Nintendogs Nintendo DS Review

Shigeru Miyamoto tends to be classified as a genius when it comes to developing games and coming up with ideas for games. Without him, we wouldn’t have the likes of our beloved Mario, Zelda and Pikmin. Now with the Nintendo DS, he has something even more to be proud of. For those that either can’t own a dog of any sort or don’t know how to take care of one, a game that simulates that very kind of life is coming your way!

It’s not really known what inspired Miyamoto to help create this game. Is he a dog lover or owner himself? Is this one of his attempts at appealing to those that don’t consider themselves gamers? Might it be both? Might it be something else? Well regardless of what possessed Miyamoto to go through with this, millions are about to be very thankful for his endeavors. Nintendogs is one of the most innovative pieces of software to come from Nintendo to date, as it utilizes each of the DS’ awesome features incredibly well.

When you first fire up Nintendogs, you will be immediately taken to the town’s dog kennel. Here you will automatically walk up to the door, and using the stylus, you’ll knock to gain entry.

Once inside, you’ll have the option of either immediately adopting your newest puppy or fiddling around with some of the ones on display. To get a better feel and look as to what you’re being offered, it’s best to go to the play pen display and interact with the puppies for a bit. Now you actually won’t be able to take any of those display dogs home, they are merely there for you to gain knowledge about how each may behave around you.

Now I’m not sure if the same occurs in the other versions of the game, but once you decide it’s time to pick your pup, you will have a bunch of different breeds to choose from. If you’re like myself and get Lab and Friends, you’ll have such breeds like Labrador Retriever, Miniature Schnauzer and Shiba Inu to choose from. Each breed seems to come with three different pups to choose from, each varying with gender and coloration. Now when I chose my Miniature Schnauzer, they each cost $525.00 to be adopted. I don’t know if that’s the same with all the other versions but I’d imagine they are similar.

Nintendo did an incredible job making Nintendogs a seamless game. What is meant by that is that you will have absolutely no problem understanding how to work with this simulation game. I don’t even have an instruction booklet to refer to and I was able to navigate all the different menus without a problem when I first began playing. Everything is very well-organized and labeled so you will hardly have to go digging for that one particular option or action that you may be looking for.

As for dealing with your newly adopted puppy, each behaves in their own unique way. You’ll spend about the first 20 minutes or so trying to help your pup feel more at home since he or she will obviously be a bit nervous. During this process you can pet it, teach it basic commands like Sit and Lie Down while also giving it the name you wish it to have! The microphone works very well and as long as you have the system a good distance away from your mouth, your puppy will have little problem getting used to your voice. So in the first hour or so, you should be well-acclimated with how Nintendogs works.

Nintendogs is for sure to amaze all DS owners who choose to pick up a version when it comes to how the game actually looks. Miyamoto definitely did a superb job in creating all the different puppy breeds, items that you can use to interact with them and the environments they will themselves interact with. There are a multitude of different looks to everything and it’s just incredibly impressive for the DS’ capabilities.

Each dog will have a very distinct physical build and fur coat that is truly visible to almost every last detail. If a dog has spots or varying shades of color, you will see it easily. If a dog is meant to have unique physical characteristics, especially with the face, you will see them. To put it simply, any kind of dog you might encounter in real life, you can just as easily see that same kind of model design in the dogs of the Nintendogs world. This is as real as it’s ever been folks. Forget Neopets and Tamagotchi, if you want to see some truly realistic pets, the pups of Nintendogs are very much the way to go.

The dogs also maneuver themselves with beautiful animation and fluidity. The interaction you will have with your dog will feel just as if that dog is really sitting there in front of you and you’re touching it with your own hands. They will give you a cute “look back” when not at your stylus’ reach and you call for them, following with an adorable run, walk or gallop to get the attention he or she knows they are about to get. Then they will sort of “stand on you” by propping up on their back legs and grabbing onto the bottom of the touch screen and stare at you until you do something with it. It’s then that you can have he or she do whatever your heart desires, in what you’ve trained it to do of course. Whether it’s sitting down, lying down or rolling onto its back, you can command your dog to do these things, and how they do it will just make you go “Aw!”

