Friday, 25 February 2011

3DS NEWS: More Nintendogs than Cats, it seems...

Nintendo have finally released details of the Nintendogs + Cats breeds that will be included in the new 3DS game, and unfortunately, the news has left us feeling more than a little disappointed.

Nintendogs + Cats is one of the 3DS launch games which will be available to buy from the 25th of March 2011 (Europe) and 27th of March (America)  along with the new 3DS console.

The game comes in three versions -  Golden Retriever, Toy Poodle and French Bulldog but although each game will differ in the initial type of breeds that will be available at the start of the game, the remaining dog and cats breeds can all be unlocked later.

The three game versions with their nine initial playable dog breeds are listed below:

Toy Poodle and Friends

Toy Poodle
Pembroke Welsh Corgi
Mini Schnauzer
Bull Terrier
Labrador Retriever
Shih Tzu
Jack Russell

French Bulldog and Friends

French Bulldog
Shetland Sheepdog
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
Yorkshire Terrier
German Shepherd
Basset Hound

Golden Retriever and Friends (AKA Shiba Inu & Friends in Japan)

Shiba Inu
Golden Retriever
Mini Pinscher
Great Dane
Cocker Spaniel

However, this is where our disappointment began, because even though the all three versions of Nintendogs+Cats will feature over twenty-seven different breeds of dog, they will only feature three breeds of cat: American Shorthair (Tabby), Siamese or Persian.  This came as a big surprise to us here at Mini Gamers, as we had expected at least eight breeds of cat to appear alongside their canine counterparts.

Furthermore, there is some suggestion that the cat breeds will not even be playable at the start of the game, but will have to be unlocked first, making them sound very much like an afterthought.

 The new features of  Nintendogs + Cats mean that there is now greater customisation between breeds. That means that players can choose different fur patterns, leg lengths and fur lengths for each of their dogs or cats. So even if you had three American Shorthairs within the game, they would all look different and have different personalities.

Furthermore, Cats within the game will act exactly like real-life kittens - they will sleep on windowsills, climb on bookshelves and other surfaces, claw at scratching posts and furniture, chase toy mice and generally do their own thing. They will also be able to recognise their owners via the new Facial Recognition Software.It sounds impressive, but we can't help thinking that the game would be even better if there were more cat breeds to choose from.

Japan has recently released this video trailer of Nintendogs + Cats:

Mini Gamers will be examining more 3DS launch games next month in the lead up to the 3DS release date. Keep checking in with the Mini Gamers blogsite for more news on this subject as it develops.


What do you think about the fact that there are only 3 cat breeds in the new game? Will this affect the overall enjoyment of the game?

Why not leave us a comment?

Mini Gamers would love to hear your thoughts on this subject.

Monday, 21 February 2011

Half-Term 'Boredom Busters' For Kids (Nintendo DS)

It is Half-Term for many kids in the UK this week, and whilst many will be happy to have a break from the daily routine of schoolwork and timetables, it is not usually long before boredom sets in.

However, if you, or your family are the lucky owner(s) of a Nintendo DS, then Mini Gamers may just have the solution. We take a look at Nintendo's range of fun, educational gaming software, which is sure to keep the kids happy, entertained and educated during the half-term break.

A Little Half-Term Reading:

What is it?

Produced by EA Games, the Flips videogame series turns the DS/DSi console into an E-reader. Each standard game cartridge contains between 6-8 unabridged novels from several popular children's authors like Eoin Colfer, Enid Blyton and Rick Riordan.

The books are completely interactive. As well as using the stylus to turn each page, the stories contain sound effects and animations, hidden items to collect, (such as coins or codes,)  simple explanations about various characters, and the chance to unlock bonus content such as interviews with the author or further short stories.

Who Does It Appeal To?

Boys and Girls aged between 6-12 years of age. Obviously, basic reading ability is necessary for this product.

Where Can I Find It?

Most Video Game stores have various Flips titles in stock. Some Waterstones stores also feature limited stocks. Online retailers such as and do feature New and Used copies for as little as £8.00.


