I won’t lie, pet sims really aren’t the types of games I go for. That said, I did purchase the original nintendogs when I started on the Nintendo DS. The title felt like the best way to experience all of the tech within the dual screen handheld; so, despite the nature of the genre, I’m versed in the world of nintendogs…because I’m a nerd.
nintendogs + cats takes the previously tried and true pet simulator approach by Nintendo, refines it and adds a great take on the 3DS’ 3D capabilities. You’ll select your pooch, walk it, wash it, feed it and play with it. Just like before, you’ll use the touch screen to interact with the pup and the mic to teach the dog his or her name and a few tricks.
As with the first, everyday pet tasks are their own mini-games. Playing fetch, visiting the pet store and giving baths are all things that should fall into the world of the mundane; however, each is presented in a fun and jovial manner. And that works towards turning the boring into the enjoyable, thus making nintendogs + cats actually fun.
nintendogs + cats adds, brace yourselves, cats. Nintendo’s creative titan, Shigeru Miyamoto, said that the inspiration to add cats came from his own pets and their relationship. The animals get along together, so why not build from that relationship and make it a larger experience. Plus, according to Miyamoto, nintencats just didn’t sound like something Nintendo would do. So nintendogs + cats became the obvious inclusion.
The animals work just fine. It’s nice to see the bond and rapport form between the species, and they play in unique ways that, to those that like pet sim experiences, will likely draw a hum and murmur from players. A whole lot of “Awwwwwww,” and whatnot.
The 3D here is among the best conceived and delivered on the 3DS so far. While my personal preference leans towards Pilotwings Resort for the best of the launch catalogue, in terms of presentation and shear quality, it can be argued that nintendogs + cats isn’t far off from the number one spot.
The only other hardware usage that this game specifically employs involves the camera. And, I’ll admit, the only reason I sought this out came from hitting the game’s wiki. It was, otherwise, largely unnoticeable beforehand. The game uses the camera on the 3DS to allow pets to recognize their owners. Creepy, I know. But you’ll play with a much happier pooch or cat than a stranger will. And, if you tilt your head, your dog tilts its head…too bad you’ll look like a moron. Cool features, but file them under “totally unnecessary.”
Graphically, nintendogs + cats is downright pretty. Dogs and cats will come close to the player, then run away and mingle in the center of the massive room in your imaginary house. As they do this, the 3D effect is especially apparent. The colors are muted and the sound is less than overwhelming, so the presentation has a tendency to fly in under the radar. But, if you stop and bask in the look and feel of nintendogs + cats, you’ll likely be blown away. The 3D here is that good.
And that’s why I’m okay with recommending nintendogs + cats to the Crave audience. It’s a pet simulation game; it won’t be for everyone out there. You’re buying a puppy and kitty petting farm in a 3D handheld, you won’t be enthralled. However, the look, the quality, the 3D effect and the superb presentation place this title near the top of its class. Pick this one up if you’re looking to try out the features the 3DS offers… or if you absolutely love pet sims. Either way, you won’t be disappointed.