The Doctor Is In
Check out all of our past reviews.
At one time or another, every girl I know (and many of the boys) have wanted to be a veterinarian, and now they can. Pet Vet 3D Animal Hospital by Viva Media is an intriguing new game that is a surprisingly comprehensive simulation of the veterinary profession.
My daughter and I have played several pet and vet simulations together and they are invariably filled with cute little animals and no substance, so I was pleasantly surprised to find that the ratio of cute to actual substance in this game was considerably higher.
Cute animals are a given in any pet and vet game and this one is no exception and in fact is somewhat necessary to attract the attention of young would be vets. You start as a perky female vet just starting out with her own clinic. Clients bring in their pets and you must use available instruments to diagnose the problem.
But this is not a cut and dry diagnosis, each instrument used to examine the animal has a chance to yield no information, some useful information or even information that may support more than one diagnosis. Once a diagnosis is made, information about the condition is displayed.
Saving up money allows you to purchase better instruments which lead to better diagnoses thus increasing your reputation. You can also purchase books and find time to read them. Reading them increases your education score but they also actually impart general knowledge about the animals as well as information that can be used in game to increase the efficiency of your diagnosis.
Some diagnoses require outpatient treatment and result in immediate payment but some require the animal to remain at the clinic for a day or more where they must be cared for including being fed, cleaned, played with and shown affection.
Fees are used to buy instruments, books, food and pet toys as well as improving the clinic. Another interesting aspect of the game is that it incorporates time management and requires time for your Vet to sleep and eat in order to maintain adequate levels of energy and fitness. Improving the clinic allows you to see clients with different kinds of animals including rabbits, cats, dogs, horses and pigs. As you progress, additional activities are unlocked such as teaching dogs tricks and horseback riding.
The user interface is fairly easy to pick up though the text portions will require help for younger players. From a pure game play point of view, Pet Vet 3D Animal Hospital is quite satisfying for a wide age range.
The true value of this software, however, lies in its excellent educational potential. I'm a strong proponent of children's software in general but I believe that parents and educators must have more than a passive role of reviewing software for appropriateness, but an active role where they participate in the game playing process. If this is done properly, it provides a multitude of opportunities for interaction and learning. This game is a sterling example of the type of software that fits this approach.
While my daughter was enthralled with the mechanics of caring for cute and cuddly animals we explored a variety of wide ranging topics such as analysis and hypothesis, the importance of continued education, time management and personal health and economics. Of course all of that sounds very grand but it actually boils down to something much simpler like a chance to sit next to your kid and answer innocent questions. Mommy, why should I use the magnifying glass (general) first and the microscope (specific) second? All of a sudden you are discussing basic principals of analysis.
Overall, as a game reviewer, I recommend this game as satisfying and a good value. As a parent, I highly recommend this game as an educational tool and an excellent learning opportunity for you and you kids.