Dogs; However all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Back in August the pack we Simmers had all been desperately waiting for was finally announced; The Sims 4 Cats & Dogs! Even before TS4 officially released there was speculation about Pets, and that speculation only grew over the last 3 years. When Get To Work released there were “hints” to pets in the object descriptions, with Parenthood the same “hints” were given, AND in the holiday pack update last year AND there were “hints” to pets through clothes in other packs, but here we are – three years later and Cats and Dogs have finally arrived!

Pets has always been one of the most anticipated packs of every iteration so it was no shock that Cats & Dogs became the most anticipated pack for The Sims 4 with 2.1 Million views on its announce trailer in just *two months*!

Before we even get into this review I can tell you the pack lives up to the excitement and hype. In fact it surpassed my expectations and they were set pretty high! The pets are adorable, unique and leave you saying “awwww” at every moment. Create a Pet is addictive and extremely versatile, the new painting tools, click and drag abilities and multitudes of breeds had me in CAP for at least 2 or 3 hours and, when paired with the latest update, Build/Buy mode will also have you trapped for hours on end. There’s so many new doors, windows, wall paints, floor paints, buy items and more that are extremely different to anything we’ve had in The Sims 4 before.

Brindleton Bay

Brindleton Bay is the new world coming in The Sims 4 Cats and Dogs. From the looks of it it’s inspired by a few places – I could see a bit of San Francisco mixed with New England just from my first time exploring the world. It’s a quaint coastal town filled with pet loving families. The world comes with 4 new neighbourhoods; Whiskerman’s Wharf, Sable Square, Cavalier Cove and the mysterious island of Deadgrass Isle. Each neighbourhood has its own charm and is different from the next. They’re also all super different to anything we’ve seen in The Sims 4 before.

The world has 16 lots all together, 5 community lots and 11 residential. You can obviously customise these as you wish. Something I loved about this world when playing is that it was truly made to suit pets – there’s so much stuff for them to climb on such as fences, benches, crates, scaffolding and more. There are flocks of birds that can be chased away, patches of dirt and sand for dogs and cats to dig at, piles of fish for pets to eat and roll around in and even new market stalls *similar to City Living* that sell pet treats and new seaside themed foods/drinks.

There are a few new collectables; feathers (gained through chasing birds) and present boxes (from digging) are found around the world as well as a few other plants,

Collectables aren’t the only thing to find around Brindleton Bay, there are a few hidden spots around the world for you to find on a long dog walk. One of these special areas is the pets graveyard – hang around after sundown and you might catch a ghost pet relaxing on the tomb stones. Also on Deadgrass Isle is the new Lighthouse ‘lot’, It’s not actually a lot you can go inside; however you can interact with it and travel to the top. Propose to your Sims partner, Get eloped or even have a cheeky Woohoo – If you wait until night time there’s even a special “light show”.

Create A Pet

Create a Pet is just one of the many amazing parts of this Expansion Pack, there’s so much customisation to it! One of the awesome features in Create a Pet is the all new ‘paint mode’. Its similar to the paint tool from TS3 Pets; however it’s been revamped and it’s a LOT more user friendly.

It introduces a colour wheel to TS4, but it is only available to Pets – the colour wheel allows any colour with any opacity. From here you can select a brush and free hand a pattern on your pet or use the new stamp tools and stencils to create a funky pattern. There are a few ‘normal’ stencils like stripes and patches or you can paint stitches and special robot-like lines – it’s SO easy to make your pets with this simplified paint tool!

Need to paint your pets belly? Click to change the position of your pet to reach those hidden patches.

Another great feature of Create a Pet is that it borrows the same functionality of Create a Sim. The click and drag feature has been implemented to pets, again this makes making your own pet so much easier. A specific breed of pet not available in CAP? Click and drag any point on your pet; its ears, eyes, nose, head shape, tail or body and adjust it to your liking.

You can even select different ears, noses, nose colours, eye colours *including Heterochromia*, fur length, tails and more to make your real life pets. If there’s one thing for certain about Create a Pet – it’s that it’s all about being versatile and allowing you to make not just your own pets but the pets of your wildest imaginations.

