Nintendogs Review - 26/04/2007

From the moment you hear a dog bark when you turn on your DS you know your in for a treat, the old Nintendo magic rears it’s head and for the first time since those pesky Pokemon invaded our screens Nintendo has a ‘bone’-fide hit on their hands.

I must stress from the start of this review that a Nintendog is for life and not just for Christmas, as you progress through the game you will grow to love the puppies as if they were real and through their actions you might just believe they are.

On starting the game for the first time you have to pick one of several breeds and name your puppy. Once your home your puppy needs to learn their name, using the mic situated on the front of the DS you call your puppy a couple of times and then your ready to learn new tricks, the voice recognition is quite good although if you scream into the mic it doesn’t seem to register that well, which later on can cause problems, I’m sure if you shouted at a puppy in real life it would probably ignore you too.

After teaching your dog some new tricks you can then either take your first walk together or enter a competition.

There are three competitions- Frisbee throwing, Agility and Obedience. In the Obedience comps you and your puppy must work together and perform for the judges, upon completion of the time limit if you have done well you move up a class, I found his one to be the toughest of the competitions so have only gone up two levels. Frisbee throwing would have to be my favourite closely followed by the agility as in the obedience competitions you move through stages until you reach the Championship.

When you first walk your puppy they cannot walk very far, but as time goes you can venture further. On your walks Nintendo’s Pokemon heritage slips through and the game becomes a collect ‘em up. There are question mark icons situated on the map of your town and the idea is to walk over these, sometimes they produce a present, but most of the time reveal other dogs for your puppy to play/fight with.

I’m not sure how many items there are in the game, but already I have found a Mario cap, a Princess Peach Kart (which you can race around your puppies with) and several pairs of comedy sunglasses.

Of course after a long walk or a tiring competition a dog will need to be fed, watered and cleaned, all the things you need can be found from your local pet store, but as I found out it’s better to stop off at the discount stores when your walking your puppy.

The main reason the game caught my eye in the first place was the use of the touch screen, the interaction involved in the game is immense and you use the stylus in a variety of different ways. These include throwing the Frisbee and guiding your puppy through the obstacle course in competitions, washing and scrubbing your puppy at bath time and holding onto their lead during your long walks.

The game for me is a showcase for the excellent and innovative uses of Nintendo’s DS, it also brings in gamers who wouldn’t normally play. I bought my fiancÚ a DS with Nintendogs and she can’t get enough of it, I can’t get her near games normally as they just don’t interest her, but the immense playability of this title has made her a ‘dogoholic’

To finish I would recommend this game to anyone, it has last ability, great innovation and the graphics and sound are also top notch, but above all else the game is fun and that is what it’s all about.