3DS
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Game Info:

Barbie & Her Sisters Puppy Rescue
Developed by: Torus Games
Published by: Little Orbit
Release Date: November 3, 2015
Available on: 3DS, PS3, Wii, Wii U, Xbox 360
Genre: Simulation
Number of Players: Single-player
ESRB Rating: Everyone
Price: $29.99
(Amazon Affiliate Link)

Thank you Little Orbit for sending us this game to review!

Lots of stray puppies are roaming around in the neighborhood and Barbie and her sisters started the Roberts Sisters Puppy Rescue to find forever homes for unchipped puppies or re-unite microchipped dogs with their owners. Before they leave the rescue they are vaccinated, treated for fleas, groomed, and given some obedience training.  Each sister plays an important role in saving these puppies.

It’s Barbie’s job to ride around town on her bike to find clues about the locations of stray puppies.  Peddling her bike is accomplished by pressing the right trigger.  Reversing is done by using the left trigger.  Exiting the bike is possible by pressing the A button.   There is no tutorial so kids are left to figure these controls out on their own.  

Once a puppy is located, Barbie has to earn its trust by moving the circle pad towards the appropriate icon of what the puppy is desiring.  The puppies will respond to love, play, or being given a treat.  After successfully meeting the puppy’s desires a few times in a row, the puppy will be able to be scooped up and placed in Barbie’s bike basket.  Arrows will guide Barbie to where she is supposed to go to next, and after collecting a puppy, she must take it back to the shelter.  

 

Barbie & Her Sisters Puppy Rescue
Highlights:

Strong Points: It has Barbie and puppies in it
Weak Points: Bland graphics; poor camera controls; no touch screen support
Moral Warnings: None, other than dogs older than one are left to fend for themselves

When the puppy is first brought to the shelter it is taken to Skipper who scans it for a microchip.  If the puppy is not chipped the user will be asked to give it a name.  I was quite surprised to see that the touch screen is not functional in this game and the names have to be entered by using the arrow buttons to select the various letters.  

After the initial check-in, the puppy is then sent to one of the four available kennels to re-energize.  In the beginning, only three kennels are available.  The final kennel can be unlocked after the player accumulates enough in-game currency (bones).  To reduce the amount of recharge time, kennel amenities can be upgraded at a cost.  The upgrades are not permanent as they will get reset when the next puppy resides in that kennel.

When the puppy has rested it can be given its health examination to check for fleas and oral health.  Each procedure is its own mini-game.  For example, fleas are removed reverse Galaga style where you have to drop flea ointment on top of the fleas moving on the dog’s body.  After a successful treatment, the player is rewarded with ten bones.

Stacie is in charge of the obedience training and she’ll teach the dogs various tricks like heel, stay, dance, roll-over, play dead, give paw and so forth.  The roll-over trick was confusing to pull off since I took the directions too literally.  The directions were to rotate the circle pad counter-clockwise three times.  I did that and nothing happened.  The only way to do it successfully was to do it until the puppy responded which took closer to five times.  Once the trick is learned, the dog will get a treat and the player will receive ten bones.

 

Barbie & Her Sisters Puppy Rescue
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 58%
Gameplay - 10/20
Graphics - 6/10
Sound - 5/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 3/5

Morality Score - 100%
Violence - 10/10
Language - 10/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

After the dog recharges from the exhausting training session they’ll be ready for their grooming.  They may get a bath or their nails trimmed.  The nail trimming uses a number memorization game where you have to remember the numbers assigned to each nail and then clip them in the proper sequential order.  Completing the grooming process will give the player ten more bones to spend.

The last step in the process is to give the puppy back to their former owner, or locate an ideal new one.  The screen process is rather pointless since Barbie will flat out say if it’s a good match or not.  Once a puppy leaves the facility one hundred bones are given to the player.

Barbie & Her Sisters Puppy Rescue is family friendly and has no objectionable content in it whatsoever.  Even though it’s safe to play, it’s honestly not very fun to play.  Perhaps kids that love puppies and Barbies may enjoy this game, but everyone else should pass up this title.

While it teaches good lessons, there’s little incentive to keep playing.  To make matters worse, the camera system is a pain in the butt to navigate with and the interface is not very intuitive.  If I, as an adult, was struggling with it, how will a young child do?  

The audio and visuals did not impress me either.  In fact, the background music gets downright annoying after a while.  Thankfully, you can disable it in the game’s options.  While Barbie and her sisters look nice, there’s something off about the puppies. I think it’s their eyes that just don’t seem quite right.  The town and environments are rather bland as well.

In the end, there are better 3DS games to be had for $30.  If your child likes puppies, I would recommend checking out the Petz game franchise instead. There are better Barbie games out there as well. 

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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