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nintendogs + cats (Nintendo 3DS) Review

Review for nintendogs + cats on Nintendo 3DS - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Combined with Brain Training, nintendogs tumbled onto Nintendo DS to begin Nintendo’s push to widen their audience, giving it the springboard it needed to become a best selling console. Eager to replicate this, Nintendo have brought back the series for the launch of Nintendo 3DS, but does sequel nintendogs + cats do enough to let the digital dogs have their day once more?

As with the DS original, nintendogs + cats is sold in three versions: Golden Retriever & New Friends, French Bulldog & New Friends, and Toy Poodle & New Friends. Ultimately all breeds of dog and cat are available in each; your choice should depend only on which dog you want to play with first, each edition holding nine of the 27 breeds unlocked from the beginning. Your first destination is the kennel to pick your perfect pooch. Selecting a breed and a colour - selecting ‘Surprise Me!’ to the colour question can throw up some unique combinations - will generate three random dogs to choose from, varying in gender and personality, each vying for a place in your heart by bounding up to the screen in as endearing a fashion as a game has ever managed; impressive fur effects and expressive eyes that follow you, thanks to the 3DS’ inside camera, ensure your affection. Further breeds, and more items in the shops, are up for purchase as you gain more Trainer Points by caring for and interacting with your dog, or by StreetPassing players that own a breed not selectable in your kennel. Up to six animals can be owned at once, three in your house and three in the hotel.

Screenshot for nintendogs + cats on Nintendo 3DS - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Once home you must bond with your new dog, petting them until they trust you, then naming them by speaking into the microphone. You are then free to do as you will: in the house you can play with your pup with toys, teach it tricks with touch-screen actions and voice commands, and of course you need to feed, wash and water them. It’s also possible to take in-game photos of your creatures with a click of either shoulder button at any time during play, inside or outside, and dogs can be brought into your real home by placing down an AR Card - try using different cards.

You can cash-in on your canine companion by entering competitions, the only substantial way to make money to spend in the shopping district. The Disc competition takes its cue from Wii Sports Resorts’ Frisbee, starting off as a simple fetch task before demanding you throw the disc into highlighted areas accurately if you want to score the big points. Lure Coursing is an assault course / race, the lure controlled by a winding motion on the touch-screen, with obstacles such as jumping bars coming in later. Both of these work well, but the same can not be said with such certainty for the Obedience Trials, the stage to demonstrate your dog’s tricks. The final competition is only playable with an AR Card, so this can be a trial more for your patience than a test of your dog’s abilities to follow your voiced instructions, with failed responses common in poor lighting.

Screenshot for nintendogs + cats on Nintendo 3DS - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Walks are as big a part of nintendogs + cats as they are in any dog’s life. No longer can you plot a route beforehand; every walk is now down a straight road. Signs found on the sides of the street lead to new areas - whole new destinations, shops or training gyms - and numerous distractions litter the path ahead; your dog should be discouraged from rooting in bins and the like. Wearable accessories can be found in presents, but more often they contain materials that can be exchanged for exciting toys, which is less instantly gratifying than finding a gift outright. In-game characters and Miis that you have met via StreetPass turn up, offering advice and giving your respective dogs the chance to make friends - or enemies - of one another. Anybody StreetPassed is logged in a diary and can be ‘met’ in the park for a play session at any time. A pedometer mode allows players to take their dog for a walk by carrying their 3DS around in sleep mode; a nice compromise if you can’t spare the time to do much with your virtual pet on a particular day.

Screenshot for nintendogs + cats on Nintendo 3DS - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

The disappointing thing about nintendogs + cats is that not a whole lot has been done to progress the series - it’s refined over the DS version, but if you’ve played that, you’ve pretty much experienced this already, albeit with less visual loveliness, sans camera trickery and more awkward connectivity. The cats are an interesting addition, their inclusion sparked by Shigeru Miyamoto’s acquisition of a pet feline, though do little other than look adorable. As in real life, they’re happy to do their own thing; they occasionally respond to a call of their name, bring you a gift or chase a toy around, but more often they’ll be found sitting on window sills, scratching your room up, or hissing at your dog.

Screenshot for nintendogs + cats on Nintendo 3DS- on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Gameplay

Not a huge amount of variety. Each day of play is similar: walk and care for your dog, take part in competitions, of which some work better than others.

Graphics

Adorable creatures that can be viewed easily from any angle with the Circle Pad; excellent fur effects. 3D adds a pleasing depth, especially when throwing items and on walks, but does not feel particularly essential.

Sound

Barking and charming little tunes galore, with a few that you’ll end up humming at random.

Value

Designed to be played in half hour or so sessions every day, it’ll last ages if you want to unlock everything. StreetPassing, and future SpotPass downloads, keeps things fresh, with extra characters appearing each time you’ve exchanged data with somebody new.

