Review: Nintendogs vs. Nintendogs + Cats

The Nintendogs games are a popular set of virtual pet games from Nintendo, created for Nintendo DS. Suitable for all ages with a rating of E for Everyone, the play is easy enough for very young children while complex and engaging enough for adults.

My family has owned this game for several years now, with my toddlers, preschoolers, and older kids, as well as the parents, all playing. When Nintendogs + Cats came out for the 3DS, we had to grab one of those, too. Here’s my review to pick the right game for your family.

NintendogsThe difference between the versions of the original Nintendogs games is simply a matter of which dogs are available to players to start with.

All breeds are eventually unlockable in all games. Most of the breeds unlock as the player gains enough trainer points by taking care of their puppy, but two unlock with special items found on walks.

The basic gameplay is simple: You walk your puppy, feed it, play with it, dress it up in cute hats and accessories, teach it tricks, brush it, and bathe it.

In the beginning your puppy’s stamina bar is very tiny, so walks have to be short and close to home. On walks, puppies can find presents, trash to get into, or friends to play with. You can stop by stores to pick up supplies, parks to play or practice, or the gym to train your puppy. In time the puppy’s stamina will build up so that longer walks can be taken.

Dogs can enter three contests a day. The contests are a disc competition, an agility competition, and an obedience competition. You get to pick which you want to do and how many times to get to your three contest limit. If your puppy places, it will earn a trophy and a cash prize.

You can have three puppies at a time in your house, and there’s a doggy hotel where you can stash puppies you need to move to make room for another breed, but don’t want to give up..

This is one game that has always ranked amongst the favorites to play for all ages in this house.  Our preschooler did have a problem in the beginning with occasionally returning a puppy because she couldn’t read and didn’t know what she was doing, but otherwise she was able to play completely on her own and loved it

What’s not to love about a virtual puppy in your DS that is always happy to see you and play with you?

The only negative is that you can’t have more than one profile on the same cartridge.  Either players have to share the puppies and the house – which is how we do it now that we have four kids wanting to play – or you have to have different cartridges for each player.

You can, however, meet up with other players wirelessly for your puppies to play together at the park, or exchange presents, which is a feature my kids always really liked.

Unlockable Breeds

How to get the Dalmatian and Jack Russell Terrier

Jack Russell Terrier – Find the Jack Russel book while walking your dog.

Dalmatian – Find the Fireman Hat while walking your dog.

Nintendogs + Cats

Nintendogs+CatsNintendogs+Cats keeps the core gameplay that made the original the awesome virtual pet game it was, but with upgrades, for example there’s more freedom in the walk system, and, of course, on the 3DS the graphics are updated.  In other words, the pets are even cuter.  They’re also more responsive, recognizing their owners voices.

Cats are the biggest change.  While they can’t participate in the competitions, nor do they go on walks, cats can be bathed, dressed up, petted, cared for, and played with.  It is more difficult bring a cat home than it is to get a dog.  My daughter, who wanted this game strictly because of the cats, was not thrilled that it took her days of running her pup through competitions to earn enough money to bring a kitten home.  She was also disappointed there were no out-of-the-house activities for cats.

You’re still limited to three pets at home, with extra room at the pet hotel.  You’re also still limited to one profile per cartridge.

In considering which game to buy, Nintendogs vs. Nintendogs+Cats, the most important concern is which Nintendo DS system you have.  Any Nintendo DS can run the original Nintendogs, including the 3DS and new 2DS.  Nintendogs+Cats, on the other hand, can only run on the 3DS and the 2DS.

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