Review by Arkrex

Reviewed: 12/17/07

Wanted: one breakdancing chihuahua that won't chew on my stylus

A dog is a man's best friend. A puppy is a man's worst nightmare.

Sure, they are cute and cuddly, but that doesn't appeal in the slightest to hyena instincts. Puppies love to frolic about the place, laying little brown presents for you to pick up with your pooper-scooper; they also enjoy marking their territory with sensual smells. But what if you didn't have to deal with all of the messy clean-ups? What if you could take your puppies out for virtual walks without breaking a sweat; have them perform tricks to wow audiences (and especially the females); or leave them starving for days on end without the SPCA going loco on you? This is a world that could only have been dreamt up by the one company that always dares to be different - Nintendo.

Aww, so cute!
Nintendogs gives you the opportunity to take home several adorable pups, and nurture them within the confines of your Nintendo DS. Virtual Pets aren't anything new, but Nintendogs offers an unparalleled level of interactivity not seen before. You can feed your puppies nutritious meals or junk, adorn them with pink bow ties, a fireman's helmet or assorted Nintendo memorabilia - the usual homecare stuff.

However, the innovative touch screen is used to great effect in other activities such as puppy grooming, walking them by the leash, participating in a disc-catching competitions, agility trials and obedience exams; and in combination with the mic - used to provide vocal commands - you can teach your puppies some standard tricks such as sitting down and rolling over, to more impressive displays such as breakdancing! The interface is nigh-on perfect, and regardless of how inept you are with video games in general, you'll have no trouble learning the ins and outs of puppy care - without the hassle of making sure they don't stain your precious rugs or inadvertently bite someone.

Famitsu gave it a perfect 40/40!
Back in 2005, Nintendogs (all editions) was very well received. It defined Nintendo's new direction towards games that everyone could enjoy. But make no mistake, Nintendogs is a "non-game" - that is, there is no real driving force to keep you going (the awards won in contests simply give you more dosh to lavish gifts and toys upon your pups). Once the novelty of barking orders and physically stroking their fur with your finger wears off, it's unlikely that you'll give a damn - even my sister has given up on the chihuahua she spent so much time with two years ago.

Still, Nintendogs is a fine product which exemplifies a near-perfect virtual pet simulator. Practically every facet of puppy homecare is accounted for, and every activity - bathing, teaching, walking, etc. - is good fun for a while. It's cheaper than buying a real puppy and there isn't any obligation to care for them 24/7 - thus, Nintendogs gets my seal of approval, even though it's not quite the ground-breaking non-game that everyone else made it out to be.

VERDICT - 7.5/10 A novel must-have

Rating:   4.0 - Great

Product Release: Nintendogs: Chihuahua & Friends (AU, 09/22/05)

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