It’s even more adorable to watch them interact with the various toys and such that you will obtain for them. Whether it’s a tennis ball, rubber bone, squeaky toy or whatever else a dog may play with, your dog will love playing with them! Of course you know how dogs love to do that “shaking back and forth” of their head when they have something playful in their mouth? Well the case is no different here, as your pup will just as much do the same!

When it comes to the environments you will have your pup in, they aren’t exceedingly diverse, but they do their job. The only real disappointing factor that comes into play is that there seem to be “invisible walls” in whatever area of the game you can play with your dog. This will sort of restrict how you can toss various toys around, but it doesn’t really do anything to ruin the entertainment you will have with your pup. It’s just sort of strange sometimes to see a tennis ball bouncing off walls that appear to look like “white haze.”

But other than that slight shortcoming, the places your pup can be in are very enjoyable. When you’re in your house, you can see the hallway, your bed, some plants and anything else a house may have. Your dog will then just roam about the floor doing whatever he or she pleases until you call it to yourself. Sometimes it can be really funny to just set down your DS and watch what your pup does as he or she does what it feels like, it can pull off some adorably comical things!

When it comes to other places you can go, outside for a walk, the park and the puppy gym are probably the ones you’ll frequent the most. When you decide to take your dog out for a walk, you will trace your path with the stylus and off you go! During this time you will hold onto a virtual dog leash while he or she treks along the sidewalk, going past various neighborhood type buildings. He or she will also “take care of business” like normal dogs do, and it’s oddly realistic how they do that too! On your walk you can also encounter other pups that are being walked by their masters, and interactions can either be not-so-nice, or very friendly. When it comes to the park, you have a huge plot of grass to allow your dog to roam in and play, which also gives you the opportunity to do a little disc throw practice. When you go to the gym, you can take your pup through a preset obstacle course that will allow him or her to practice for agility competitions.

So all in all, Nintendogs is just one impressive looking game. Whether you’re interacting with your pup at home (playing, feeding, etc) or allowing it to experience the various accessible environments throughout the game, you are bound to have a smile on your face when you look at just what may be the most realistic pet simulation application ever created.

Nintendogs is a DS game that truly shines when it comes to the sound effects and music. The music isn’t quite so focused on when it comes to various themes that you will hear, but that seems to have been done on purpose.

Of course the musical themes you will hear are always cheerful and upbeat so that you’re always in the mood to have a smile on when taking care and training your pup. Dogs tend to be very cute, and the musical atmosphere was made to very much reflect that. Who would want a pet simulation game that featured dreary and dull music anyway? There are default themes for just about every area of the game, so at least you don’t have to hear the same thing all the time if you allow your dog to experience the life that Nintendogs intends for you to have with it.

But the sound effects department is the area in which this game will truly amaze you. Pretty much any kind of sound you can think of that you might hear from a dog in real life, be prepared to hear exact replications of them in Nintendogs. The barking is obviously there, and very much realistic. How your pup actually utilizes it as well is also very realistic. It’s not just some random spasming, your pup will bark at you when it’s excited or wants attention. It will bark at things it hears outside. It will bark at other dogs to “communicate” with them. So for those of you who can’t stand hearing the barking of a dog in real life, stay away from this, because it’s absolutely no different.

Even eating and drinking water are sounds that are ingeniously generated through Nintendogs. When your pup drinks from its little bowl, you will hear the “tongue lapping” and “gulping” that normal dogs do when quenching their thirst. When feeding it dry food, you will hear the “crunching” of the kibble inbetween your dog’s teeth. If you happen to give it canned food, his eating won’t nearly be as noisy since that kind of food obviously isn’t crunchy.

