Rants and raves about all the latest in video games and other forms of mindless entertainment.

August 29, 2005

Review: Nintendogs (DS) - Puppy Love

VGP Score


The latest piece of work to come out of the Nintendo factory is the fluffy and furry Nintendogs. It's a virtual puppy simulator, that for all intents and purposes, is basically a simple application that does nothing more than let you play with your dog. Sounds pretty lame on the surface, and I for one was convinced Nintendogs would fall flat on it's belly on the game side of things. I couldn't have been more wrong. First off, the one thing that I let slip past me, was that this game has freaking puppies. And they're absolutely adorable. Who doesn't like little puppy wuppies? Nobody! The box art alone will tug at your "cute" strings, and draw you near via undetectable humanomagnetic field. Very scientific. Clearly, Nintendo has found the holy grail of marketing schemes with Nintendogs. Who wouldn't feel even a little criminal for ignoring a product placement featuring the most adorable puppies playing with Nintendo DS'? Nobody! The game plays on a very powerful gimmick, and this game has proven to me once and for all, that good gimmicks do exist, and a game oriented around them can be very fun.

When you boot up the ol' "N'dogs" (as most lovingly refer to it), you get a chance to visit the kennel and peruse the offerings of 6 breeds of puppies (18 in total across all 3 versions). When you're ready, you get to purchase a dog for about half of the change you have, and you get to take it home and begin playing with it. I guess first and foremost I should make note of one of the few problems I had with Nintendogs, since this particular one is used so heavily. The first thing you do is choose a name for the pup, and the game prompts you to begin calling the dog so the game can recognize your voice, and the dog can learn his/her own name. Once the dog learns their name, they respond attentively when called, but getting then to learn their name is obnoxious. The game will ask you to say the dogs name upwards of 10 - 15 times, and doesn't make mention of how long it will take, so you begin to wodner if you're doing something wrong. You aren't, so before Nintendogs gets good, it begins annoyingly. Small gripe, and it gets even smaller when you begin to experience the rest of Nintendogs. When you first get the chance to start adoring your new bundle of furry joy, you can start teaching the pooch to do tricks. Using the stylus, you can lead him into doing a sit, lie down, shake a paw, roll over and qwirky things like "chase your tail". The way you do it is by leading him into the trick, and then verbally saying "Sit" or "Lie down".

The amount of times it takes for the dog to learn the trick ranges from a convenient 3 - 4 times, to the obnoxious 10 - 12 times. Once they've learned the trick, they will do the entire trick on voice command, which is great, but at times the voice recognition is touchy at best, but overall the dogs are fairly obedient. The tricks are performed with whatever vocal command you attach to it, so you can even if you're so inclined, teach the dog to roll over at the order of "Pirates! AHOY!". Weirdo.

The Nintendogs pant and paw like real dogs, and often display a hint of that life-like nuance like leaning into an ear scratch, and bowing down into a combination stretch-yawn. In the house alone, where you will most often play with your dog, you can toss around balls, throw frisbees, play with toys (like the bubble blower, which blows bubbles as you blow into the microphone. Sweet!),and even whip out the miscellaneous items like disposable cameras, tissue boxes and photos of other dogs. Your dog will approach items differently as well. From a timid and wary approach to items they don't like, to the free spirit chase of items they have a lot of fun with. There's really a wide variety of things to do with the dog, just in your house. Taking your dog for a walk will make it stronger and will often yield red ribboned gifts that could be toys or charming canine apparel. There are competitions that test your dogs ability to catch a frisbee, perform tricks and exhibit their agility. They're the only way to earn money, which you'll use to buy food, water, and shampoo for your dog. Again, the "sim" part of Nintendogs is stressed. There's definitely very little traditional game here, but what Nintendogs offers is warmly amusing, and hits a soft spot in everyone. The game is down right addictive, and rightfully so. Those pups are just so darn cute! Admittedly, the game gets repetitive after about a half hour, so the game is designed for short bursts of entertainment. Not that the game won't be played a lot, it just won't be played for long stints. In the end though, Nintendogs offers a realistic and meaty sim style puppy game, that can and will be loved by all. It's definitely a killer app for the DS, and is the most darling thing since real puppies.

The only real major problem I had with Nintendogs was that when you sleep the DS, the game tends to freeze up and you will lose all unsaved data. Is it because of the stress on the DS hardware, or perhaps just a bug that was never fixed or even discovered? Who knows? Just don't sleep your DS with N'dogs in it. After all is said and done, Nintendogs is extremely fulfilling for such a small time investment. It's never been more fun to control a living breathing creature, and guide them around a virtual world at your whim. Come on Nintenladies!


Anonymous Brent McBrenterson said...

Good review.

When I showed my mom the cover, I got a very 'Oh jesus, my son is gay' kind of look. Haha, oh well.

August 29, 2005 8:51 PM

Anonymous Brent McBrenterson said...

oh p.s.

Thar fanboy =p

August 29, 2005 8:56 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The game plays on a very powerful gimmick"



"The game will ask you to say the dogs name upwards of 10 - 15 times"

The game will ask you to say the dogs name until you say it three times in a row with the game understanding you said the same thing each time.

If you're saying the same thing and the game can't tell, that's your cue to switch to a different name. It should never take 10 times to get it to remember, though. Just speak clearly.

or in other words don't slur your speech nubby nubby lol


August 29, 2005 9:00 PM

Blogger Adam said...

If you're saying the same thing and the game can't tell, that's your cue to switch to a different name. It should never take 10 times to get it to remember, though. Just speak clearly.

It isn't my not speaking clearly, it's the game not being tuned enough to detect minute differences in tone or inflection. I speak very clearly, but the game does have minor voice command issues. It's not major, but it prevents Nintendogs from being the perfect app.

August 30, 2005 12:56 AM

Anonymous shitface said...

wow you like Nintendogs, what a queer. i thought you had good taste in games but i guess you're secretly a drone that loves virtual pets like a little bitch

August 30, 2005 6:34 PM

Blogger Adam said...

And the population of fuckwads surfing the internet just increased by one.

August 30, 2005 11:11 PM

Anonymous Auron255 said...

im gay

August 31, 2005 10:26 PM

Blogger Adam said...

It's nothing to be ashamed of Auron255 imposter. You'll one day learn that being different doesn't mean you have to hide your identity or pretend to be something you're not. Being gay is as welcome as being straight.

August 31, 2005 11:33 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Auron, he was actually trying to imply that you were gay.

September 01, 2005 6:10 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Being the technically inferior device, Microsoft has released a press release with lies and deception to make Xbox 360 seem like the more powerful console."

biased tool gg

September 03, 2005 1:23 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Auron, he was actually trying to imply that you were gay.


September 05, 2005 4:36 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

We miss you, Auron! So much news!!!

How about Nintendo losing Sonic the Hedgehog to PS3 and XBox 360?

Or GTA LCS looking like it may single-handedly kill the DS!

September 10, 2005 2:21 AM

Blogger Erik said...

Adam, I'm not sure if you saw this, but:


The Revo. controller is revealed. It seems, from the article, that this could work. Providing that any 3rd parties use it correctly. Your thoughts?

September 16, 2005 6:08 PM

Blogger Adam said...

My opinion is rather complex on the Rev controller. Needless to say, I'm not impressed at all, but I'm not suprised by that. I haven't made a post in a while due to some hectic scheduling conflicts with my thesis courses and lab times at school, but by tonight or tommorow, I will have the next rant up: based on both MGS4 and the Revolution controller. The best and worst of TGS.

September 16, 2005 7:11 PM


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