NINTENDOGS + CATS REVIEW
I am now virtually responsible.
Posted by PlayDevil.com Staff on May 16, 2011 13:58 (May 16, 2011 13:58)
Written by: Alex
Nintendogs + Cats:
"Nintendogs + Cats" takes Nintendo’s habit of repackaging its classic titles for a new systems to the extreme. Nearly identical to the first Nintendogs, its additions are designed just to show off what the new 3D handheld features, and some cats.
This slight remaining isn’t necessarily a bad thing however. With six years past since the last release a bit of polish on the outdated graphics are a pleasant change to fans, while for those not who have never played (or who have long abandoned their old puppies) it could prove a good incentive to enter the world of virtual pet ownership.
Nintendogs and Cats is the natural evolution of the virtual pet trend that started nearly forty years ago with Tamagochi. It is a remarkably simple premise that when explained sounds little fun: look after a virtual pet that is reliant on you and will make you feel guilty if you don’t pay it daily attention. But somehow it works. Nintendogs made this premise work even more effectively by capitalising on real animals, and by being incredibly polished, or at lest the best in pocket sized form.
Beginning with a few thousand dollars Nintendogs and Cats first stop is the kennels. Here you can pick your first dog from the limited selection on show. There are no cats available at the start because dogs still form the backbone of the game offering far more interaction. The dogs earn the money, go for walks and play while cats sit, just as they do in real life, independent and joyless, a drain on resources who exist only to steel from your time (yes I am a dog person). On the plus side I feel less guilt leaving them alone in my virtual house to die.
Heading home with your dog you can begin your life as a pet owner. Settling your pet in and teaching them their name is the first job. It is a nice opportunity for your little puppy to look nervously cute forming that bizarre bond that is required to make the game work.
Once settled you can begin to get familiar with the tasks you will be needing to perform daily for the rest of your time with the game if you are to be a good owner. Walks, feeding, grooming and just the general attention a pet daily needs must be attended to. Its fun at first, but if not invested it quickly becomes a chore.
Being a responsible Pet Owner:
Feeding and playing with your animals is the same as it ever was, but with a slight shift in display. In the original game nearly all of action was shown on the bottom screen. This allowed players to touch and place things in direct relation to their dog; petting was touching the animal’s virtual image. Now with the 3DS’s main action set on the top screen some concessions have been made. Keeping the action on the main 3D screen, control has now moved down to the bottom screen. On the lower screen silhouettes of all interactive elements on the top screen are displayed, and it is here you interact, with your presence in the dogs world seen only as a detached hand. It is a fairly effective compromise but one that does feel less connected than the original but with the trade off of a better, 3D, screen.
Going for a walk also marks one of the big alterations from the original. Previously you set a route from your house around town and back again by tracing it on a map, followed by controlling your dog from a side on view. Now in this new incarnation selecting ‘walk’ dumps you in the world on a straight line towards home and the task is simply to walk down, plus of course pick up any of your dogs ‘business’. Viewed form behind this does feel more like walking a pet, bringing with it a better view and also more of the problems associated with guiding an animal with a mind of its own in a 3D world.
Dragging the dog left and right across the street feels at times quite mean as you try and guide it towards grass patches and other desired locations, instead of towards any of the unwanted dirty things the pup invariably wants to play with. Along the route signposts indicate portals to other areas. This is another new addition that adds spice to the strait line you would otherwise be locked on, letting you jump to other roads or a number of other pet related entertainments.