Your dog also has emotions too, and it won’t be afraid to show them. But that will really only happen if you give it a reason too, by that meaning MISTREATING it! If you do anything of any sort that might be considered “rough” to a puppy, your dog will let you know he or she doesn’t like it. It will yelp, it will whine and it will growl if it isn’t pleased with something you did with it. Now that doesn’t go to say you might not do anything on accident to make your pup do that, but normally they are quick to forgive you and warm right back up to your attention.

So to put it simply, the music is there to keep the atmosphere happy and cheerful. Who wouldn’t want that in a dog simulation game? Also, just treat your puppy with love and kindness, and you will never really have to worry about it sniping back, disobeying or making your life as miserable as his or hers. Like stated before, if you don’t know how to take care of a puppy, or any kind of dog for that matter, Nintendogs is a great alternative to risking the improper treatment (intended or not) of a real dog!

Nintendogs is without a doubt one of the most innovative and interactive pieces of software to have ever come from Nintendo. Miyamoto is to be praised forever for not only coming up with an out-of-this-world concept, but also capitalizing on it by having it utilize the features of the beloved DS in the most impressive manner to date.

Let’s start with the stylus. This has several functions and all of them are incredibly intuitive and fun to use. To start off, the stylus is used to navigate through the game’s many menus. But like stated before, they are extremely well-marked and organized so going through them should never be a problem. The D-Pad actually never has to be used in this game, so having the stylus come into play that much is just awesome.

You will also use the stylus to interact with your dog on all the varying levels. Petting your pup is an absolute must in this game, as it will keep it happy and make it easier on you to teach it varying tricks at your command. Pretty much anything you want your puppy to do will be executed through the use of your stylus. This will include petting its head, lifting its paws, rubbing its belly, grabbing its tail and so on and so forth. The stylus acts like your human hands, and virtually anything you could do in real life with your puppy, you can do it with the stylus in Nintendogs.

The stylus also comes into play when using toys or going for walks. In your toys inventory, you can whip out anything from a tennis ball to a rubber chewing bone and so on. You will then use the stylus in a sort of “throwing” motion to toss them in your pup’s general direction, which will then in proceeding cause your puppy to chase after whatever you threw. The same goes for walking. When choosing to take your pup out for a walk, you will first use the stylus to trace a path anywhere around your immediate neighborhood and back to your house. You will have to keep note of your dog’s stamina as it will only go as far as that meter can go down. You must get the line trace back to your front door before it empties, or else you have to draw a different path. Once the walk begins, you use the stylus to hold its leash and allow it to do whatever it needs to do. This may encompass doing his or her “business” like noted before, finding presents along the way and giving them to you, interacting with other dogs on walks, or visiting the various places that you can go to on your journey!

Nintendogs also makes incredible use of the DS’ built-in microphone. You will utilize this to not only name your pet, but to call it, give it voice command recognitions and so on. Near the beginning of the game, you will say your pup’s name into the mic and it will eventually recognize your voice and come to you when you call it. But when it comes to training it to do tricks, it’s a bit more involved. This will involve the combined use of the stylus and microphone. Your pup can learn up to three tricks a day and can hold a supposed maximum of 14 in its memory banks. This can include the simple tasks of sitting and lying down to the much tougher tasks of begging and backflips! Any time you either manipulate the movement or position of your dog or when it might actually do it itself unintentionally, that is your cue to teach it that voice command. So when you get your dog to sit, a light bulb will appear in the upper right portion of the touch screen. Any time your dog executes a trick, your job is to tap on that light bulb, then as clearly as possible, say the voice command that you wish to associate that trick. Some tricks like sit take little to no time for your pup to get a hold of and learn, while others like begging take a bit more dedication. Regardless of what it is, the light bulb icon and your voice recording are key to helping your puppy understand you. It’s also critical to maintain a consistent tone and volume of voice, or else you may very well confuse your puppy and it may never learn what you want it to

The DS’ wireless capability is also utilized very nicely in Nintendogs. Any time you may be near another person with a DS and a copy of Nintendogs, you can go into what is known as “Bark Mode.” This basically enables the wireless function of the game, and if you detect a DS with the same game operation nearby, you can play with another trainer’s puppy! You also have the option of recording a voice message that can be heard when your trainer info is displayed to the other person, and if they accept, you may do whatever you wish with each other!