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Good - Bronze Award

About this score
Rated 7 out of 10

nintendogs + cats embraces elements of the 3DS such as StreetPass and the cameras, introducing the novelty of kittens as it goes, but otherwise acts as a refinement of the first game more than anything else. However, a virtual pet simulator of this nature in 2011 is not as exciting as it was six years ago when the genre was less common on consoles, and disappointingly it does not do much to push the series forward.

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 Buy Nintendogs + Cats: Golden Retriever & Friends (Nintendo 3DS) Buy Nintendogs + Cats: Golden Retriever & Friends (Nintendo 3DS)

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03.04.2011

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Developer

Nintendo

Publisher

Nintendo

Genre

Simulation

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  10/10 (3 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now    Also on Also on Nintendo eShop

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There are no replies to this review yet. Why not be the first?

If I'd never played the original I may have gotten this, but still it's nice to see Nintendo implementing AR where possible. Come on AR Pokémon!

This is my first time getting this game, and on side note i got it to make a basset hound named harley, to represent my current dog that is going to pass away soon... so kinda like a dedication to him. <3 Otherwise it's a fun game and love how the pets have the fr texture to them.

I think people who are playing this as their first nintendogs title will get more out of it than those who played the original, as really it's just an upgrade in visuals, connectivity and some fun uses of the 3DS features rather than anything new. Still a great little game.

(Sorry about your dog, Cinterium.)

Staff Member

I like how you reviewed the Golden Retriever version of the game! One of my favourite breeds, next to Labs. :3

I got this and I'm enjoying it. I played the original, but I think this has improved on everything. I love the new walking system and the pedometer is a great added feature.

I think I liked the random presents feature more in the original as you could get things like RC Helicopters, RC Mario Kart, Peach Kart, etc. it was really awesome when you got something like that, as they were rare.

I haven't had a chance to try out the competitions properly yet, I pretty much suck at the lure one and that's the only one I've tried. Smilie

AR is a great addition to this, as well as the ability to take snaps of your pet whenever you want. Really makes your virtual pet more than just virtual.

I think throwing the boomerang in this game is probably the most epic thing I've seen on the 3DS, just seeing it come back at you in 3D is really awesome.

If you haven't played the original and you're the type of guy/gal that likes pet simulators. Go out and buy this now. If you've played the original and you want something similar with a few new things, then I'll also recommend you get this.

Trust me, it's a lot better than the "Petz" series by Ubisoft. Smilie

Overall I'd give this a 7/10 for people who have played the original, but a 9/10 for people who have never played it and are interested in pet simulators.

Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Mush123 said:
Overall I'd give this a 7/10 for people who have played the original, but a 9/10 for people who have never played it and are interested in pet simulators.

That's a very fair assessment, and exactly how I feel. I got bored too quickly, purely because I played the original SO much and this seemed too similar. However, because of the upgrades and extras included, for a first-timer it's superb.

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
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Staff Member

jesusraz said:
Mush123 said:
Overall I'd give this a 7/10 for people who have played the original, but a 9/10 for people who have never played it and are interested in pet simulators.

That's a very fair assessment, and exactly how I feel. I got bored too quickly, purely because I played the original SO much and this seemed too similar. However, because of the upgrades and extras included, for a first-timer it's superb.

Yeah, I played the first one to death. I'm still enjoying this though, but not quite as much as I would if I was a first-timer. Smilie

Angus said:
If I'd never played the original I may have gotten this, but still it's nice to see Nintendo implementing AR where possible. Come on AR Pokémon!


You think Ar pokemon on the 3DS will be cool, imagine when we finnaly get decent AR enabled glasses!

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I loved the first one, but I did grow bored of it. It was nice while I played through it, just to unlock all the toys.

I'm sure many people would love this one, the fur looks quite nice on the puppies and since it's more of the same I'm sure loads of people, especially young girls, would go for this instead of PetZ games (or atleast I hope so).

Stuart Lawrence
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Staff Member

Stulaw said:
I loved the first one, but I did grow bored of it. It was nice while I played through it, just to unlock all the toys.

I'm sure many people would love this one, the fur looks quite nice on the puppies and since it's more of the same I'm sure loads of people, especially young girls, would go for this instead of PetZ games (or atleast I hope so).

The Petz games are absolutely atrocious. Well, imo anyways. At least Nintendo doesn't bring out a bunch of crappy pet simulators and they bring out one, solid one. (Albeit the different versions) That's a lot more than I can say for Ubisoft. Smilie

I have a question regarding toys, items and such: Are there any version-specific items like the originals? I really liked trading with other people just so I could get the other Mario Kart toys and whatever else was version-specific.

I don't think Nintendo included that in this one, but if they did, it would make me very happy. Smilie Can anyone answer this question for me?

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