This Ubisoft title continues the Petz game series, a continuation of the 2006 Dogz Fashion, where an adopted puppy takes center stage. Players get all the aesthetic controls plus a nice training/activity menu for their proud puppy with an 11-year-old girl as the main character. The graphics are strong compared to comparable titles, evening beating some by a hair, and the Nintendo DS touch capabilities are well used here. Activities mainly comprise of dress up, training, tricks, going outside the house and the necessities like eating food and drinking water. No need for pooper scoopers for these pups – clean up is not required though most parents would probably love to have that element included.
Puppy movements and actions create some smooth game play with players getting high levels of control, an essential part of any simulation game. The eight dog breeds include Labrador retrievers, Chihuahuas, toy poodles and Boston terriers. The varied, yet simple game play involves a free format of daily activities until players choose to stop at night time or just exhaust all the puppy’s vigor without penalty.
The mini games include the usual dog sports, such as catch the Frisbee, plus more educational activities like memory games and finding mistakes in the environment. There are plenty of fun challenges here plus a few “touchy” hurdles that take some time to master. For example, shooting the basketball was easy, but getting the direction right was hard. Most mini games give a nice buffer zone, so when players get close they usually win. The jump timing in the obstacle race was one of the hardest challenges. The mini games mainly provide players money for spending on fashion accessories and other items. Players even get coins from just trying some of the 16 challenging mini games. Besides more coins, puppy reactions help motivate players to advance through the activities.
After earning enough money and plenty of trick training, like salutes and begging, players enter the Sunday contests to advance or just have fun snapping pictures of their fashion creations, well anchored with a more than 400 fashion related pieces, the bulk of the item cache. Players have fashion power in the environments ,too. Furniture and wallpaper arrangements open up some nice learning and aesthetic interactions.
Helpful options include camera zoom and picture taking when the camera icon appears. Seeing the microphone icon also prompts players to call the puppy’s name. This audio feature could open up even more future possibilities with voice recognition, allowing players to have expanded and hopefully different options. Once a player finishes the final contest, he or she can choose another pup while keeping all the same hard earned abilities.
Included download and multiplayer play modes, the touch screen capabilities and microphone abilities compromise a well rounded title. Will cat, hamster, bunny and horse fashion titles soon follow? As long as young tikes continue snapping up these tactile interactives.
Petz Dogz Fashion is rated E (Everyone) by the ESRB.