Next we have competitions. These encompass events for disc throwing, agility courses and obedience trials. Disc competitions are fairly self-explanatory. You have a flying disc in your hand and you must throw it within range of your pup’s running ability so that it will catch it and be awarded points. Throw it the farthest distance and you will win, simple. Agility courses are a little more complicated, in that they require you to guide your dog through an obstacle course designed for dogs. There are hurdles for it to jump over, tunnels for it to run through, seesaws for it to climb and poles for it to weave in and out of! Have the least number of faults and the fastest time and you win! As for obedience trials, this is where your dog’s loyalty to the trick training its been through is put to the test. Each level of the competition requires your pup to know differing skills of complexity, and you must have your pup execute them within the time limit to receive a good score. Beat out the second place entrant in the judging and you will win! Winning competitions nets you trainer money that you can spend at the pet store or buying various models of new houses to take your pup into for the future!

You also have to make sure your puppy maintains a healthy looking body correct? That’s a given with any dog, real life or Nintendogs universe. Any time you need to wash your puppy, simply select whatever shampoo you need from your inventory and begin sponging away! Just be careful not to get any in their face or eyes, they tend to not like that. But once you’re done making your dog’s coat beautiful again, switch to the shower head and rinse away! After you’re done rinsing it off, it’s a good idea to brush its fur to maintain good consistency. It’s not required, but it will make your dog happy and make competitions easier for your pup since it will look very nice!

Finally, we have our group play. You have the option of caring for three dogs at once. You can choose to leave current dogs at a “hotel” while you adopt newer dogs and then you can have all kinds of puppy friends! How well your current dogs will take to newcomers is truly unpredictable, but it seems more often than not they will like each other in the fact that they have a permanent buddy to play with!

What more could you really ask for in a Nintendo DS game? It’s just too darn perfect in utilizing the DS’ awesome features in allowing you to realistically take care, play with and train a virtual puppy! Any dog lover or person that desires a dog, this is a great way to go, and far less expensive as well!

Nintendogs easily has some of the most replay value of any game out there ever. It’s virtually a never ending game simply because it’s a pet simulator that allows you to take care of your own dog! Your dog will not die, and whether or not it will actually grow and mature seem to be unseen. But regardless of that, there’s always something that you can do with your puppy, it’s just like you would be interacting with one in real life! A real dog is an animal you can interact with on a daily basis and it’s no different in this case. The fun is always there, the competitions are fierce and you can always erase what tricks your dog(s) may know and teach them new ones that are more complex!

Nintendogs is without a doubt a Shigeru Miyamoto masterpiece. Now obviously not everyone will take quite as much a liking to it as others have, but that still doesn’t take away that Nintendogs is just incredibly well-done and designed. Everything that encompasses the care taking of a puppy is in this game. It’s an awesome alternative for those that can’t afford to own a dog themselves or simply just can’t for whatever reason. The game simply looks awesome and jaw droppingly realistic in almost all aspects. The music is always cheerful, and your puppy will make all the sounds a puppy is known to make. There’s almost no reason not to love how Nintendogs utilizes each of the DS’ features in the way it does simply because they are all so intuitive and well-implemented. Many people probably think Meteos is the best DS game out right now, Nintendogs seems to be able to easily dethrone that game in this regard. It’s one of the most interactive gaming experiences to ever grace a Nintendo system, and my goodness is it entertaining. To put it simply, you will most likely love this game. Why? Because it’s something different, and something FUN.