Little Friends: Dogs and Cats for Nintendo Switch review

Little Friends:Dogs and Cats

Little Friends:Dogs and Cats (Image credit: iMore)

Little Friends is the spiritual successor to the highly popular 3DS Nintendogs games, created by Imagineer and Sold Out. It does well in keeping the same overall feel of those previous games. I tested this game for 5 hours to get a good understanding of the mechanics and unlockable items. In that time, I made sure to spend time with both puppies and kittens to see what the differences between the animals were.

This is the game for pet lovers. I mean, who wouldn't want to play a game where all of your pets are eternally puppies and kittens. Take your pup on a walk, toss a frisbee or ball, dress up your kitten, and just have fun. This is a very simple game meant to allow you to explore the joys of pet ownership. The characters look and behave in ways that are sure to tug at your heartstrings and have you scrambling for the screenshot button.


  • Ridiculously cute animals
  • Plenty of dress-up options
  • Medals give you a goal to work towards
  • Plenty of different looking pets


  • Finicky motion controls
  • Repetitive gameplay
  • Not enough activities for kittens

A ridiculously cute pet simulator

Little Friends: Dogs and Cats: Features

Little Friends: Dogs and Cats

Little Friends: Dogs and Cats (Image credit: iMore)

Little Friends: Dogs and Cats lets you play in a world where your one and only responsibility revolves around your beloved pets. No work. No social obligations. Just you and your furry friends. Even if a pet simulator isn't your kind of thing, it's hard not to catch yourself smiling while playing Little Friends. Just wait, your adorable pupper will randomly get on his back or you'll dress him up in a cute little outfit and you'll find yourself squealing from cuteness overload.

You start off by choosing one of three animals. This first pet basically serves as the tutorial for learning how to care for your furry friends and how to purchase new items for your home. Once your friendship gets to level 15 you'll be able to adopt more friends.

You can own as many as 12 pets total, but only up to three pets can be in your virtual home at once. You can pay a hefty fee to put the rest at the Friends Hotel. Pets can be swapped out of the hotel whenever you wish. There are six breeds of puppies and three breeds of kittens, but since they come in so many different colors it seems like there are more to choose from.

When taking your doggo on a walk, you earn points by reaching the number of goals you're given: Distance, Search, and Marking. You'll find balloons strewn along your walking path and if your puppy investigates them you'll earn prizes. Marking is what it sounds like. You earn points for getting your pup to relieve himself on signposts. There are also several medals to unlock simply by playing the game. These tasks give you something to work towards and provides a little more purpose to the gameplay.

Your pet quickly becomes hungry, bored, thirsty or in need of cleaning. It's your responsibility to alleviate these problems by providing food, water, play sessions, and fur brushing sessions. You'll even be responsible for your pets' toilet, but fortunately, that's taken care of with the push of a button. If only it were that easy in real life.

When choosing a new friend, you'll be taken to grassy yard called the Friends Plaza. Three pets are randomly generated for you to choose from. If you don't like any of the options you see, you can press refresh to see three new pets.

Who will like this: It's a great choice for anyone who likes to pass their time with simple yet fun activities. And of course, you need a love of fluffy animals since that's the main draw of the game. This might not be appealing for anyone who prefers plot-driven video games.

A ridiculously cute pet simulator

Little Friends: Dogs and Cats on Switch What I Like

You can choose to simply watch your pet. This removes any widgets from the screen so you can take clear screenshots of fluffy or mittens without any icons getting in the way. Honestly, the compulsion to take a screenshot of your cute animals is one of the best things about this game. I found myself scrambling for the screenshot button whenever my pup did something cute, not unlike how I react to my pets in real life.

There are plenty of clothing items for you to buy for your pets. In fact, you'll likely spend several moments picking out the look and color of your pet's clothing to create the perfect outfit. There are even holiday-themed items so you can keep your kitten or pup looking festive. More clothes get unlocked as your friendship levels increase.

When choosing a new friend, the options you are given in the Friends Plaza are randomly created. If you don't see the color or breed you want you can bring out a new set of animals to choose from. If you have the points you can even narrow down a search by breed, color, and gender. The options are still randomly created, but you're more likely to get the animal you're after.

There's lots of repetition in this game. Now if you're getting this game either for a child or for yourself in lieu of getting an actual pet, there's something to be said about its repetitive nature. In real life going on a walk or brushing your pet's fur isn't always convenient or fun, but it is necessary to keep your pet happy and healthy. This could be a great way to see if you are ready for the full-time responsibility of pet ownership.

A ridiculously cute pet simulator

Little Friends: Dogs and Cats on Switch What I Don't Like

My biggest complaint is that gameplay is incredibly repetitive. Brushing your pet and taking them for walks on the same path over and over again gets old pretty quickly. At least in real life you'd have the ability to deviate and go elsewhere when walking. It's possible that more walking paths get unlocked as you continue through the game, but in the hours I spent playing there was only one. Additionally, you must stick to the path and cannot turn around on your walks.

The game tries to alleviate this repetition by having you unlock items, activities, and medals as your friendship level increases. It helps when you have more than one pet to take care of since you'll be jumping from one fluffy face to the next.

I was excited when I saw that I could participate in Flying Disc Competitions with my pups. However, the motion controls for throwing a ball or a frisbee are spotty. Half the time I couldn't get the frisbee to go where I wanted or to even throw at all. Since the competitions are throwing based, this part of the game kind of falls apart when there are issues.

There are more activities for dogs than there are for cats. This might seem silly, considering this is what it's typically like in real life. But in a video game, you expect a certain level of fantasy to be brought into the mix. You cannot take your cat on walks. If you attempt to do so, a window pops up saying "Please switch to a Dog Friend." Dressing up your cat is adorable and there are cat wands to play with, but the lack of kitty activities makes them less fun to play with.

A ridiculously cute pet simulator

Little Friends: Dogs and Cats The Bottom Line

Little Friends: Dogs and Cats is a simple game that allows you to take care of your fantasy pups and kitties. Some of the gameplay can be a bit repetitive and sometimes the motion controls for throwing a ball or frisbee can be dodgy. However, you'd have to be averse to cute things to not like this game. You'll spend hours playing dress up and taking pictures of your favorite pets.

Rebecca Spear
Gaming Editor

Gaming aficionado Rebecca Spear is iMore's dedicated gaming editor with a focus on Nintendo Switch and iOS gaming. You’ll never catch her without her Switch or her iPad Air handy. If you’ve got a question about Pokémon, The Legend of Zelda, or just about any other Nintendo series check out her guides to help you out. Rebecca has written thousands of articles in the last six years including hundreds of extensive gaming guides, previews, and reviews for both Switch and Apple Arcade. She also loves checking out new gaming accessories like iPhone controllers and has her ear to the ground when it comes to covering the next big trend.