E (Everyone)Release Date:
August 22, 2005Written by:
Oh Nintendogs; what a brilliant idea; designed superbly. It is simple, friendly, cute, cool, fun, and you just grow attached to your little doggy, or doggies. It is like you have a dog of your very own…well, actually...you do.
Nintendogs is not quite a game, so to speak…It’s more like a separate reality. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like it’s not fun or doesn’t play like a game, but it’s not like there are levels or anything. Everybody knows what a Tomagachi or Digimon is. Well, that’s basically what Nintendogs is, but much more intricate and detailed. It is just a big virtual pet, for those people who don’t have the ability or opportunity to own a dog of their own. And Nintendogs pulls off this deception very, very well.
So, you power on the game, and the first thing that comes up is this door, and then a caption comes up and says "Knock." So you tap on the touch screen a few times, and it will open. Yes, you are at the dog kennel, ready to make that step into parenting…a dog that is. You can either go straight into buying a dog, or look at the display dogs. There are three display dogs to play with. You select one to focus on and then you can call out its name and pet it and try to make it do a few tricks and things. It’s a nice introduction into what you will be doing with your own dog.
So, you get done with that and are ready to purchase your dog. You have quite a selection though first. At any given point, there are three dogs available to get in each breed. So after you get a dog, you can come back at anytime and see all the other different kinds of dogs that there are. Anyways, the dogs in each breed range in color and sex; but like I said, there are only three of them there at one time. So you have six breeds of dogs to choose from, so that’s 24 dogs at one time to pick one. You will find one you like.
One such breed of dog, with it’s three current possible dogs. Pick a winner
After you choose your dog, you go to your house. The game does a nice job of really introducing you into the game play and teaching you how things work. The first thing you do is pet your dog a little bit, to introduce yourself and so he or she will warm up to you. Then the game will prompt you to do a few things, first of which is to choose a name for your new dog. So you carefully speak into the microphone and enunciate the dog’s name. After a few times, the dog will start to understand that that is its name, and will from then on recognize it as so.
After you choose a name and go through that, the game will prompt you through teaching your dog its first trick, sitting. It will tell you how to move the stylus to get the dog to sit. After getting your dog to sit, a little light bulb will come up, and you will click it. Then you will name the trick. One would say something like, "Sit" or "sit down." But of course you can name the trick anything you would like, so use your imagination, but don’t forget the command you say because that is what your dog will respond to. However, the dog does not learn the trick after doing it once. So you move the stylus over your dog to get him to sit again, and then click on the light bulb, and pronounce the command again. After three times, the dog will learn the trick. Congratulations, your new puppy has learned its first trick and will do it when you say so. There is no more need to use the stylus to prompt your dog to do so. Of course, practice makes perfect, so be sure to practice your new trick and future tricks again and again, so your dog will know exactly what to do, and do it with increasing confidence and speed.
Don’t forget to pet your dog to encourage him.
Following this brief "tutorial," you are left to do whatever you want. Just like real life, it is up to you to choose what to do with your new dog. You can teach it some more moves, take it for a walk, give it a bath, whatever you so desire.
The first thing you are probably going to want to do is read the guides the game has. In your items menu, you can choose to read a few of the books you have on teaching your dog tricks, taking care of it, and the rules of the competitions. The care book will teach you the basics of grooming and feeding, and will teach you how to read the HUB and everything. You can read the trick book to learn a few tips on how to make your dog do these tricks, so you can teach them to him or her.
After that, you will want to try and teach your dog some more tricks, like shaking, chasing its tail, lying down, or a number of other things that you will discover as you play with your dog. However, like real life, it takes time to teach your dog tricks, and your dog can only learn so much in one day. Your dog will be able to learn three or four new tricks in one day, so don’t think you can blow through everything in one sitting. That’s just not the case.
The game’s setup and menus are very simple to navigate and understand. You can easily view your stats, like how much time you have spent with your dog, and you can also check how your doggie is doing. You can check to see if he is hungry, thirsty, and how clean he is. Check often to make sure he is doing alright. There are also other cool stats that you can look at, like how well you have done in the competitions, what tricks you have taught your dog and so forth.
Yeah, there is a cool trick list. After you have successfully taught your dog a trick, you get to name it. I would suggest naming the trick whatever you vocally called it, so you don’t forget. Then, for whatever reason, you can erase that trick from the list, to re-teach it to your dog with a new name I suppose. It’s the little things.
A really cool addition and one that really makes it competitive and adds a little to the whole game play experience is that you are awarded trainer points as you interact with your dog and teach it tricks and win competitions. So you get more and more trainer points and also a rank, or title rather. So as you progress with your dog, your trainer points go up and your rank increases and you earn another new, cool title. You know, it’s always fun to see how well you are doing and what your rank is and compare it with friends and what not.
You start out with $1000 dollars. Of course, about half of that will go towards actually purchasing your dog. The other $450 dollars or so is yours to spend at your own digression. You will need to buy some food and water for your dog, obviously, but there are many other things to buy. You can get shampoo, brushes, toys, and other items, like collars and bows. You want to keep on playing and coming back every day to see what is new to buy and what other cool things there may be to play with.
You start out with a tennis ball, but hey, that’s always fun to just throw around your room and see your dog fetch. You call his or her name out a few times, maybe tap on the screen, and we will bring it back to you. Then you can buy a Frisbee and many other things that you will unlock as you go. There are also cool toys you can get, like a bubble blower. You actually blow into the microphone to blow a bunch of bubbles into the air. It’s fun to see how your dog will react.
