|Release: March 27, 2011|
|Screen Resolution: N/A|
by James Trujillo
Being a successful launch title on a new platform is a challenge. However, being one of the most successful game designers of all-time can sure give you an edge. With colossal hit franchises like Donkey Kong, The Legend of Zelda, and a little plumber named Mario to speak on his behalf, it's no wonder that everything he touches practically turns to gold.
Shigeru Miyamoto's videogame track record is a thing of legends, but his ability to bring the cute is up there too. Nintendogs for the Nintendo DS was an instant hit, but this time Miyamoto decided to take things a bit further with Nintendogs + Cats, his new launch title for the Nintendo 3DS.
Much like its predecessor, Nintendogs + Cats will feature multiple releases with subtle differences. The game will have three different versions to choose from, Nintendogs + Cats: French Bulldog & New Friends, Nintendogs + Cats: Golden Retriever & New Friends, and Nintendogs + Cats: Toy Poodle & New Friends. Each game will contain its titular breed, along with eight other varieties to select at the start, and will contain all twenty-seven dog breeds that can be unlocked over time. However, the game only features a total of three cat breeds: Persian, Siamese, and Tabby.
The gameplay showcases many of the same qualities as the original Nintendogs, but improves upon them to show off the 3DS' capabilities. Playing with your pet looks better than ever, as the 3D aspect gives incredible depth to the room when tossing out frisbees or other toys at your disposal. Even when playing the game in standard 2D, the graphics look significantly better, with improved texture details and smoother animations for your pet's many movements.
The use of the touch screen has even taken on a slight change in location from its view-screen counterpart. The bottom touch screen on your 3DS will include a silhouette of your pet once it is selected from the menu. This is where you can pet, groom, and use other commands with your stylus to keep away clutter from the 3D viewing screen at the top. Voice commands will also be a part of the game again, but unfortunately we didn't get to see any new additions to this feature in our short presentation.
Nintendogs + Cats will make use of the 3DS camera with an all-new facial recognition feature. If you bring yourself close enough to the camera lens, your pet will give an appropriate reaction to your movements. An excited dog may close in fast for a quick lick to the face, while a more playful pet might mimic you with head tilts.
Other than a few new additional features, fans of the original will be familiar with what the game has to offer. An assortment of competitions for your pet to compete in will return, but Nintendo has yet to announce exactly what those might entail. They also brought back a multitude of accessories for your furry friends to wear, including a variety of collars, sunglasses, and hats for those who love to play dress up.
At first glance, Nintendogs + Cats doesn't feel drastically different from the original, aside from the obvious addition of cats and a few 3DS specific features. However, if Nintendo delivers on the expanded multiplayer aspect that they've been teasing at, it could very well be a defining factor for many who might still be on the fence. It seems odd that they've been keeping a lot of new details under wraps. My only hope is that Miyamoto is waiting to give everyone a big surprise when the game hits the shelf on March 27th.
CCC Freelance Writer