Review by Pistachio1337
"An experience no DS owner should miss"
If you've ever been a fan of tamagotchi or pet sims in general, Nintendogs is right up your alley. In fact, this title has to be one of the most in-depth pet simulators ever created. Upon playing the game, you're able to take full advantage of every capability that the DS has to offer. The touch screen interface, heavy microphone usage, and wireless communication all make for an experience you won't find anywhere else.
For those of you who haven't kept a close eye on Nintendogs, here's the deal: This game is all about taking care of puppies. You train them, clean them, care for them, walk them, etc. There aren't any bosses to fight or levels to beat. What makes the game so engrossing is the ability to teach your dog tricks, compete in dog competitions, and finding rare items/accessories. There are three versions, all of which start with 6 available dogs to choose from.
My copy of the game is titled Lab and Friends, and the pup I bought was a Welsh Corgi. I was able to name him Poochy, using the touch screen as a keyboard. Not only that, but when I called his name via the microphone, he responded! This is the greatest thing Nintendogs has to offer. Your dog is also able to respond to certain commands such as sit, roll over, shake, beg, and plenty of others. After mastering the easier tricks, your dog can learn to do anything from doing flips to breakdancing! Nothing is more satisfying than seeing your dog carry out your voice commands. It's something every DS owner should experience.
However, there is a down side. You have got to make sure you say the command into the microphone exactly the same way you taught your dog to follow it. One slightly over-stressed syllable can confuse your dog into rolling over when told to lie down. It's really the only problem I've encountered. Misunderstood commands can be quite frustrating when everything's on the line in an obedience competition. And that brings me to my next point.
Other than teaching your dog tricks, you can enter him or her in competitions (and earn money), go on walks (which allow you to find items/accessories), play with toys, go shopping, and care for each other in general. There's a wealth of activities to experience, and that's why Nintendogs doesn't become stale. There's always something new to uncover. The competitions are a blast! You'll be on the edge of your seat during the obstacle courses, and become completely addicted to the disc throwing trials. Also, when on a walk (which you strategically plan the path of), you'll encounter neighborhood dogs and find some cool toys for your pup.
Personalization is key in this game. Everything down to your house, clock, collar, accessory, voice commands, dog breed, and toys can be customized to your liking. It's very Animal Crossing-esque. Trust me, you'll be obsessed with trying to find that one toy or accessory that separates you from the rest. Plus, you'll want to look cool when playing with your friends. That's right: two players can wirelessly connect and have their dogs virtually interact with each other. It's all great fun.
Now, if you're thinking that you can just turn off the system and forget about your pooch, you're wrong. Your puppy is waiting for you, even when that green LED is off. Simulators are usually realistic, but Nintendogs blows them all out of the water. The dogs' movements and characteristics are completely flawless. Realism is taken to a whole new level here. I was impressed right as I saw it in motion, and any dog lover is guaranteed to be floored by it.
Along with all of that fun gameplay, you still get all of the icing on the cake. Beautiful graphics, fitting music, and enough replay value to keep you training for years. Nintendogs is by far the best use of the microphone I've experienced thus far, and it never gets tiring. I'd highly recommend it to anyone looking to brighten-up their DS collection. Thanks for reading!
FINAL SCORE: 9/10
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 08/15/05
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