As well as being able to paint and customise your pets looks, you can also customise their personalities through several different traits and voices. Traits for pets really impact how your pets act in Cats and Dogs, for example – lazy pets are more likely to sleep and lounge around the house, hunter pets are more likely to chase birds and collect feathers, fluffy pets are more likely to leave fur around the house. There are even a few hidden traits such as ‘be obsessed with, or terrified by, the TV’.

Cats and Dogs also allows Simmers to make Foxes and Raccoons, you can even add them to your households! They come with their own voices and, much like the other pets, a recommended trait that you can remove. This is the first time we can have these animals live with and play in our households and I must say they’re super cute!

Another new feature to The Sims *PC games* is pet clothing, for the first time we can give our cats and dogs hats, dresses, bow ties and costumes. There’s a huge variety of clothing items for your pets and they’re all super cute.

Create A Sim

No Sims Expansion Pack would be complete without the usual Create a Sim Items and Cats and Dogs is no exception to that. The pack comes with a tonne of new Create a Sim Items *I believe around 100* for all ages, some is spread a little thin (kids and toddlers); however I do appreciate that this time the men were given, what seems to be, a bit more than female Sims this time around. I’ll be covering the entirety of CAS this weekend with final numbers on clothes and hairs – but overall the items were adorable, seasonal and I loved them. 9/10 on CAS for me!

Build/Buy Mode

Just like with Create a Sim, no Sims Pack is complete without new Build/Buy objects – Cats and Dogs brings a huge amount of both new build objects AND buy objects! There’s a dozen new windows and doors, a bunch of new floor and wall paints, new bushes, trees, fences and gates, a new foundation and loads of new furniture for our Sims *300+ new items*.

One thing that I really liked about these new items is that they give a super cosy/warm vibe – almost like a ‘grandmas house’ type of feeling. When paired with pets and the seasonal clothing and aesthetic of the world – you just feel so warm and happy inside – the team did a great job designing these objects to match that vibe.

When you pair these new items with the recent roofing update you’re able to make the most amazing houses. Farm-like roofs matched with this style of furniture is the way to go in Brindleton Bay!

Pets In Live Mode

The first thing you’ll notice about Cats and Dogs in TS4 is that in a way they’re ‘smoother’ than sims, they act more natural and true to life. It’s something that really makes you love them and obsess over every little thing they do – much like in real life.

They’re also super cute in EVERYTHING they do, and when paired with their hidden emotions; you’ll sometimes see them be happy, sad, scared etc. much like Sims – a reason they fit in with the game so well.

There’s a lot of new interactions and toys for Cats and Dogs that make them so unique, while Dogs may seem to be having all the fun with pools, baths, walks, chasing birds and such. Cats are given a lot to play with too, they can also use the new training items, play with the laser toy, the feather duster and scratching posts/surface climbing. Pets can also be influenced to do so much – attack other sims, try for a baby with another pet, they age from puppy to elder – have a whole ghost life state and interact with a LOT of the world around them. All ages can play with pets and that’s why they fit the game so well!

Vet Career

The veterinarian career was actually one of the last things I checked out for Cats and Dogs, but I can honestly say it’s been done really well. It’s a perfect mix of Active Careers from Get to Work with the owning a restaurant/business side of things – there’s an aspect of freedom in the career, no structured gameplay like we were all worried about. When you combine this with building and running the vets yourself it’s just amazing – you can hire sims to work there and design their uniforms – they’ll do the work for you. Or, if you’re feeling productive, do it all by yourself – the choice is yours!

You’ll need to have certain objects for the career to be functional but other than that you are really free to do whatever and that’s what makes the career so perfect in my opinion. You have a vet skill that levels up as you treat pets – discover their illnesses through tests; both by hand and on machines. Then treat the disease through medication or an operation. At no point are you forced to do this – its all free will, a great decision by the Sims team! Maybe it’s Swamp Mouth, or fleas, or Lava Nose. There’s honestly so much to the career that you can unlock as you level up in the skill – you’ll also find it much easier to diagnose and treat pets as you level up.

Overall Thoughts/Review

So. What do I really think about The Sims 4 Cats & Dogs? Honestly, it’s amazing – it’s everything I was expecting AND more. It delivers on so many levels – the cats and dogs are unique – they’re all different, funny and cute. They suit the style of TS4 extremely well. CAP is amazing too, it’s super versatile and allows you to make realistic pets or creepy alien/rainbow pets. Build/Buy was packed with cute new furniture and items for pets to play with. There’s new training items for pets. There’s a whole vet career/business that is a great mix of GTW careers and Dine Out’s restaurant running system and Live mode as a whole was just a joy to experience.

