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Nintendogs review

They're cute. They're friendly. They pee on the virtual rug

Pros

  • Shows off everything your DS can do
  • Not as big a time sink as you'd think
  • Gosh
  • they're cute

Cons

  • Voice commands are tricky in public
  • The novelty of going walkies wears off
  • They just pretend to love you

When it comes to cute collectible digital creatures, Nintendo owns the market. But Pokemon doesn't appeal to everyone, so the company has whipped up a furrier alternative with Nintendogs.

It's not a linear game so much as a virtual pet and quite similar to the LCD keychain fad Tamagotchi from the late 90s. Only Nintendogs is far more involved and rewarding. And instead of trying to care about the health and welfare of a liquid crystal alien blob thing, you can adopt up to 18 breeds of puppies. Chihuahuas, schnauzers, shih tzus - all the impossible-to-spell breeds are here. But not from the get go. There are three versions of the game and each houses six immediately accessible breeds. If you want to train a dog not yet unlocked in your version, you'll have to hook up with fellow DS breeder and trade.

Once you've adopted a dog, you can train it, enter it into agility competitions, dress it in silly outfits, and yes, you can scoop its poop. (Let's hear it for touch-screen technology.) The DS's clock keeps track of the dog's status, so if you forget to check in on your pet for a few days, it will be starving and filthy by the time you show up. A bowl of kibble and a touch-screen sponge bath later, and all is forgiven. (After severe neglect, the dog will run away.)

It's hard not to fall in love with your silicon surrogate - these pups are quite expressive, move realistically, and react to the sound of your voice. But using voice commands via the DS's microphone to teach your pet tricks makes Nintendogs uncomfortable to play where handheld games usually thrive best - on a bus, in an airport, or any other place where you're likely to be overheard shouting "Good girl! Good girl!" to an inanimate object.

More Info

GenreFamily
DescriptionAdopting a puppy just got easier - and cleaner, and cheaper - as your DS goes to the dogs.
PlatformDS
US censor ratingEveryone
Release date22 August 2005 (US), (UK)
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