Time To Get Those Brains In Gear:

Although videogames often get bad press for rotting children's brains and turning them into media zombies, the Nintendo DS also features a range of junior titles devoted to Brain Training and Problem Solving. The new Junior Brain Trainer 1, 2 and 3 (Maths Edition) are perfect for getting young children's brains into shape before school starts again.
What is it?

Junior Brain Trainer is based on the successful Dr. Kawashima's Brain Training, but it has a big advantage over the adult version in that is closely linked to the current National Curriculum Key Stages 1 & 2 to help develop reading, writing, spelling, maths, geometry, logic and problem solving skills, alongside what children are already being taught in the classroom.

Junior Brain Trainer utilises daily mini-games, which children can play to unlock various bonus content including quizzes and stories and other games.

Who Does It Appeal To?

Boys and girls aged between 5-11 years of age.
Where Can I Find It?

Most Video Game stores have the three Junior Brain Trainer titles in stock. Online retailers such as and also feature New and Used copies for as little as £10.99.


Find The Inner Artist:

Their are currently a few titles on the Nintendo DS which deal with the subject of Art, but Let's Draw has an uncomplicated style of teaching, which makes it the perfect tutor for young budding Picassos.

What Is It?

Let's Draw turns the DS into a portable Artists' easel. Children can use the stylus as a crayon or paintbrush and create a whole host of fun characters and designs.

However, the fun doesn't end there - once the art has been created, it can then be brought to life with full motion and sound effects in the Animation Studio mode. Children can also play a range of ten mini-games featuring their own creations.

This title also has spoken instructions, which means that it will be easy for even very young children to learn the various drawing techniques featured in the game.

Who Does It Appeal To?

Girls and Boys aged between 5-12 years of age with an interest in drawing.

Where Can I Find It?
This retails in most Video Game stores for around £14.99, but can be cheaper online. Retailers such as and also feature New and Used copies for as little as £9.99.


Unlock The Hidden Chopin:

Every fancied having a full music tutor that could fit inside your pocket? Easy Piano covers basic music theory and practical lessons within a fun and uncomplicated interactive framework.

What Is It?

Easy Piano is a virtual piano tutor for children. It comes with its own Piano Keyboard attachment and colour-coded stickers for the keys, which slots into the bottom of any DS or DS lite console.

 Unfortunately, the Easy Piano game and its attachable device is NOT COMPATIBLE WITH NINTENDO DSi CONSOLES as they do not have a Game Boy Advance slot at the bottom.

Easy Piano teaches children how to read and understand written music, as well as teaching basic lessons on pitch and timing. It features several music-related mini-games and even allows children to compose their own tunes.

Who Does It Appeal To?

Girls and Boys aged between 7-14 years of age with an interest in piano music.

Where Can I Find It?

This retails in most Video Game stores for around £24.99, but can be cheaper online. Retailers such as and also feature New and Used copies for as little as £9.95.


So, that completes the Mini Gamers recommendation list for some educational and interactive Half-Term fun. We hope that you found it useful.

One final tip however, The Nintendo DS also features many other educational titles that we haven't had time to mention.  Why not spend some time browsing the Internet to see what other titles are currently on offer.

Please note, the New and Used prices quoted in this blog post were correct at the time of publication, but they are subject to change, thus it might be worth shopping around to find some good bargains. 

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Gamesblog Live Debuts in London

The first ever Gamesblog Live conference took place in London today. The Guardian Newspaper's chief Games Corespondent, Keith Stuart  was responsible for hosting the event, which had been purposefully split into a morning and afternoon session in order to cater for a sell-out audience.

Mike Laidlaw talks about Dragon Age and Dragon Age II

Gamesblog Live featured talks by three of world's most impressive Games Developers to date: Nathan Camarillo, Executive Producer of Crysis 2: Crytek,  Andy Tudor, who is Slightly Mad Studios' Lead Designer on Shift 2 Unleashed, and Mike Laidlaw, Lead Designer on the ever-popular Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age II. Each talk was then followed by a hands-on with the game and an open Q&A session with the Developer.

