As I said, the realism of the dogs lies in their personality
more than in their appearance. There are
twenty breeds in all, each with their own distinct attitudes, likes and
dislikes. You get six breeds at the
start, and the types depend on which version of the game you bought. All twenty are eventually unlockable, but
linking up wirelessly with a friend who has a different version is a more
expedient way to complete your list of available breeds.
have your new friend purchased and at home, naming is taken care of with the
microphone. Your dogs will actually
respond to your voice, be it a simple call of their name or instructions on
performing a trick. Thankfully, tapping
the screen is just as effective as calling their name, so playing in a public
place is possible. As you interact with
your dog, he or she will become more accustomed to you and more obedient, and
thus more receptive to learning tricks and commands. Some dogs are more stubborn than others, and
some of this depends on breed, so be prepared for a training challenge if you
pick a rowdy pup.
As you and your pet become more familiar and
comfortable, you’ll also grow in confidence.
It takes consistent practice in a number of areas, but eventually you’ll
be able to enter your dog in competitions.
The disc contest is self-explanatory; throw the frisbee and your dog
will fetch it. Distance thrown and
number of catches within the time limit determines score. Agility trials are a little tougher. You’ll have to train your dog in the gym to
leap hurdles, navigate tubes and zigzag through a series of poles.
obedience trials take the most effort.
You’ll have to teach your pet a solid list of increasingly complex
tricks, and not only that, but they’ll have to do them well and precisely on
command too. If you have a particularly
inattentive puppy or one that’s easily distracted by a cheering crowd, this
contest will be a hard one to beat. All
of the trials are worth it, though, as they award you with big prize money. The cash is in turn used to purchase
necessities such as food and water, as well as more puppies. You can have eight dogs at one time, three in
your home and five in the convenient dog hotel.
In the end,
this is all Nintendogs really has to offer.
Its relative simplicity makes it easy to pick up and play, but sim fans
hoping for a deeper experience may be disappointed. It’s a double-edged sword, really. Non-gamers won’t be intimidated, but the
hardcore might consider Nintendogs a little anticlimactic.
But is the
game worth the money? Definitely. There’s still plenty to keep long-time
players busy. One of the game’s main
attractions is finding items during walks, such as new toys, collars or the
ever-popular Mario hat. The wireless
“Bark Mode” offers considerable replay value, and an opportunity for virtual
dogs and owners alike to play together, swap items and data. Bark Mode will even search for active DS
systems in its Bluetooth range, so if you’re in a crowded area you just might
find a fellow Nintendogs player.
replay value, however, comes from just firing up your DS and interacting with
your puppy. If I’m bored I’ll pull out
the tennis ball or just scratch my dog behind the ears with the stylus. No matter what, your Nintendog will always be
happy to see you.
Nintendogs is the most developed pet simulator to date. Itâ€™s a lot more interactive than the Tomogotchi of old and not creepy like Segaâ€™s Sea Man, and it accurately portrays one of the worldâ€™s most loveable real animals. The experience as a whole isnâ€™t terribly deep, but itâ€™s still a great example of the â€œnon-gameâ€ genre and the potential of the DS hardware. Itâ€™s perfect for quick bursts of play and non-competitive interaction with friends.
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