Review by tnuu

Reviewed: 04/29/05

Truly A Man's Best Friend

Nintendogs is an innovative new game from Nintendo that features great uses of all of the DS's abilities. Nintendogs is not really a game; it's more of a pet simulator. But that doesn't mean it's bad, just different. There is no traditional beginning, middle, and end, your puppy is immortal and never grows up. The main portion of the game consists of caring for your young pup, whether that consists of feeding him/her, washing him/her, walking him/her, or playing a game of fetch with him/her is up to you.

Gameplay - 9/10

When you first start the game you will be given the choice of five breeds of dogs with different color variations. After you choose and name your pup you must first teach him/her its name so it responds when it's called, via the Nintendo DS' microphone. Then the game prompts you to teach the puppy his first trick, to sit. Your days with your dog will mostly consist of teaching him 3-4 new tricks a day (there's a limit to how much he/she can learn), feeding him or her, buying accessories to keep your dog fashionable, and taking him/her outside to "relieve" themselves. Before walking your dog you get a map with an overhead view of the town and you must plot a course, in the form of a complete circuit to and from your house, for you and your pup to take. The only catch is that the dog has a certain amount of stamina, so don't expect to get to far from the house on your first try, you'll have to take him/her on frequent walks to build up his stamina. To break up this somewhat monotonous, yet addicting, gameplay is the introduction of various competitions you and your dog can enter. From the obstacle course, which requires your dog to jump over hurdles and run through tunnels, to the flying disc (Frisbee) competition, where the dog scores points based on how he catches the disc and at what length as many times as he can within a time limit, and in the last competition a judge tells you what trick he wants your dog to perform and in turn you tell the dog, orally, whatever word you associated with that trick.

Graphics/Sound - 9/10

These are probably the best graphics you'll find on the DS of all the games currently out. The 3d models of the dogs are very well down and the animations are freakishly life like. The only problem I found was that parts of the environments seem to have some type of cloudy fog that covers up certain areas, near the ground, that makes it look as if the designers got lazy and just covered up what couldn't be fixed. This doesn't affect the gameplay at all and I usually pay no mind to it, and I suggest you don't either. The music is catchy and fits the title well, most of the time you won't even notice it except when an important even occurs, like when your dog manages to eat a piece of garbage, or when you win first prize in a competition.

Replayability - 10/10

Considering that the game ever ends, there are *fifteen different breeds of dogs to choose from, and there are hundreds of items to collect, I'd say you're assured to have a long playtime.

Final Recommendation

Some people might be skeptical but if you've ever owned a tamagotchi, or you live in an apartment building that allows no pets, or if you just love dogs, Nintendogs is for you. If you are one of those skeptics than I suggest you try out a friend's game or rent it, you're sure to be pleased. At the time this review was typed the Japanese version has been out for a little more than a week and the NA version is slated for a release in Q3 or Q4.

Final Score - 9/10

*Note: The 3 different versions of the game all have the same dogs, the only difference is what dogs are available at the beginning.

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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