Gamer Tricked Into Buying Lame DS Dolphin Title By Erroneous Ad, Publisher Dragging Its Fins

All Jess wanted was a Nintendogs-style DS game that would let her frolic with an imaginary pet dolphin, teach it a few tricks and perform routines in front of an adoring virtual crowd. Discovery Kids: Dolphin Discovery seemed to fit the bill because its site, as well as the box it comes in, says the game lets you do just that.

But when Jess opened the game, she learned she’d jumped through a flaming hoop without being rewarded with the treat she was hoping for.

I find myself on a tropical island, seeing the ocean from the point of view of a baby dolphin as I explore the sea, finding treasure and helping marine life in need with the option to take part in several mini-games. There’s no audience, no behaviors to train, and I’ve yet to see the ability to play with different dolphins. The in-game graphics do not match the screenshots on the back of the box; it appears as though there’s supposed to be a theme park or aquarium in “Discovery Kids: Dolphin Discovery,” but the game I received takes place on an island. The included instruction manual supports the latter scenario, noting, “In ‘Dolphin Discovery,’ you’ll enjoy a trip to a small island in the southern sea. During this holiday you can spend time together with your dolphin friend, explore the sea depths, and take pictures or collect hidden treasures.” This is totally different than what is described on the box and on the game’s website.

If I’m not mistaken, “Discovery Kids: Dolphin Discovery” seems to be advertised on the box and the DiscoveryKidsGames.com website as the UK game “My Pet Dolphin,” when, in fact, it is “My Pet Dolphin 2.”

“Discovery Kids: Dolphin Discovery” is cute, but I was expecting to play a much different game — one with training and shows, and much more direct interaction with the virtual dolphins.

After being stonewalled by 505 Games in her request to have the publisher send her the UK game that was advertised to make up for her disappointment, on May 10 she contacted a PR agency that handles 505 Games, which promptly told her “the appropriate people” were looking into the situation. But more than two weeks later, Jess is still adrift in a sea of disappointment, with no DS dolphin pal to keep her company.

Here are some side-by-side comparisons

  Description on the box
“Play with and train your new pet dolphin, master a huge selection of tricks, then take your show in front of a live audience! Use your DS Stylus to teach your dolphin tricks and routines. Realistic scenery and time changes: blue sky – sunset – night views. Perform dazzling routines that wow the crowd and reward you with new dolphins to train”
 
  Description in the manual
“In Dolphin Discovery, you’ll enjoy a trip to a small island in the southern sea. During this holiday you can spend time together with your dolphin friend, explore the sea depths, and take pictures or collect hidden treasures.”
 
Screens on the box


 

Screens in the manual


 
Text on the website
“Wanna makes a splash? Teach your pet dolphin awesome tricks and routines! Then wow the crowd at the big show to win more dolphins!”
 
My Pet Dolphin
Takes place at a water park, where you train your dolphin to perform tricks for an audience
My Pet Dolphin 2
Takes place on and around an island in a natural environment
Just to make it more confusing:
Video footage on website shows non-specific game footage combined with actual video footage of dolphins