If you were a fan of the nintendogs franchise, you may be wondering where the next entry for Nintendo Switch is. Sure, they appear in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate as assist trophies, but those who want to care for them instead of watching them interrupt a heated Smash match are left out. During PAX East, I had the chance to play Little Friends: Dogs and Cats at developer Imagineer’s booth. If you have been craving a new nintendogs, this is the game for you. Already released back in December in Japan, the exclusive Nintendo Switch title will be making it’s way to more regions including North America and Europe on the 28th of May.
Little Friends is a virtual pet simulator, the first of it’s kind on the Nintendo Switch. Similar to the last iteration of nintendogs, you will be able to choose from a variety of puppies and kittens to raise, play with, pet, feed and even dress up. Upon starting up the demo in handheld mode, I was prompted to select a pet to adopt out of 3 choices. I chose a Labrador Retriever, one of the 6 breeds of puppies found in the game. If you are more of a fan of kittens, you will have the choice between 3 different breeds. You will give your pets a name, take care of them and build a bond that grows stronger the more that you interact with them. You will be able to keep 3 pets in the same room at the same time, as well as utilize the pet hotel to keep up to a total of 12 pets to swap between.
In my demo session, I was more limited in what I could do compared to the full game, but I got a good feel on how it works and a look at the impressive animations and detail on the pets. I got to pet my dog using the touch screen(always a pleasure seeing touch screen support!) which felt in line with how nintendogs worked with the stylus on the DS and 3DS iterations. Petting your puppy or kitten will help to raise your bond with them, and each one even has certain sweet spots that they prefer to be pet in. Pets will have a preference for food and even different play preferences, it’s all about learning what they like best and helps to set each one apart and give them personality. The demo didn’t allow for it, but you can also take your pets on walks and even enter flying disc contests with them.
Fashion is another big aspect of the game, and it offers a huge variety of choices. Over 600 clothing accessories are available to unlock for your pets, all from within the game and no microtransactions. New toys will also be unlockable, as well as different furniture for the room to really make it the way you want it. Choices for clothing included glasses, shirts, hats, a skirt, bows and more. With all of the choices and unlocks, you’ll be able to dress your pets in tons of different outfits to make them really stand out. After dressing them up, you can then screenshot to your hearts content to share your pets with the world on social media.
Being a Nintendo Switch exclusive, you will have the ability to take care of your pets on the go and then move them to the big screen in docked mode. I didn’t get to play in docked mode, but handheld was great and suits itself well to this kind of game. If you prefer docked play, you will need to play with the Joy-Con detached and in each hand, no Pro Controller support as certain aspects are built around the unique control set of the Switch.
Little Friends will be available on the Nintendo eShop as well as receiving a physical copy sold in stores. It will be sold for $49.99 in America or £39.99 for Europe on May 28th. It was a delight to check out at PAX East, and it surely scratches the itch for nintendogs fans.