Nintendo has often been looked at as being childish. They aren’t really defending those accusations by releasing Nintendogs. Does this mean only the little ones can enjoy this game? Absolutely not, but the fun will last longer if your actual or mental age is below 10.
Women who read this will probably think I’ve forgotten them. But of course this statement also counts for female players. They are just more sensitive when it comes to cute little puppies. Real men want to play with guns in stead of dogs. The only thing a hetero sexual man can learn from a dog is one particular position. To prevent this review from being banned for younger readers however, I’ll stop my wining here. I am of course not as tough as I claim to be. After seeing all those cute puppies in the kennel, I couldn’t help but buying one too. My four footer of choice was the Pug. You can recognize those dogs by their small size and enormous ugly, though adorable face. I called him: Huubie.
When Huubie finally learned his own name, it was time to teach him some tricks. The first and easiest command would be the sit command. By gently tapping on the forehead of your dog and sliding your stylus down, he’ll sit down and a light bulb will appear on the screen. Touch this light and say the name of the command. You can choose this yourself, so you can actually call it: sit down, you worthless peace of … Although I’m not recommending you calling it that, because you’ll have difficulties pronouncing it later on. You’ll have to repeat the command several times, until your dog recognizes it. I was full of joy when Huubie learned to sit down so I took my DS and showed my parents what my precious dog could do. I asked him gently to sit, … Huubie, sit,…SIT,…goddamned SIT. But all Huubie did was stare at his boss as if he was saying: “you fucker, now you’re parents really think you’re gay by yelling at a virtual dog. How are you going to explain this?” I decided to go back to my own room and keep the pride to myself.
The fact that your dog won’t listen, isn’t that much of a problem in the beginning. But as you progress and he knows more and more tricks, it can’t be a little frustrating when he refuses to listen to the simplest commands. You actually want to hit your dog in his precious parts. I’d never hit a real dog, but hey, it’s not a real dog so why won’t I try it? Well, no matter how hard you slap your stylus around his head, it won’t budge. The only thing you can do to annoy your pup is taking his leg over and over again. He’ll gently start to cry, as all little dogs do, but that’s really all the fun there is. Since it the game is all sunshine and happiness your dog won’t die either. You’ll be stuck with him for as long as you live and to make things worse, he won’t grow. He’ll just be that adorable little puppy that won’t listen in front of your parents. This makes the game rather boring in a short time span.
In the beginning, however, there is no boredom whatsoever. You won’t only be learning your dog tricks. Because he isn’t smart enough to take a shit himself, you’ll also have to take him for a walk. Before you start doing this, you’ll have to point out the route you’ll take. During your walk the dog will do his doodle that you’ll have to pick up by clicking on it and he’ll also encounter other dogs. No matter how funny two mating dogs are, you won’t see them in Nintendogs. The only thing they do is, bark at each other and in the best case, cuddle around a bit. Aside from this interaction you’ll also find presents during your walk, ranging from utter useless to somewhat more useful things. Diehards will try to unlock every item in the game, but normal people like you and me, don’t really bother.
You can also plan your walk in such a way that you’ll visit a park or gymnasium. Here you can train your dog in catching Frisbees or doing agility exercises. You’ll need these abilities in order to win in the agility contest, disc competition and obedience trial. Each type of contest consists of five different difficulty levels and each time you win one, you’ll progress to a higher level. However, if you lose, you’ll be directed to a lower level as well. What’s in it for you? Well, you’ll win some prize money which you can invest in your dog or your home by buying several items. You can own three dogs at once, but I don’t see why you would. The most players will be bored with the game after having achieved the highest in every contest with their first dog. Buying another one doesn’t really bring anything new to the table.
This is also the biggest flaw of Nintendogs. The fun factor is very high in the beginning but loses its charm pretty fast. I was really amazed when I took out my bubble blower. This isn’t due to my adoration for bubbles but more often to the DS technology that’s used here. You really have to blow. Aside from this, the game also supports voice recognition making it impossible for other people to give your dog commands. This is a bit disappointing as you can’t share the game with your brother or friend. Another little downfall of the voice recognition is seen when using it in public areas. Shouting: sit, lay down, or dead at a screen is just not accepted in our world. Several disturbing and even evil faces have stared at me during a train travel, making my head turn into a tomato. I always answered back by smiling, hoping they’ll stop staring, but it didn’t seem to work. I recommend just turning off your DS and acting like you think it’s a ridiculous thing too.
The presentation of this game is nicely done. The different races look like their real life counterparts. However, don’t expect any eye candy. The environments are rather sober but this doesn’t really matter. The most important thing in this game is the dog and he looks real enough. Aside from this, his barking is also convincing.
Nintendogs is a very original title. This originality strangely makes the game less enjoyable in the long run. In the beginning you’ll really like your little puppy but the fun is gone before you know it. Especially little ones and women will truly enjoy this game. Therefore if you think you’re too tough for it, or you’re actually more of a cat lover, you should leave Nintendogs lying in the shelves. In all the other cases: go out and buy this game, dog!