Follow Danny's musings in his Nintendogs + Cats Journal!
Let me first start off by giving a little bit of background about my experience with the Nintendogs franchise. On the original Nintendo DS, I was one of the people who picked up Nintendogs on launch day. Being a university student at the time, I received a slight bit of ridicule from my friends, however, this did not keep me from talking to my Labrador, Jedi, in public. Nor did it shame me to bring home the large, barking, Nintendogs display from Gamestop that would have been on its way to the dumpster had my younger brother and I not saved it from a smelly end. While the original Nintendogs may have been a short lived experience for many, it made very interesting use of the DS technology and was one of the reasons why non-gamers have come back to gaming over the past few years.
On the day of the 3DS launch, I picked up Nintendogs + Cats: Shiba Inu and New Friends (which is going to be localized in the West as Golden Retriever and New Friends). The newest iteration in the Nintendogs series looks quite a bit better than it's predecessor and also offers a few things that were not available in the original version, with the most obvious being the addition of cats. The touch screen mechanics remain identical to what was found in previous Nintendo DS versions of Nintendogs, so fans from the original will feel right at home. One other feature that is coming back in the latest iteration of Nintendogs is the ability to reform your living space. With this, the player can completely change the style of their house, for example, by requesting a change for the room, you can go from an American country style room to a Japanese style room without much hassle. Additionally in the 3DS version, you are also able to purchase a variety of furniture such as sofas, book cases, and even a refrigerator.
I originally intended to sit down with the game for hour and hours on end, changing the system date and time to enable myself to participate in tons of events and to get as many trainer points as possible. While trying this out, I ran into a bit of a hitch when the system would not allow me to do this. A message was displayed telling me that even though I changed the date in the system settings, the system still knew how many times I participated in events and would have to wait until the next day (in real time) before I could try them again. That certainly came as a disappointment.
Even though the Shiba Inu is the dog featured in this version of the game, I could not resist the cuteness of the Golden Retreiver puppy. After shelling out a large sum of money in the game, I was able to bring the pup to my barren home in hopes of giving her a better life than the one she had at the pet store. I have spent a few days with my puppy, Hachi, and so far she has learned how to sit, shake, and roll over. At this point, we have also practiced extensively for the disc throwing competition which has paid off. In the junior disc throwing competition, we managed to get a first place score after a few tries. The Amateur level, though, has been a bit of a struggle. Hachi can catch the discs from a short distance, but usually just sits and watches the longer ones sail over her head. To make matters even worse, when she retrieves the disc, she'll sit on the ground playing with the darn thing while the event clock is ticking away and the other dogs are racking up points.
Similarly to the previous version of Nintendogs, you can also take your dog on walks. During these walks, you can come across other dogs being walked by their owners. This time the owner of the dog, represented by a Mii, greets you and has a few short things to tell you. It is an interesting touch and gives a bit more personality to the game. Up until now, I have only had the chance to play the game for a handful of hours and unfortunately have not been able to obtain a cat. However, I imagine that if I continually work on building my relationship with my puppy, I will get there soon enough.