Dora Puppy

Common Sense Media says

The perfect virtual pet game for preschoolers.

Age

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The game reinforces being a responsible pet owner, being aware of an animal's needs, giving positive reinforcement, budgeting one's earnings,and emphasizes the value of practice and the importance of cleanliness.

Positive role models

Dora is a perfect role model as a pet owner. She's caring, nurturing, responsible, and still remembers the value of fun and play.

Ease of play

The game is absolutely perfect for preschoolers to handle. Dora literally leads the player through every action. Older kids might feel reined in without the level of freedom that other virtual pet games offer, but for preschoolers, this is the right way to go.

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Language

The dog must be let outside to "tinkle."

Consumerism

This game is, of course, part of the ever-growing line of Dora the Explorer products. The instruction booklet has ads for other Nick Jr video games on the back cover.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that any child who longs for a virtual pet game, but is not old enough to handle a title like Nintendogs or one of the Petz series, can find exactly what they're looking for in this preschool-friendly animal sim. The game is utterly wholesome, requires no reading, and has a beloved character to guide kids through every step of the pet-care and competition process.

Parents say

Kids say

What's it about?

In the bluntly titled, DORA PUPPY, kids help Nick Jr cartoon star, Dora the Explorer, take care of her puppy, Perrito, and help train him for doggie competitions. Care involves washing and brushing, providing food and water, letting the dog outside to do its business, cleaning up pawprints, and playing several different games with the puppy. Kids earn tokens for each task, which they can use to buy new toys or clothes for Perrito, or to enter him into the Big Puppy Competition. The competition involves helping Perrito run an obstacle course and having him strike poses. All the actions are performed by either tracing certain shapes with the stylus or calling out commands into the DS's microphone.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Virtual pet games can be very appealing to young kids, but many of them require a ton of reading and the memorization of long lists of rules and commands. Not so Dora Puppy, which was designed very astutely with preschool-age players in mind (It's unclear why the ESRB did not give the game an EC, Early Childhood, rating). If your kid can trace shapes and make noises, they can play it. After some initial tutorials, there's a element of freedom -- kids can mostly choose whichever activity they want, whenever they want to -- but Dora is always along for the ride, reminding the player what to do each time. Her constant presence -- and constant reiteration of controls -- is the kind of thing that would drive older kids crazy, but the intended audience will find it helpful and reassuring. Preschooler should love to nuzzle up to Dora Puppy.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about caring for real-world pets. How is it different from a virtual pet? What do we need to do for a real pet that we don't need to do in the game for Dora's puppy?

  • In the game, you can buy toys and clothes for the puppy with the tokens you earn during play. Ask kids if they like to spend their tokens as soon as they earn them, or do they like to save up and by an item with a higher price tag?

Game details

Platforms:Nintendo DS, Nintendo DSi
Price:$29.99
Available online?Not available online
Developer:2K Play
Release date:November 17, 2009
Genre:Preschool
ESRB rating:E for (No Descriptors) (Nintendo DS, Nintendo DSi)

This review of Dora Puppy was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Parent of a 7 year old Written bygetloud April 11, 2010
AGE
7
QUALITY
 

perfect for learners of 4 and above

What a major surprise to see this being so good and man dora is good.
Kid, 9 years old December 5, 2009
AGE
2
QUALITY
 
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Safety and privacy concerns
Kid, 8 years old June 19, 2010
AGE
8
QUALITY
 

dumb

dumb game
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing

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