The Dog Ė Puppy Pets in Review: A Bit Ruff!
As a big dog lover, I was excited to get The Dog Ė Puppy Pets to review. I installed it to my iPhone and booted up. I was presented with five breeds of dog to choose from: Labrador, Beagle, Boxer, Yorkshire Terrier and German Shephard. I chose Labrador, named it and went on my way.
The thing that immediately struck me was the graphics. Though the animal itself was pretty cute, if not terribly realistic, the background graphics are terrible. Basically, your dog is surrounded by whiteness, broken only by the odd item; a door, a sofa, food bowl, etc. I know the reason youíre playing the game is for the dog rather than its surroundings, but it just seemed that the developer had made little effort to polish the game.
When you begin, youíre given tips along the way to help you progress in the game. Naturally, you must feed your dog and take it for walks, so itís off to the shops to buy the necessary goods. Even with the tips turned on, navigating your way around your dogís Ďworldí isnít at all intuitive. Buying some dog food and a leash was a total chore, to be honest. Once youíve got this far, you must go back to the house immediately and feed your pet. It seems like if you donít do exactly what the game wants you to do, it doesnít like it. I wanted to look at some other items in the store while I was there, but kept getting messages telling me to go home!
Once home, I got the dog food from the menu and attempted to feed my pet, and even then I must have not tapped it quite right, because I was told Ďyou must feed your dog first!í Talk about bossy! My Labrador didnít seem to mind, though. I got there in the end.
As well as feeding, you can also pet your dog. This is simple enough, just tap the animal until it comes to you, then slide your finger across your device screen like mad! Providing your dog is not too tired (itíll get grumpy then and ignore you) itíll roll around and hearts will float out of it, indicating its pleasure. This is pretty cute, but will only keep you entertained for so long.
Walking the dog is harder work on the iDevice than in real life! Pull your dog forward too hard and it will yelp, let it do its own thing and getting from one place to the other will take forever. You also have to move the leash up and down in order to manoeuvre around random objects which have been placed on the pavement. And then, inevitably, you must pick up your animalís mess. Fortunately, this is much more pain-free than real life, simply tap the excrement and its bagged for you. When you get to a rubbish bin simply tap to rid yourself of the smelly bundle.
In order to add a bit of variety to the app, as well as the Ďnormalí doggy things to do, you can also teach your pet tricks and enter competitions. You must get so far into the game before this option is open to you, but it does add another dimension to an otherwise pretty dull game.
Facebook Connect is available in The Dog. This gives you the option to send toys and treats to your friends, and also post your achievements. The trouble is, I donít think this app will appeal to enough people to make this a worthwhile feature.
As well as not being particularly good-looking or intuitive, I found the game quite buggy. I tapped one of the options, only to have the app quit out on me. I logged back in (which takes a while, itís pretty slow to load) and tried again, and it crashed again. Safe to say I didnít press that button again Ė luckily it wasnít essential!
Overall, The Dog is a bit of a stinker. Itís basically a rip-off of Dogz for the PC, and Nintendogs for the DS (which I havenít played so canít compare) and holds no real appeal for adults. Itíll probably appeal to those children lucky enough to have been bought an iPod Touch by their parents. Trouble is, itís too dull-looking and buggy to keep them entertained, so itís not money well spent. It may be cheap compared to a Nintendo DS game, but itís fairly expensive for an iTunes App Ė and the quality just isnít there to make it worth it.
Connect2Media, The Dog - Puppy Pets - $4.99