Nintendogs + Cats preview: pet-y differences

You have five minutes with Nintendogs + cats on the 3DS. What do you do? Ohmigod, you totally pet them and rub their bellies and scratch their heads and make them super happy! Unfortunately, there wasn't much else to do in the extremely restricted demo offered by Nintendo. In my short time with it, I was able to notice just two things: the graphics really are a generational leap over the DS and cats are so much harder to please than their canine counterparts.

Calling your Nintendog is rather simple, and the "gameplay" offered in the 3DS version is not too different from its predecessor. You can use the stylus to pet it and you can even use swipe gestures to have it roll over. Rub enough in the right places and stars will come out of the dog's eyes, indicating its rather happy disposition. You can then use a variety of toys and accessories with your pet. I quickly gave him a cowboy hat. Because how could you not?

Unfortunately, the cat was a bit more finicky, requiring more attention and effort when calling. You can tap the cat icon on the touch screen to call her over, but she seemed totally okay with not responding. Even after a vigorous head scratching, she never seemed too enthralled by my presence. I'll win you over yet, cat!%Gallery-95716% Unfortunately, many of the cool additions to the 3DS sequel were locked out in the demo, including the new augmented reality feature, which uses AR Cards to beam a virtual pet into the real world (not unlike EyePet).

Nintendo is promising some pretty remarkable technological advances for the game, including facial recognition that allows your pet to recognize you. StreetPass will let you exchange puppies, kittens and presents with other players wirelessly and the 3DS' support for downloadable content means you'll be able to get new pet accessories at any time. Even the pedometer is used, letting you walk your puppy even when the system is in sleep mode.

Like Nintendogs on the DS before it, the 3DS generation will also fragment breed selection based on which variation of the title you buy. Although Nintendo is promising over 20 breeds, they'll be spread across three different cartridges: French Bulldog, Toy Poodle and Golden Retriever. And, as with most every other game at today's preview event, there's no solid release date for Nintendogs other than "launch window."

This article was originally published on Joystiq.