Players: 1 Player Game | Release Date: 08/22/05 | Genre: Simulation
From the creative mind of the ever-popular Miyamoto, Nintendo offers a truly unique handheld experience with Nintendogs. In this simulation, players can control one of several dog breeds. You will be responsible for feeding them, watering them, bathing them, training them, etc. While it is definitely not for everyone, it is easy to see why this title alone was responsible for the Nintendo DS sales taking off in Japan.
Nintendo, like no other developer, really knows how to utilize the dual screen functions of the Nintendo DS. They continue to prove this in every aspect of this title. As the game opens up, players must knock on the touch screen, go in and look at dogs, and finally choose one after brief interaction. Depending on which version of Nintendogs you purchased, there will be six different breeds on each of the three versions. However, it is possible to fully unlock all 18 breeds on a single cartridge. After choosing your dog, naming it, and taking it home, the real fun begins.
Players will use the voice recognition software that is built into the Nintendo DS to name the dog with your voice. After some brief training, your new dog will know its name when you call it! This adds great realism to the title. This brief tutorial also equips you with the knowledge of how to teach your dog tricks and how to name them. Once this ends, you have full reign on what you want to do with your dog. You can take him for walks, feed or water him, bathe him, play with him, love on him, enter him in competitions, etc. To try and mimic real life, Nintendo will only allow you to do so many events with your new pet each day. This will ensure you don't get bored with the game in a single sitting.
Because each dog can be very different, the amount of time it takes to get through the initial training session can vary. Also the time involved in teaching your new pup tricks can also take a random amount of time. Players use the stylus to interact with the dog, pet them, throw them toys, and to train them.
There is also a wireless version included that allows users to link up to other Nintendo DS owners. When in range, you will be notified by a bark. This will allow your dog and their dog to play together. You can even give a present to the other dog. There isn't much else this mode offers. You still interact and play with your dog in the same way that you would alone. The only difference is that there is another owner doing the same thing with their dog. If this was a Sony product we might see something like "dog fights" where the losing dog dies and their head is placed on the trophy wall of the winner. Alas, we can only hope the dogs will kill each other over the Frisbee you throw.
This game is definitely not for everyone. In fact, calling Nintendogs a game isn't quite fair. This is a simulation that can give you a daily interaction with a virtual pet. It isn't quite as good as a real dog--but it is a very close second. Just like a real puppy, Nintendogs will steal your heart and won't ever let it go. Now can we get a cat version?