Nintendogs + Cats: Toy Poodle & New Friends

When the DS was first released, Nintendogs was a launch title which showcased well what you could do with the new handheld. In a similar way, Nintendogs + Cats shows what you can do with the 3DS, acting as both as a showcase and a throwback to those who played the original.

Nintendogs + Cats is a pet sim, so you won’t really be doing too much except playing with the puppies and kittens that you’ve adopted. Many, many other pet sims have been released on the DS, but undoubtedly Nintendogs has always been the best. There are three versions of Nintendogs, but they just affect which dogs you can start off with. I chose the Toy Poodle version because of the Pomeranian, but there are Huskies, Labradors, Golden Retrievers… Oh, and there are cats too, of course, if you’re a cat person.

This new game sticks to the formula of the original. Why do you need to deviate from the formula of ‘raise an adorable virtual puppy’? You’ll have a puppy at first, on display on the top screen and when it comes closer, a silhouette appears on the bottom screen that you can interact with. You can just look after it, enter competitions to earn money to buy more puppies, or even a cat who ignores you. Seriously, the ‘cats’ part of Nintendogs + Cats is just a bonus, don’t expect to be able to do anything with your aloof kitty; the dogs take centre stage. A bit of a shame perhaps but when the dogs are so great it doesn’t really matter.

You can stop off at various places when you go for a walk, whether it’s the upmarket boutique, or the cute doggy café. You can also walk around various locations such as the mountains or the seaside. If you start off in one location, you can approach signs leading you to another if you wish, so you can turn a short stroll into a lengthy meander. Your puppy can learn tricks, and there is a handy tutorial feature to tell you exactly how to do it. The speech recognition is a lot better than the original Nintendogs, although you’ll still find it more useful to give your puppy distinctive voice commands for tricks rather than the standard “Sit”, “Lay down” and so on. If you choose to take your puppy for a walk with the 3DS in sleep mode, you can unlock cool items – the longer the walk, the better the item. There are also three competitions you can enter, but you can only enter them twice a day which means that this game isn’t really designed for long sessions.

The puppies look fantastic with great detail in the fur especially. Even without the 3D they look a lot more real. The 3D in the game is great when your puppy is jumping right up at the screen, licking you. It sounds really strange, but at these points, you’ll probably be impressed at the doggy spit flying out of the screen. Well, I was, at least. The dogs are adorable, but unless they’re really up close, or in situations where there’s depth and distance, for example going out for a walk or throwing a frisbee in the park, then the 3D doesn’t really make an impact. In fact, it doesn’t really seem to do too much when the dog is just wandering around the house; it’s very subtle and I ended up turning it off. Until my dog came running up for a cuddle.

By far my favourite feature of Nintendogs + Cats is the use of AR. The Augmented Reality Cards can be used to take pictures of your Nintendogs in real-life situations. Using the character cards gives your dog an appropriate character hat. The best part though is using the AR cards to do the ‘obedience contest’. It’s somehow much more fun to tell your dog to sit when he’s in miniature on your bed or your desk, with gesturing too!

A lot of the main game can be seen in one day, so this game is more one to play in short bursts rather than lengthy questing. There are little items available to dress up your dog, you can take photographs that are saved to the SD card and it’s all so laid back and casual that it’s really soothing to just play with a virtual puppy, especially since it doesn’t really demand too much of your attention. If you want virtual pets with purpose, then really you should be playing Pokémon. This game isn’t pretending to be anything else than a pet sim, and it doesn’t need to be – it has adorable puppies!







2 responses to “Nintendogs + Cats: Toy Poodle & New Friends”

  1. Nadia avatar

    You didn’t choose Mr. Husk!? For shame, Susan, for shame..

    (great review x)

  2. Susan avatar

    I’m hanging my head while I pet the Pomeranian sitting in my not-so-designer handbag.

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