My only ‘problem’ with the pack, and it’s not even a problem – more of a wish, is that I really wanted smaller pets *birds, fish, snakes, bunnies etc.*; however they did deliver the best (and an extremely well packed) expansion pack of TS4’s cycle so far. Everything was done really well and I haven’t come across anything I don’t like yet.

So for that reason I’m giving The Sims 4 Cats & Dogs a …… 9.5/10. A truly amazing pack, crafted spectacularly!

Once again I’d like to thank the Sims team and SimGuruDrake for my early access code to review the pack, it was honestly amazing and I’m so proud of the team for making such a great Pets pack. I’m also super grateful for this opportunity!

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Simmers at Sims Camp 2017!

Sims Camp has officially begun, Simmers from all over the world have been flown out to EA in San Francisco to get their hands on The Sims 4: Cats & Dogs, The Sims Mobile AND The Sims 4 on Console! There is an embargo on what Information can be shared and when it can be shared, The embargo on Console information lifts September 12th; however information regarding DLC cannot be shared until September 27th. Some information regarding ‘free time’ in The Sims Mobile can be shared October 18th, information regarding ‘families’ in the game can be shared November 1st.

Regarding Cats & Dogs there are multiple different embargo dates; Screenshots can be shared September 21st, Overviews of Create a Pet can be shared October 10th, preview videos can be shared November 3rd and the final videos can be shared November 10th.

SimsCommunity, another fansite, has put together a list of attendees of Sims Camp on Twitter which consists of…

ArsenGrlGames – Simmer from Youtube

Hatsy – Simmer from Youtube

RoryPlays – Simmer and Twitch streamer

XMiraMira – Simmer from Youtube

Make2 – Simmer from Youtube

SpringSims – Simmer from Youtube and Twitch Streamer

JessaMica – Simmer and Vlogger from Youtube

SimsOnline – Sims Fansite

KarolDecka aka DOTSim – Sims Fansite

The Girl Who Games – Sims Freeplay Fansite and Youtuber

Pixia – Simmer from Youtube

KrystinMyrie – Sims Youtuber and Twitch Streamer

The English Simmer – Simmer from Youtube

XuReila – Simmer from Youtube

Deligracy – Sims Youtuber and Twitch Streamer

EightBitDylan – Simmer and Twitch Streamer

Vixella – Simmer from Youtube

Iron Seagull – Simmer from Youtube

XUrbanSimsX – Simmer from Youtube

LilSimsie – Simmer from Youtube and new Twitch Streamer

DutchSims4Master – Simmer and Builder from Youtube

Andrew Arcade – Sims Youtuber and Twitch Streamer

Steph0Sims – Simmer from Youtube

Kaleidow – Simmer from Youtube

Fezet – Sims Fansite

AviatorGaming – Simmer from Youtube

TouchGameplay – Sims Streamer

AGeekyChick – Simmer from Youtube

James Turner // The SimSupply – Simmer and Builder from Youtube

MoonLiteWolf – Sims Youtuber and Twitch Streamer

Rao – Simmer from Youtube

SimTimes – Sims Fansite

Stay Tuned for any updates this week and in the coming weeks as embargoes are lifted!

Community Stuff Pack Name Vote + New Screen!

As work on the community stuff pack continues a new poll has been published on the official community blog – this time we’re voting on the pack name. The four options given are The Sims 4 Laundry Stuff, Laundry Day Stuff, Rustic Lifestyle stuff and Rustic Home Stuff. The vote ends on Friday so be sure to get your votes in quickly. As well as a poll the post shares some new information on the pack and a new screen.

Check it out in the snippet below and click Here to read the post in full!

Welcome Simmers! Development on our community Stuff Pack is well under way, and it’s high time we gave it an official name. If you’re just now discovering this project, this is the fifth vote that’s taken place to guide the development of this pack, and I invite you to learn more about the previous vote outcomes. We just recently entered full production, which means we’re hard at work creating a number of features to add laundry to the game… more on that in a bit.