Nathan Camarillo discusses the importance of creating stunning graphics
Gamesblog Live has been promoted as a way for gamers to get "the chance to meet the most talented developers in the world and find out how modern video games are created." [Keith Stuart, Gamesblog - The Guardian, 

One of the beautiful screenshots from Shift 2: Unleashed.

For more information about the Gamesblog Live Conference, please visit:

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Playstation Phone: More Details Announced...

Sony Ericsson revealed more details about their new Xperia Play Mobile phone (AKA 'Playstation Phone') at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona yesterday.

Sony Ericsson confirmed that a March release date had been set for the phone, however, specific worldwide release dates have not been discussed at this stage. 

The Xperia Play is based on Playstation technology and will allow mobile  users to access and download content such as Playstation One games and other Playstation Android-powered applications and games. 

Playstation Product Manager, Aaron Duke has also said that the launch of the device would be accompanied by an incredible fifty games by twenty different publishers. 

He went onto promise that the Xperia Play would not just deliver the standard low-budget games currently offered by some mobile phones, but that instead, the device would offer gamers: "true console quality games." [sourced:]

In case you are wondering about the kind of content that will be featured on the Xperia Play phone, we can now confirm that the following high-quality games will be available on the device: Dead Space, FIFA, Splinter Cell, Assassin's Creed (the first game in the series of the same name,) and even a Guitar Hero title. It is an impressive list already and will certainly add to the Xperia Play's pre-launch hype.

The Xperia Play will also come pre-loaded with the original and very popular Crash Bandicoot Playstation title, and there is evidence to suggest that EA's ever-popular Sims 3 might also be making an appearance on the device at a later date.

More PSone games will be available from the PlayStation Store after the launch date, some elements of which will be then available to more Android devices via Sony's new PlayStation Suite software.

The Xperia Play boasts a 1GHz ARM CPU, a 480 x 854 screen, the Android 2.3 Operating System and comes bundled with an 8GB microSD card.It will initially be available in America, via Verizon, but four major UK retailers have already confirmed that they will be stocking the device. 

Like us here at Mini Gamers, you might be wondering what kind of price tag such an impressive piece of technology might carry, but unfortunately Sony Erricson seem determined to keep that piece of information a closely-guarded secret for now. Be sure to check in with the Mini Gamers blogsite for future developments as they happen.

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Game of the Week: Magic Encyclopedia 2: Moonlight (DS/DSi)

Magic Encyclopedia 2: Moonlight  made its debut on the Nintendo DS/DSi this week. The game has been produced by Easy Interactive, and has been specially adapted for the DS and DSi consoles from an existing PC game series of the same name.

In Magic Encyclopedia 2: Moonlight, players take on the role of Katrina - a student a very special Magic School. When one of the Professors at the school goes missing; Katrina (and her brother Roger) set out on a mission to rescue him. 

Along the way players discover a terrifyingly dark secret about Katrina's missing teacher, and also help to unravel an ancient mystery, whilst piecing together parts of a powerful amulet.

The game features almost two thousand hidden objects to locate, spread throught its thirty-two levels, which will help players to solve the mystery. Finding hidden items is also a good way to build up tools and artifacts within the game.

Furthermore, the game also features eighteen separate mini-games that players will have to master in order to advance. Magic Encyclopedia 2: Moonlight also features an impressive set of four locations to explore, which are each presented in beautiful, hand-drawn 2D graphics.

In conclusion, this is a good game. The mini-games are very challenging and include tasks such as finding and re-arranging  pieces of a broken dagger, putting stones in the correct sequence to unlock a door, or moving liquid between three sets of jugs so that they all contain exactly eight litres.

If you want the magic and mayhem of a Harry Potter adventure mixed with Professor Layton style set of logical mini-games, then this is definitely the game for you. Overall rating: 8/10.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

'Playstation Phone' Has April 2011 Release Date?

Sony Ericsson has announced today that it will reveal its Playstation/Android mobile handset (now called the Xperia Play) to the world on the 13th February 2011 at the Mobile World Congress event, which is being held in Barcelona. The official reveal is expected to occur around 6PM British Time.

