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Dog's Life Review

Review; Sep. 20, 2011; Channels: Video Games; By Anne King
Redneck, meet dog

Yeah, it's simple. It's dinky. The graphics are crap, and the replayability is nil. But it doesn't matter because I love playing that stupid, haughty mutt.

Dog's Life Screenshots
Click the image to view game screenshots

Basic plotline: You're a dog (who moves more like a weasel romping through tall grass, but whatever), an American Foxhound (who knew?), who's just discovered his girlfriend, Daisy, a (supposedly) yellow retriever, has been dognapped, and you're going to travel through Hicksville, USA, and get her back. Yep, that’s it.

Rumor has it that this game has the most voice-overs done by a single person, and it shows. What's also obvious is this game was either done by someone who really didn't give a rat's ass about it and was simply trying to get a game published on a shoe-string budget. But whatever! You're a dog.

So off you go as Jake, the weasely, bouncy, spotted dog. It's pretty fun to romp around, getting into crap, finding toys, stealing trash, cat food, and whatever else. But what really ups the fun factor is the scent trails. They're very similar to the wolf-sense concept used in Zelda: Twilight Princess. Not done as well, of course, but utilized so much more in Dog's Life — you use the scent trails to follow people, to get treats, to find animals, etc. They're multi-colored, and the overall worldview changes when you switch over to view them.

The main goal is to collect — you guessed it — bones, which allow you to progress to the next stage of the game. Sometimes you're met by helpful humans, but more often than not, they're clueless, bumbling idiots (which is, of course, very true to real life). Sometimes other dogs aid you, and sometimes they challenge you. Each accomplished task and competition won brings Jake one step closer to Daisy.

Turns out Daisy's been thrown into a big mess involving some pretty nefarious characters (think Cruella De Vil's long-lost redneck cousins), and you've got to get her out of it and defeat the evil humans before something pretty terrible happens. The end actually takes a fairly dark turn, but don't worry -- it's just the humans who get what they deserve.

And then the game's over. That’s it. It’s quick and clean and not terribly impressive, but it tickles my fancy just the same. Will the average gamer dive into this headfirst? Probably not. Will those of us who have beaten it go back to the beginning and play again? Maybe for a few minutes every now and then just to be the rompy, goofy dog who reminds you so much of the pitbull from Homeward Bound — but beyond that, no. It’s a dog game designed for dog lovers first and gamers second, and it shows.

Editor's Note: Thanks to GameSpot for the screenshots.


Review Score


Titles rated T (Teen) have content that may be suitable for ages 13 and older. Titles in this category may contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling, and/or infrequent use of strong language.


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