Gaming | Review

First impressions: 'The Sims 3: Pets' and 'Disney Universe'

The pile of video games sent to me for review is growing, so I’m trying to tackle them in as timely a manner as possible.

So here are the first couple, and I hope to have more soon.

“The Sims 3: Pets” (EA Games) — This was my first attempt to play “The Sims” on a console. I’ve played all three versions of the game, plus “Sims: Medieval,” for years on my PC, though I hadn’t gotten around to picking up the new “Pets.” So I decided to go ahead and give it a try when they sent it to me for PS3.

Switching to the console definitely takes some getting used to, and I still haven’t figured out how to visit the store to buy my sims some new furniture (and a litter box) despite following the directions in the book and in-game instructions.

That aside, if you like “The Sims,” you’ll definitely like this. Pets were one thing I definitely missed from my “Sims 2″ days, so I’m glad to see them now.

And once you figure out how to navigate with the controller instead of the keyboard, it’s not bad. It’s a bit slower, but it’s still doable. I do prefer the PC.

The best part is that the character creator seems just as robust as the PC version. That’s probably my favorite part of playing “The Sims.” I spent an hour just creating my family: two people and a cat that looks a lot like my own Daphne.

After that, it was the usual building of relationships, meeting the neighbors, finding a job — all that good stuff that makes “The Sims” such a time-suck.

On the console versions, your pet can be a regular Scooby-Doo, solving mysteries and detecting ghosts. I haven’t gotten that far yet. The PC version includes a unicorn.

Create and play with pets in the latest "Sims 3." (EA Games)

“Disney Universe” (Disney) — At first glance, “Disney Universe” seems like a low-rent “Kingdom Hearts.” You’re saving various video game Disney worlds from some sort evil artificial intelligence with minions that seem a lot like the Heartless.

But instead of being a single character playing with various Disney characters, you dress your character up in a Disney costume and go adventuring. You can play with/against others at home or online.

As you progress, you unlock new weapons, costumes (including my favorite, Stitch, which I haven’t reached yet) and worlds. You can also go to the online store and purchase new world levels with real money.

There are lots of puzzles to solve and lots of baddies to fight. The mayhem level on this game is much higher than “Kingdom Hearts.” And that’s fine. It’s aimed at a younger crowd and not as developed story-wise. Button-mashing only gets you so far, so you do need some brains.

If you’re looking for some silly Disney fun, “Disney Universe” is the way to go.

Play as Nemo, Aladdin and dozens of other characters in "Disney Universe." (Disney)

Eric Henrickson is a Detroit News copy editor who has also been writing about comic books, video games and anime for The News for more than 10 years. His favorite bit of geek cred so far: appearing in an online "Star Trek" fan series.