 News of the reveal comes after a lot of hype, speculation and debunking by various Playstation and Sony Ericsson officials. However, an advertisement for the product was recently released on YouTube and was also shown at the American Super Bowl this weekend, so an official announcement did somehow seem imminent.

It is not clear  exactly what details will be included in the Sony Ericsson reveal, but from what we know so far, the Xperia Play handset is capable of playing Android-powered mobile games and PS One games, although sadly it apparently will not feature PSP games. The Xperia Play will also be fully compatible with the newly announced Playstation Suite.

Furthermore, four major mobile phone providers (Vodafone,O2, T-mobile and Orange)  have now confirmed that they will be providing the Xperia Play, which according to a recent post by technology blog Pocket Lint, could be happening as soon as April 2011.

It is an exciting prospect and we at Mini Gamers are interested to see how the technology develops over the coming months. The move towards Mobile Gaming is growing more and more, and  this device is likely to be very popular when it launches.

So,what do you think? Will you be ordering your own Xperia Play in April?

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Playstation Suite Announced...

Sony have been very busy over the past month or so, as well as announcing their new handheld console - The Sony NGP - Sony have also revealed plans for a new Playstation Suite for use with Android Smartphones and Android-powered tablet PCs.

The Playstation Suite (or PS suite as it is quickly becoming known) will act like a version of the Playstation Network Store and will first feature the original Playstation One game titles, with  new 'Android' store titles becoming available at a later date.

According to gaming website, Engadget, the new Playstation Suite is equipped with a "neutral" framework so that the featured games should eventually be compatible with all mobile phones.

Furthermore, it is reported that the store will come with a Quality Assurance scheme, which has been called PlayStation Certified. In translation, this means that developers who wish to feature their software in the Playstation Suite will have to meet certain standards of quality before they can be certified for inclusion.

Very little is known about the Playstation Suite at this time, but it is has already been developed for the new Sony handheld and is also likely to feature on the new Sony Ericsson Xperia Play (or 'PSP phone').

Although neither Sony Ericsson nor Sony PSP bosses have admitted that the phone is in development, recently uncovered the following advertisement for the phone on YouTube:

Thus, it seems as though Sony is determined that its new gaming products should target the Mobile Gaming market, which became more prolific throughout 2010. 

Sony CEO, Jack Tretton recently spoke at the Playstation Meeting in Tokyo, saying: "We've always been about, what is the market? What is the opportunity? Seize the opportunity and differentiate yourself," [Source:]

Whatever your opinion about Sony's plans, the new Playstation Suite is certainly a very interesting idea. Mini Gamers looks forward to following the progress of all Sony's new gadgets as they develop.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Nintendo: No 3DS eShop At Launch, Says Iwata...

President of Nintendo, Mr. Sotaru Iwata has admitted that the 3DS eShop, which will allow users to download extra content including some DSiWare and retro GameBoy titles onto the new console, will not be available to gamers until at least two months after the console launches on the 25th March this year.

Originally, Nintendo had suggested that the 3DS might contain an update to allow users to download the eShop feature onto their console from day one, but this has since been changed.

Iwata said that: "The first system update is scheduled for late May, at almost the same time around the world..." [sourced:]

It is thought that the delay may  simply be an attempt by Nintendo to improve its digital distribution methods, as prior attempts such as the DSi shop and Wii Shop applications have failed to attract a great deal of attention from gamers despite a great deal of promotion at their initial launch.

Iwata claims that: "Wii Shop Channel and Nintendo DSi Shop, which are based on Internet-browser technology, have not provided the users with a sufficiently easy and accessible interface... As it is critical in digital software distribution that the software available there won't be buried and go unnoticed, and that we can prepare pleasant encounters for consumers, we will be running a drastically redesigned shop for Nintendo 3DS in which you can more comfortably purchase software through downloads." [sourced:]

May is not too far from the initial launch date but for some gamers, however, the lack of a useable eShop from day one could be seen as another of Nintendo's broken promises about the 3DS console.

What do you think?