How to take care of pets 101.

Title: Little Friends: Dogs & Cats
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Developer: Imagineer
Publisher: Sold Out
Release date: May 28, 2019
tl;dr: Tamagotchi but with “real,” pets.
Price: $50 / £40
Family Focus: Click here for more information.

As you’d expect, Little Friends: Dogs & Cats doesn’t have a story mode per se. The only goal here is to keep your little furry friends, cats and dogs, fed and happy.

Little Friends: Dogs & Cats is pretty straightforward. The game has you choosing between three different breed of dogs as your first pet. Once you’ve selected your first furry friend, the daily routine of maintaining a pet begins. At first, players are limited as to what they can do with them, but activities such as petting your dog will increase the love your pet has for you, and it will level up. As your pet levels up, you unlock new activities and purchasable toys (more on that below). After reaching a certain level, players can alternatively brush their pet instead of simply petting.

If you want, you can also take a break from petting your dog and take them on a walk outside. During each walk, your pet has three objectives: the length of the walk, marking the territory (yep it’s what you think), and searching. Every time you come across balloons on your walk, it’s an indication of a small treasure hidden, so your pup can dig and find a financial reward. To mark its territory, you’ll come across small wooden boards where your puppy will relieve itself. You can also have it run by pressing down the A button. Walking with your dog also helps with increasing their love for you. Another way to have your pet get a breath of “fresh air,” is the ability to do Frisbee throwing with your animal. You can do it just for fun, or as you progress, you can unlock a Frisbee throwing competition in which you and your pet can partake, where there are different levels from easy to difficult. Practice makes perfect.

Once you reach level 15 with your first pup, you’ll unlock the Animal Park, where you’ll be able to select your second pet of either species. Whether you choose cats or dogs, you’ll have to select one among three different breeds.

Additionally, when you pet, brush your pet, or take walks, players are rewarded with a set amount of money which can in turn be used to buy food and toys. Out of the gate, players have generic toys to use in order to get in some play time with their pets, but as you progress, you can buy new toys, even squeaky ones! Unfortunately, purchased toys have a limited amount of use.

If you’re a fan of The Sims, I have some good news for you! As you progress through this virtual pet experience, you’ll be able to unlock new furniture and home designs so you can make your home more pet friendly or simply give your virtual home a nice little facelift.

Unfortunately, the game’s presentation is quite lacking. The visuals look like a game directly ported from the Wii. While not a bad thing per se, I was expecting a bit more realistic look for the pets. The dogs looks acceptable, but some cats when looking at them face forward reminded me of the “beautiful,” pasted face Max Payne visuals. Furthermore, when you feed your pets, it lacks a certain realistic touch – pets move their mouth while the food vanishes. Sound wise, it’s fine. You’ll entertain your pets to soothing, upbeat music which will put a smile on your face. It’s quite forgettable, but oh so enjoyable in the moment.

So is Little Friends: Dogs & Cats worth your time and money? Definitely. Mostly because it’s perfect for everyone in the family, but it can also teach kids what taking care of pets entails. Petting your pets, taking your dog for a walk, and playing with your dogs and cats is entertaining, but don’t expect to do it for hours on end as it gets repetitive fast. If you can get over lackluster presentation, it’s the perfect way to relax at the end of the day.

The Good

  • Closest thing you’ll get to the real thing
  • Addictive gameplay
  • Very relaxing

The Bad

  • Can take a while to level up
  • Not ideal to play for long sessions
  • Repetitiveness galore!

Family Focus

Little Friends: Dogs & Cats is perfect for everyone in the family. As close as you can get without actually owning a pet. Can also teach young ones the responsibilities of having a pet.

This review is based on a review copy of the game provided by the developer for the purposes of this review.