Review by caddison24

Reviewed: 06/20/07

Dog Days

"Cute" and "Cuddly" do not even begin to describe the nature of Nintendogs. Beautiful animation pours through the screen to beseech all those who doubted Nintendo's decision to rekindle a long boring and dead genre of pet simulation. Nintendogs now holds my top ranking for DS games, and I am liking it more and more as the days go on. It is a game that never ceases to amaze you around every bend. It is a game for all to enjoy. It is a game to be cherished.

As I knocked on the door to the dog kennel, I was ready to experience second-rate game play and a boring game. Boy, how wrong I was, and I am glad that it is the case. I had a choice between six dogs: Labrador Retriever, Pembroke Welsh Corgi, miniature Schnauzer, Toy Poodle, Shiba Inu, and miniature Pinscher. I had no idea which one to choose. I chose a miniature Schnauzer first, a smaller dog. The breed and size of your dog effects game play mechanics, and it determines what skills your dog is better at learning and using. Your choice of color, personality, and sex for your dog is a great feature. The dog's personality can determine which objects it enjoys interacting with, and your dog's sex actually reflects the differences that you see in real female and male dogs. Nintendo went to great lengths to make this game a truly great experience.

There are a plethora of items for your interactive pleasure. You can give your dog a different look with all the cool, sometimes crazy, accessories that are found in the game. You buy your bare necessities at the shop, which is just a few stylus taps away. If you do not take care of your dog, it can run away, so if you wish to both keep a good relationship with your dog, and the dog itself, then you are advised to feed, water, and walk your dog. There are a few different choices for dog food and liquids. You can buy dry dog food, canned dog food, dog biscuits, and jerky treats. For hydration, you have a choice between water and milk. When you bathe your puppy, you actually have to apply the soap and wash it off. Depending on the dog's condition (Beautiful, Clean, Normal, and Dirty), you will have to spend more time washing it. Nintendo succeeded in making a chore fun with this feature. After experiencing these features for the first time, I was tempted to run out and buy a real dog.

Walking your dog is perhaps the best part of Nintendogs. You choose to go out of your house, and then you get the choice of which dog to take with you. When you select your dog, you are brought to a map so that you can draw your route. As you walk more, your dog gains more stamina and can end up traveling around the whole map when its gauge is full. On the walks you have a choice of things to walk to. If you walk into a blue question mark event box, then you will either meet up with another trainer and dog to interact with, or your dog will discover a present to bring you. The locations you can walk to include two parks, two dicount stores, and a gym. The parks are either empty or have dogs in them (it changes). The discount stores have all the supplies that you can buy from the shop on your main menu, but a cheap prices. The gym is where you train your dog for the agility competition.

There are three competitions that you can enter your dog into. They include the Obedience Competition, Agility Competition, and Disc Competition. Training your dogs for these competitions is the bulk of the game, because it is the best way to earn money. In the Obedience Competition, your dog is judged on how well it performs the tricks that you have taught it so far. In the Agility Competition, your dog runs around a course jumping of hurdles, running through tubes, and running through poles. It is a great emulation of what real dog agility competitions are like. The Disc Competition consists of you throwing a Frisbee a certain length, and having your dog return it. The farther you throw it, the more points you obtain. As you move up in the classes (Beginner, Open, Expert, Master, and Championship), it gets steadily harder to win, and you get more money for placing in first through third place.

Things really pick up in pace and fun factor after you get your second and third dogs. You are given much more to do with your time than when you had a single dog. It is also great to watch your dogs interacting while in your house. Throwing out toys can produce different results with them. It ranges from tennis balls to remote controlled vehicles. The amount of obtainable items is insane. The Mario franchise really gets a good showing in Nintendogs. As in most Miyamoto games, items and easter eggs can be found that relate to franchises that he created. I love seeing details like that in already an amazing game.

Perhaps the most enticing fact about Nintendogs is that no gamer can have the same experience. The AI used in the game is magnificent. One of the neatest details is the male dog lifting up his leg to urinate, while the female will squat. It is depth like this that truly makes this game a gem. You can obtain a myriad of accessories while walking. They can make your dog look cute, cool, or bizarre. It really makes the game great. I never imagined putting deer antlers on a Labrador, but here I am having done it, and I must say it was quite funny. Nintendo didn't just stop with collars. They ran the gamut, and included wigs, hats, animal accessories, glasses, ribbons, and more! The toys you get are tons off fun too. You can get items such as soccer balls, bones, jump ropes, squeeze toys, stuffed animals, space items, a Mario Kart that you control, an RC Helicopter, and many more. The toys and accessories really give Nintendogs that everlasting quality that I crave in games. I don't believe I could ever tire watching three dogs run around dressed in Ten-Gallon cowboy hats playing soccer.

Nintendogs is truly a great game. No matter your age or sex, I would highly recommend that you at least try the game, and see if you don't immediately fall in love with it. The near limitless possibility gives it great appeal to me, and I'm sure that applies for most gamers. Nintendo struck gold with this game. The lush detail of the dogs, the great touch control, accurate microphone reception, and the fun factor make this the best game on the DS. I have no doubt in my mind that it is the best handheld simulation game, pet or not, to ever make it onto the market. So do yourself a tremendous favor, and cherish Nintendogs with me.

Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

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