The Sims series started on the PC as a popular and difficult-to-describe strategy game that let you control the lives of little computer people in the houses you built for them, as they loved, grew old, had families, and occasionally used the potty. Seven years, several different game platforms, and numerous editions later, the series has become known for offering zany humor, colorful graphics, a gibberish language that its "sim" characters speak (known as "simlish"), and cheerful music. However, the console versions of the Sims games never quite stacked up to the PC version, mainly because the console games tended to focus on collection-based minigames and unlocking hidden items. Also, they never seemed to capture the autonomous, unpredictable artificial intelligence that powered those happy little sims in the PC versions. However, The Sims 2: Pets for the PlayStation Portable is a full-featured port of the console versions of the same game with most of the content intact, including better AI for its sim characters. Unfortunately, it's difficult to enjoy because the game constantly stops dead in its tracks with load times.
The PSP version of the game offers several breeds of pets and customization options. You just have to sit through the load times to see each one.
The PSP version of Pets offers two primary types of pets: cats and dogs. This version offers dozens of different breeds of cats and dogs, as well as customization options to choose size, age, different ear types, and fur color patterns. And you can be one of those awful, awful people who dress up their pets with an entire wardrobe, including hats, sunglasses, neckerchiefs, and shirts. That's in addition to your pet's personality, such as whether your pet is friendly or aloof, neat or messy, or quick to learn new tricks or a bit slower on the draw.
That's because pets essentially function like limited people in the game. You can't take direct control of dogs or cats, but you can teach them new skills (pet tricks) by spending virtual hours (which equates to several minutes of real time) of your day until they learn how to sit, shake hands, and roll over, similar to how you can improve your sims' marketability by spending virtual hours repeatedly training at skills like charisma, repair, and cleaning. You can use interactions with them to fulfill your sims' social needs (so yes, you can play as a "crazy cat lady" who associates only with her housecats), just like you can with live-in family members. The PSP version of the game, like the other console versions, doesn't let you send your pets to work to earn money--instead, it offers a single downtown area focused entirely on pets and lets you earn "pet points" to spend on chew toys, doggie treats, and other animal accessories. Spending pet points also unlocks the game's many hidden items and social interactions.
Dogs and cats can also interact with each other and, based on the personality you've given them, they may get into fights with the neighbors' pets, or they may get friendly with them. In the meantime, if you happen to care about your house's property value, your dogs and cats are always works in progress, since you must constantly catch even the best-behaved pets in the act of destroying furniture, digging up the yard, or relieving themselves in the house so that you can scold them--which teaches them not to do such things. Patterning your pets' behavior is surprisingly time-consuming and not always convenient--if you want to have a well-behaved pet, you have to always keep an eye on it and constantly drop what you're doing to dash over and scold or praise it--and once you get there, actually giving your pet that feedback takes a little while. It also seems to take quite some time before constant scolding or praising even sinks in with the brightest pets...and if you decide to have any of your sims take a job, that just means less time for your sims to spend together teaching your pets.