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Today you’ll be voting on four thoroughly vetted names. These names have gone through the same careful selection process that we follow on each pack. It starts with producers and members of our marketing team tossing out ideas to build an initial list. From there, we narrow down to a few of our favorites. After clearing this short list with internal business groups, we reach out to EA teams in the various worldwide territories where The Sims is sold. They help provide a final check, to ensure that translations still retain the intent of the title, and don’t cause any unexpected cultural or language issues.

We’ve taken the steps I just described and have selected four potential names for this Stuff Pack. All of our territories are on board. Now we just need to hear from you:

Read More…

Controlling Your Cats & Dogs – Community Blog

A new post has been shared on the community blog regarding the Cats & Dogs EP, It’s dated September 1st so may have been posted early… Via The Sims Community Blog

Hi Simmers! We were thrilled to finally announce The Sims 4 Cats & Dogs*. It’s a huge relief to finally get it out in the open. One of the first questions the community asked after our big reveal: Can I control my cats and dogs?

This is appropriate, because it was one of the first questions we asked ourselves long before we started working on the game itself. It’s one of the most important design questions for the entire pack, so we want to dive a little deeper into what it means. Early on our team was almost evenly split and gearing for a creative fight. Folks (me included!) had (and have) VERY strong opinions on this topic. We knew it was incredibly important. In The Sims 2, you couldn’t directly control pets. In The Sims 3, you could. We went back and played the old games, read the forums, and conducted survey research on this topic specifically to fully consider every angle.

We went back and forth, and finally our creative director made a very important point. The question isn’t control or not control? It’s what can we do with either solution, and why is one solution superior? What do we gain? What do we lose?

Before we continue this, let’s take a step back and examine other aspects. I’m a dog owner and have been almost my entire life. My corgi, Peaches, is often the focus for my weekends. My wife and I take her to the beach, throw her in the car to shop, and we read in the backyard so she can enjoy the sun. We dote on her.

I’m not alone in being obsessed with my dog or cat on the team. When discussing this pack, we tried to really dive deep into the essence of our pets and why we love them. Why they make us laugh. Why they make us angry. Why we photograph them constantly. We found out that we were all drawn to what made our pets special. How they sleep on their backs. How they always bark at a certain person. How they listen for the crinkle of a plastic bag as they know it’s a walk.

We knew our cats and dogs in The Sims 4 Cats & Dogs needed to be responsive, observant, and obsessed with the Sims. Their owners. Their companions. We also knew we wanted them to be surprising, to act in unexpected and delightful ways, and to be living creatures. We were guided by the idea that cats and dogs would be like Sims for your Sims.

This brings us back to control. There are many factors at play here, some technical, some design, but in a nutshell, if players could see and control every aspect of their cat or dog, it made it difficult for us to make them do surprising, fun, and unexpected things. When we compared all the options, we knew that our game would be the most fun if we didn’t let players select cats and dogs, but instead gave you other ways to interact with them. When we made this decision, it fundamentally opened up things we could do with cats and dogs that we can’t do with Sims even!

This doesn’t mean they’re wild and without control. Far from it. I’m going to give some examples, but before that, let me ask: How do you control your dog or cat in real life? How do you get them by your side when you want to pet them, or get them to sit when they’re misbehaving? The answer in your mind, it’s how it works in the game too. When your Pets need your attention to solve their needs, they’ll animate, act in certain behaviors, communicate with your Sims, and yes, the UI will tell you what they need. You can even ask them!

When they act badly, you can train them to stop. When you want them by your side, you can call them immediately over to you. But, like all good dogs and cats, there is a good chance they’ll be at your feet, walking along side you, or snoring on the couch next to your Sims already. If you want your dog to breed with another dog, you can instruct them to do so. When you need your cat to sleep in a certain bed, you can call them to do so.

In a nutshell, you won’t be frustrated by a lack of control. We’ve taken great pains to design, implement, and test an assortment of solutions and content to make sure that isn’t the case. But, we’ve also filled the game with unique behaviors and attributes for your cats and dogs so that you’ll be observing and telling stories for years.

We think The Sims 4 Cats & Dogs is the best pets expansion we’ve ever made, and a big reason for that is the freedom we were granted by removing control. Some of you may not agree, but don’t worry, The Sims 4 Cats & Dogs will be out soon and we’ll be talking more about it in the coming months. Soon you’ll agree that this is the most pawesome decision!

Until next time.