You select a kitten from the 40 different breeds, and then customize it by choosing its markings, eye color, and whiskers. You can also decide if your kitty is female or male, and name it.
Your cat lives in your DS in a three-room abode with a garden. You can choose which room to have fun in, as you care for your virtual kitten by petting, playing, feeding, and grooming it.
The game is based on an allowance system. While you start with enough cash to buy your kitten, you will quickly run out of money by buying food and other items for your cat. To counter this money problem, the program gives you a daily allowance, based on how attentive you are to your cat’s needs. You can also add to your income by entering and winning cat shows, and by playing the four mini-games provided within the game. Extra income permits you to buy additional cats and cool stuff for your home and pets.
You interact with your cat by selecting what you want to do from a menu of icons. Tap the hearts icon, and you can pet your cat by simply rubbing your stylus over its body. Your kitten will purr, give off little red hearts to show it is happy, and preen and stretch so that you can reach all of its favorite spots.
Similarly, when choosing to groom your cat, the stylus becomes a brush that stirs up fleas as you stroke it over your kitten’s body. You will also use your stylus to scratch out clumps in the kitty litter box.
Playing with your kitten varies, depending on which toys you have purchased. There is a mouse, which you activate by swirling your stylus in a circle to wind it up. The mechanical butterfly flutters when you blow into the DS’s microphone.
Feeding involves using the stylus to shake out the food over your kitten's bowl, a container clearly marked with the word "Purina." Other Purina endorsements appear in the game.
To win a Cat Show, all you have to do is sign up and take good care of your cat over a 1-, 2-, 3- or 5-day period. If you win, you earn money.
Playing the four games also earns you extra money. Our testers' favorite was the Music Game. It combines Dance Dance Revolution mechanics with Elite Beat Agents gameplay to produce a game where the object is to tap on colored circles as music notes cross over them on the way down the screen. The other games are arcade and memory games.
While these kittens are cute, their antics were not enough to sustain the interest of our testers over time. The caring-for routine quickly changed from fun to obligation. Also, the game is buggy, with camera angles that stick your kitten's head into a wall, and screens that freeze up, requiring you to reboot the game.
If you are thinking of getting a cat, this simulation may turn you off to the idea instead of turning you on. Cats are much more entertaining in real life. And the price is a bit high, so you might want to rent instead of buy.
All tech products are judged on a five star scale by looking at the following factors: fun, education, ease of use, value, and technical.