The Dog

Games can be based on many different things – films, comics or books but I’m not sure many have ever been based on a series of photographs. In this particular game that is exactly the basis, photos.  Of course you may ask how you can base a whole game around pictures of dogs, zoomed in to make their features strangely distorted but somehow cute, I’m sure many of you have seen the dog pictures somewhere.  The fact is you can’t really make a game of any depth based on photographs so what you do is make a game almost entirely copying the mould made so well by Nintendogs some years ago.

At the start of the game you can choose from five different breeds of dog to play through with; I opted for the ever faithful Labrador although I could have had a Yorkshire Terrier, Beagle, Boxer or German Shepard.  You are introduced to your new puppy around your virtual home which is presented in a strange ethereal whiteness with doors and furniture seemingly hanging in the air, obviously the white backdrop saves on memory and processing space allowing more care to be lavished on the dogs and their animations.  The dogs do look largely okay but some more time spent making them look more realistic may have helped distract more from the pale, blank backgrounds.  Initially your only option is to wander around your blank surroundings but quite soon you are able to visit the beach or the park, all accessible by taking your puppy for a walk in a sort of mini game.  Here you control the speed and direction of your dog by moving your finger around the screen. Along the way you have to collect a newspaper and pick up your dog’s “business” and deposit it in a bin, all riveting stuff!  As you progress you unlock various toys, food and treats for your puppy which are all available from the shop for you to buy, with the aid of the treats and toys you can start to teach your puppy new tricks and commands.

The tricks are performed by tapping the screen to grab the puppy’s attention and then following some on screen touch commands to see the trick through, these can range from sitting down to giving a paw.  Once the trick has been successfully performed you give the dog a treat and it learns it; sometimes you need to do it more than once to complete the learning process but all in, the trick can be learned in under twenty seconds.  As your puppy learns more tricks and commands you can then enter it in to competitions to win money and prizes to accessorise your home, garden and dog but sadly here it was where my problems started.  The game froze on me, and indeed froze my phone up on me for at least five minutes, rendering the game and phone useless for a while.  However I persevered and tried again, and again, and again and as I played through, more and more bugs became apparent, most were concerned with the game freezing but some just kicked me out to my phone’s menu screen, so sadly I haven’t been able to see all that “The Dog” has to offer.







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