Ahh, the bubble blower. It’s always fun, although the dogs don’t always like it.
Every item is easily accessible from a simple, easy to understand menu. You just pick an item, and there it is. It’s all very simple and well put together. Also, each item has a "?" beside it, and by clicking it, a descriptor will come up on screen to tell you what the item does and what it is for. Very nicely done.
Two dogs eating together. How nice. The menus are easily accessible via the touch screen.
Arg, it’s in Japanese, but you get the idea. That would be the screen in which you could choose the items you want to use.
There are five stores that you can go to at any moment. They are the kennel, in which you can adopt more dogs; the Pet Supply store, in which you will buy all of your food, supplies, and toys; the Secondhand Store, which you can sell your old, unneeded items to; the Doggy Hotel, where you can leave your dog and give it a nice pampering; and the Interior Design store, where you can actually purchase new designs for your house. There are a few more stores as well, but you can only go to those on your walks.
But where do you get more money? I mean, I am running low, and I want to buy a new dog friend for my doggie. Well, there are two ways to get money. You can either sell your old items at the Secondhand Store, or you can enter your dogs in competitions.
There are three types of competitions, with five difficulties each. They are the Frisbee competition, Obedience competition, and the obstacle course. With the Frisbee one, you simply throw your Frisbee, and hopefully you’ve practiced enough so that your dog will be able to catch it. The further you throw it and the faster your dog can run to retrieve it, the more points you get. You also get bonus points if your dog catches it in midair. In the obedience competition, the judge or coordinator will list off a few tricks that you need to get your dog to do in a short amount of time. The list will then get longer or make your dog do the tricks for longer, like sitting for 3 seconds and so forth. So you have to practice and practice with your dog, and not enter competitions until they are ready and actually know the tricks. And the last competition, the obstacle course, is well, an obstacle course. You just guide your dog through a lot of different obstacles and do it in a good amount of time. You will be going through tubes, jumping poles, going over a balance beam, and other things. And of course it’s not just how good your dog is. It’s how good you are at telling your dog what to do.
The competitions are really cool. I mean, they are set up very well, with the announcers and everything, who try to be funny and so forth. Then the judges calculate your scores, which is exciting, and then if you win, you get a trophy and some prize money, and you see your dog playing with the trophy. It’s cool. So if you need cash, train your dog and enter him or her. It always gives you a good feeling if you win, and you get a little badge to prove what you’ve done and it will be in your stats.
The Frisbee competition. Don’t overthrow it, but don’t under throw it either...
Then there are the walks that you can take with your dog. However, you shouldn’t take them too often, or you will exhaust your dog. It is best to give your dog at least thirty minutes in between walks. The whole walk thing is really cool and well thought out. You see, you get to plot out your walks before you actually go on them. Usually the stylus, you draw out your route on the decently sized map. However, you cannot go wherever you want to. You see, your dog has this stamina meter, and go only go so far. You start at your home, and you have to end back at your home, so you can only go a little distance...at first. As you go on more and more walks, your dog’s stamina meter will grow larger, and you can go further. So in a day or so, you will be able to walk to the parks and shops and other cool things your town has to offer.
Out for a walk, meeting another dog. As you can see, your dog is attached to a lease, which you control, although you don’t really...It’s cool though, you can drag the stylus and move it, and hold your dog back at times.
Also, there are these "?" on the map. These will either be other owners with dogs or gifts. So it’s cool to see your dog interact with others, and their owners will give you some tips and info that will help you. The gifts are cool. They range from toys to items and all kinds of cool and special things that you can’t get anywhere else. Also, your dog will do its business and mark its territory, and even get into trash cans…be careful.
Your doggie found a gift on your walk. Open it up; see what it is.
And you can’t forget about Bark Mode. This is where you put the DS in sleep mode, and if you happen to be in range of another player with Nintendogs, then your DS will bark, alerting you. Then you can choose to go play with the other person’s dog. I mean, both of your dogs can play together. Of course, I haven’t gotten a chance to experience this mode for myself, but I would think there would be other features, like the ability to trade items or something.
A few cool things with Bark Mode is that everyone you come into contact with will be recorded. Their profiles will be recorded in one of your little stat places, so that is cool. You can see their names, dogs, and stats, etc. Also, you can even record a message that the other player can listen to. That is pretty cool, but I hate my voice...*grumbles* .
But there are still more multiplayer type options. Just like Kirby Canvas Curse, you can choose to search for Pictochaters while you play, so that is pretty cool.
Some other random facts are that the game uses the DS’s internal clock, so it knows what day and time it is, so your environment will change accordingly.
Also, you can have three dogs in your house at one time. I would think you could get more, but you would probably have to put the other ones in the Dog Hotel for the time being.
And there are a lot of other activities you can do with your dog. For instance, you can bathe your pooch if he gets dirty, or gets fleas. Then you can brush it and all that jazz. There is plenty to do. If you can do it with an actual dog, you can do it with a Nintendog.
That’s about it really. The "game" is basically endless if you think about it. You can continually adopt more and different dogs and then train each one and teach them all the tricks and win all the competitions and so forth and so on. And it’s just the overall experience that does it. The graphics are very nice and the puppies act like they are real. They will come to you if you call to them, and they will react to the environment and play with the toys and act like real dogs. This is the ultimate virtual pet. If you can’t have a dog, then get this game. I’m just blown away at how well it has been made and how real it seems. It’s fantastic, truly. 9.2/
Spread The Word...