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Nintendogs + Cats
The Bottom Line
Paws down, the cutest launch title for the new Nintendo 3DS. Animals have never looked so life-like (and cute) in a video game!
Available in three versions, Golden Retriever & New Friends, French Bulldog and New Friends, and Toy Poodle and New Friends, there are over 27 breeds of dogs, and many kinds of cats to befriend. Each game starts with nine dog breeds but more become available over time of playing.

Based on the original Nintendogs, which was released in 2005 to high critical acclaim, this new pet simulation game not only lets you become a virtual dog owner, but it also lets you own cats as well. You can have three pets at a time.
This is a game about caring for pets (feeding, walking, and grooming), which also allows you to play with them (throwing balls and other toys). With the puppies, you can teach them tricks using the stylus and your voice. You can also enter puppies into competitions in catching flying discs, chasing a lure, and performing tricks. As you earn money from winning competitions, you use it to buy pet supplies, furniture, pet outfits, additional pets, and pet toys.

Nintendogs + Cats is a great game to pick up for the new Nintendo 3DS because it shows off many of this handheld gaming system's perks: 3D graphics, use of augmented reality, use of the pedometer, and cool ways to connect to others. Plus it is an adorable game that is really fun to play.

With respect to the 3D graphics, which you can adjust by using the Nintendo 3DS slide bar, the animals look fabulously fluffy and real. Watching your puppies and kittens frolic in a 3D graphical space make these virtual pets seem even more alive. For younger children, viewing this game in 2D is still wonderful.
Nintendogs + Cats makes use of the Nintendo 3DS's augmented reality (AR) feature by creating a way for your dog to show up in your environment. For the Dog Obedience competition, you set down an AR card (provided with the system) anywhere in your home (or even on your lap) and then your puppy appears in 3D at that location. The 3DS uses its camera feature to incorporate your location. From that location, you give you puppy voice commands to do tricks and you are scored on how well your puppy performs in a limited time.

The 3DS comes with a pedometer built into this system. In Nintendogs + Cats, one of your options when taking your dog out for a walk is to leave the game on, but to close the lid of the device, and then slip it into your pocket. The game keeps track of your steps and rewards you with prizes for the number of steps you have walked. Every time you stop walking and open the 3DS, you will see an image of your dog walking over to pick up a prize for you. These prizes can be sold at the Secondhand Shop for in-game currency.
As for connecting with others, the game has a StreetPass feature which allows you to send a 3D photo of your dog and a present from you to any other owner of Nintendogs + Cats who has this feature activated. The game will automatically send it to anyone who comes near and you will likewise get a present from them and their pets can show up in the in-game park. Also coming is SpotPass where you will also be able to get special items by connecting to wireless Internet access points (this will happen at a future date when the 3DS's system is updated).

While animal-loving gamers of all ages will enjoy Nintendogs + Cats, it is a great choice for kids ages seven and up. This game teaches about pet care and responsibility. It gives kids wonderful opportunities to play with their virtual pet including throwing a ball, boomerang, and flying disc. The game even encourages kids to take breaks while playing, and to go out and take a real walk!
It also teaches kids the importance of practicing to get good at something. The only way to win the dog competitions is to practice. If you take your dog to the park and throw it the disc, the next time you enter a disc competition, your puppy will do better.

True to real life, kids will play more actively with the dogs in this game than the cats. Unlike real life, the kittens and puppies in this game never grow old nor will they die. And as in real life, these virtual pets will wiggle their way into your heart.

All tech products are judged on a five star scale by looking at the following factors: fun, education, ease of use, value, and technical.

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Nintendogs + Cats
Company: Nintendo
Price: 39.99
Platforms: Nintendo DS