Nintendogs: Labrador and Friends
Hooray! Nintendogs is finally here! The chances are, if you have a DS, that you’re pretty excited about this game. If you’re not, where have you been for the last year? The first big Nintendo title properly tailor-made for the DS, Nintendogs is conceived by Shigeru Miyamoto and has surprise and joy for you at every turn. Even before you buy it – and you must buy it – you must make a choice, as Nintendogs comes in four different versions, each boasting a different array of dogs. There are plenty of breeds to choose from, and whether you’ll go for a spotty Dalmatian, a solid Labrador, a loyal Dachsund, a playful Beagle, or a tiny but proud Chihuahua is up to you. There are six breeds in total on each version.
Once you’ve chosen the game, you’ll still have to choose your puppy, and whichever breed you plump for, there’ll be a litter of three to choose between at the kennel. Then it’s time to take your new best friend home. Your apartment is the default area in Nintendogs, and this is where you get down to the serious business of training your new pup. The game uses voice recognition technology, and by speaking clearly into the built in microphone on your DS you can teach your dog his name, and then to do increasingly complicated tricks on command. You’ll also want to take the little fella on walks, and walk mode allows you to plot your route round the surrounding neighbourhood. As a responsible member of the community, you’ll need to keep an eye on your pup – if he poops, it’s up to you to clear it up. And you might want to stop him rummaging through bins, too. Whilst out walking, you can visit the store to stock up on dog food, go to the park, and meet other dogs. You’ll also find the occasional pressie lying around – a Frisbee, a football, a rubber bone.
Training your dog at home and playing Frisbee in the park is fun, but there are also competitions you can enter to prove you’re the best, and win money too. All this makes a pretty absorbing game by itself, but Nintendogs has another trick up its sleeve. The DS’s wireless abilities are exploited like never before. Close your DS and put it in your pocket and ‘Bark Mode’ is automatically activated. Pass within DS range of another person who’s done the same and your dogs will ‘smell’ each other and bark to alert you. You can then have an impromptu session as your dogs get to know each other. It’s like when you’re walking a real dog and you stop in the street to talk to another dog-walker while your four legged friends sniff each others’ bums. Nintendogs is an absorbing game that you can take anyway and may even help you make new friends. Nintendo goodness at its very best.
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