Kemonomix+ Platform: Nintendo 3DS (eShop) Developer/Publisher: Rocket Studios, Inc. Price: $4.99 Welcome to the weird, ridiculous, enthralling world of Kemono! Virtual life simulators came onto the market with a force and truthfully never really left, with efforts like Tomodachi Life and Animal Crossing always being around there somewhere. So to see this title not only embracing but also reinventing the genre is very exciting, and there are many directions you could go with this. In spite of it being a very safe game, there is still a very strong, original voice going on behind it all, and for an exported 3DSWare budget title, there is a tremendous amount being included here that is sure to keep you busy through the creative sim's duration. We're talking about the charming Kemonomix+, everybody! A pair of kemonos is known as “two kemonos”. Originally stemming from the DSiWare title, Kemonomix, that never saw a North American release, Kemonomix+ is naturally the new expansion to the sleeper hit that finds you stranded on a strange planet, your ship damaged from its crash landing, in a setup that’s eerily similar to Pikmin. The game staffs you with finding the parts of your ship in the allotted time of 2000 days in order to escape from this world and return to Earth, while in the process also dealing with and training the kemonos (cute beasts) that you encounter. The game sees you creating, mixing, and fusing kemonos into new creatures that will aid you on your hunt. Accordingly, there’s a full system behind all of this, like where different tasks take different amount of days, pushing you further to your endpoint. There’s a definite degree of strategy to it all too with what you focus your time on. I suppose you could call it “Pokemin”… While similar in story, the execution of Kemonomix+ is completely different than Pikmin , with this being much more of a virtual life simulator, even more akin to Pokemon, not capitalizing on the survival aspect, but rather the varied stats of your many kemonos as you raise them, take them on walks, battle them, and even have them eat other kemonos. In fact, there are some really unique, quirky touches to the game, like when a kemono eats another kemono, the game goes as far as the screen cutting to black and vicious chomping is heard. When we come back, the kemono that has eaten the other kemono is now sporting some of his characteristics (like bunny ears, or a snake tail, for instance). It's a much more interesting, incestuous way of showing these creatures evolve than say, what’s happening in Pokemon. Stats on stats on stats, man! The title is also very text-based, as you communicate with your many kemonos, tracking everything, and it’s impressive that it got localized in the first place even, but it’s encouraging to see more of these quirky, niche titles coming over to the West and being able to be experienced. This kemono is a horse of a different color…and beak, and tail, and ears… Kemonomix+ prides itself in cute character designs that all have a unifying style, to them, as well as fun manic gestures and actions. They’re all very cutesy and cartoony, but it works for it. Some kemono have pretty basic, simple designs, but also some weirder, more ridiculous looking models too are available. It’s great to see how robust the different kemono models are as you mix them, changing their appearance, strength, and skills in the process. The graphics are by no means amazing, but they work, the 3D is used sparingly but it’s there, and there are many pleasing visual aesthetics that make this game’s look pop. The music and audio is also across the board equally entertaining, often feeling vibrant and frenetic, you’ll find yourself humming these tunes for a while. With a very simple premise and streamlined gameplay, this is a game that gives you a lot from a little, and there’s extreme replayability here, as your kemonos are always growing, and there’s ever-more to acquire and create. If that wasn’t enough there’s also additional challenges to achieve centered around kemono training. You’ll absolutely be playing through this more than once. And for the extremely low price tag, this game is a steal if you know how to get the most out of it and delve into it fully. It’s extremely addictive if you’re on board with it and exactly the sort of game where you plan to play for a few minutes and hours will have gone by. The first rule of kemono fight club is to not talk about kemono fight club. Pros: +Creative character designs and mixes +Vibrant graphics with decent 3D capabilities +Very addictive with countless replayability +Refined, creative voice and style with an enjoyable soundtrack +Price tag Cons: -Difficulty is not that steep -A rather simple virtual life simulation and very text-based -Might be too cutesy for some Kemonomix+ warrants a score of ”BUY IT” due to its wonderful, unique kemono models and variations, the infectious music coursing through it that accompanies crisp graphics, and the addictive, unruly hours you’ll sink into this, all with a low price tag that won’t break the bank. At the same time, simple simulation mechanics, a lax difficulty, and a text-heavy atmosphere that doesn’t exactly mesh with the overly cutesy feel of the game hold it back from perfection. Disclosure: A retail copy was used to evaluate this game.