– Ed Acosta
Our Score: 3 / 5 – Okay
Nintendogs + cats. Need I say more? The game is pretty straight forward, adopt a puppy then tend to his or her needs. If you’ve played the original Nintendogs you know how it goes. You have three titles of the same game to choose from. Each version has a different set of dogs but all can become unlockable eventually. There are differences though from the start, and the thing that stick out the most are the graphics. The world is in 3D and the graphics are far superior to those in the original title. You can see fluffy fur and not just a flat texture, the eyes are slightly larger and more expressive, and the textures themselves are of higher quality.
The house around you has gone for a graphical overhaul as well. It feels like your actually in a room than an empty space with a window to the outside world. Later on you cam buy furniture and various other items to customize your room for the pups to interact with. The game gives you all the same options of buying toys and accessories for the pups and evil kittens to play with. Balls, Frisbee’s, wind up toys, etc.. the animals intereact differently with them all. You can only have three dogs on screen at once but that doesn’t mean you can’t own more.
Just put them away at the Pet Hotel until you would like to play with a different set. One would think with all the extra power in the machine, why is three the limit? Press the whistle button or speak out your dog’s name and they will run over to you and you can interact individually. Now’s your time to teach Fido some tricks. Paw, shake, rollover, attack… ok that last one isn’t a recognized trick but a man can dream right? I felt as if the voice recognition was a little more precise than before. It seems to do a better job when you say the command a little different. The first Nintendogs was a pain because you had to say it exactly the same every time which made for playing in loud places almost impossible. It’s unfortunate that they again put a restriction on the amount of tricks dogs can learn in a day in an effort to stretch out the playtime of the game. I don’t approve one bit of this method but it does work, at least when you remember to play.
Now it wouldn’t be all that much of a game if you couldnt do some competing with your eager little pups so Nintendo has included the dog competitions once again. This time around they have replaced the agilty course with a Lure event where you reel in a brightly colored lure for your dogs to follow. Imagine an old time greyhound race with the rabbit lure and you get the premise. The pups follow the lure along a path and you have to reel it in at the right speed so your dog doesnt catch it or lose interest in it. The better you two get, the higher the ranks you go with more obsticles in your way like jumps and criss crosses.
Frisbee events are the exact same. Throw the Frisbee out and hopefully your pup runs fast enough and catch it. the further out the pups catches it, the more points you get. It’s fun but your dog does need practice before trying the harder levels. Obedience events are also back but this time around you use the 3DS’s camera for an AR mix to the obedience trials. You set up an AR card on the table and your cute little doggie appears in front of you!
Now you two do your best to impress the Mii made judges with the tricks you have taught him or her. Just like teaching your dog tricks, your only allowed to compete in each event twice a day per dog. So if you want to play longer than a few minutes a day, save up for more dogs and have them all do their maximum number of events in a day.
To find some rare stuff you need to take your dog out for walks where they can find presents and make friends. It’s also how you reach the training areas for frisbee and lure. If you remember, the first game had random maps created so you had to create a path around town and back for your walks. It was neat but annoying when you ran out of the maximum number of steps you could take. It’s much better this time around with no route choosing. You watch from behind as your dog runs up the street seeing Mii’s walking by with other dogs or on the sidewalks just chiling.
The town feels populated with the Miis around and not so lifeless. by the way, yes your dog poops and yes you want to clean it up. You can also use the 3DS’s pedometer to go on a walk as well. Go to the Pedometer option and choose your dog. Shut the 3DS and put it in pocket or bag. When you come back to the game later it will show you how many steps you took and depending on the amount, your puppy gives you a surprise! It’s a nice way to earn extra steps for your street pass and stuff for your Nintendogs game as well.
After your power walks, your puppy can become a mess and trust me, after 8 hours and over 2.5k steps, your dog will be a mess. So go to your supplies menu and whip out the shampoo. It’s bath time for the mut and it works in the exact same manner as the previous games. Although you can use the circle pad to rotate the camera around the dog and get his other side as well. Lather him or her up and then use the shower head to wet’em down. No need for special long or short hair shampoos either, just use regular good old fashioned dog shampoo.
All in all, the game can be a good time. You just have to get over yourself if you think it’s below you because it’s not manly and violent, it can be a pretty deep and fun game if you want it to be. If you want to show off the 3D to family, this is the game to do it. Which is going to excite your mother more? A submarine or a cute puppy? I think we all know the answer.
Retails for: $39.99, recommended purchase price: $24.99