Review: Nintendogs (DS)

From the creator of Mario, Donkey Kong, Zelda…Nintendo DS $29.99

Nintendogs is a pet simulation game that plots you as a puppy trainer. There are no bosses and no game endings. Sounds straight forward enough though it’s not the premise of the game that makes it an extreme pleasure. It’s the first class gameplay, new interface mechanics, and slick presentation that make it a hit.

So what do you do that makes it fun? It’s difficult to describe without seeing and experiencing it first hand. You talk to your DS. You touch it (touching is good, right?). The electronic puppies get happy to see you and like when you feed, bathe, or pet them. They are amazingly lifelike and Nintendo does a good job narrating the entire process. I guess for me, I was taken back that I was able to name my dog and have it respond on cue. You can also train your puppies, take them for walks, collect an assortment of items, and enter your dogs in three different contests. I currently have three dogs all with extremely different personalities. One always gets dirty. One takes forever to walk just around the block. And the other is very loyal and dependent. In short, the game is so fun because it instills a level of care and interaction that you normally couldn’t get with the run of the mill game characters and their jerky movements.

This game has been selling hand over fist for good reason. Nintendogs is one of the most creative games released in a long time, if not in the past several years. Even the NY Times has reviewed and liked it. Not hardcore, I know, but who cares while your having this much fun. Now I understand pet simulations are nothing new, but Nintendo just nailed the genre with voice commands that work, and a sense of responsibility and feeling I never thought possible in a game. At least with me, I really want to make sure my “digital dogs” aren’t hungry or thirsty.

Play or Stay? Play. If you don’t have a DS, the time is now. I would gladly pay the $160 just to be able to play this game. And the replay value is N/A because it contains infinite play. 9/10