Huh. Not sure what I was expecting, but I feel like I was expecting … more?
Page 21, Game 26: Dogs Throwing Swords II: Three Barks To The Wind by Rook
What’s this? Something BAD has come to the Dogwoods!
Assemble your three-dog team of heroes!
Now get out there and kick some side-scrolling ass! Launch flurries of weapons! Blast through level after level of–
Wait, it’s over?
Yeah … it’s over. You won.
It’s a cute enough little game, but it suffers from two problems. The first is the challenge: there isn’t much. I banged-out a complete playthrough in … I wanna say, 15 minutes or so? Made it all the way through to the end on one go. One of my doggos fell during the final boss fight, but the other two were able to bring him down. There’s really not much to the game; avoid the stuff that hurts, blast the stuff that’s trying to kill you.
You can even turn on the “Repeat” option, which just blasts away over and over and spares you the bother of holding down the “Fire” button. I’m of mixed minds about that. On the one hand, yeah, the game clearly benefits from that addition, but at the same time, I kinda wish it didn’t. I wish there was some strategy involved in there somehow.
But, nah, just blast away. Cycle your dogs’ positions so that the ones with the most health are most likely to take hits, I suppose.
When I went through the “Harvest the Screenshots” run, I could step away from the game for a remarkably long time, and my three goodbois were doing just fine with no input from me whatsoever. They got pretty chewed-on during the boss fight, though. That’s when I decided to see what the “You lose!” screen looks like, and … there isn’t one. If all your dogs drop, then two of them get back up and on you go.
You basically have to give the hell up entirely to lose this game.
Okay, fine, it’s not a hard-core gaming experience, it’s more of a cute little trifle. But … is it all that cute?
Here’s what the main gameplay looks like:
And here’s a boss fight:
The dogs are the ONLY dog-themed element on the screen at any given time. On of the enemies spits bones at you, but that’s pretty much it. Heck, even the doggos’ attacks aren’t thematic at all; I don’t typically associate dogs with knives, or spell blasts, or battle-axes.
Everything other than the dogs is generic video-game enemy stuff. You could replace the dogs with traditional fantasy hero sprites and it wouldn’t impact the feel in the slightest.
What kinds of weapons should dogs be launching? Kong balls? Tug-of-war ropes? And what kinds of enemies should dogs be doing battle against? Mailmen, obviously, but what else? Squirrels? Cats?
If I’m going to lead a band of adorable doggos to glory, I’d like their world to be much, much doggier. Even if the gameplay does make it just a silly trifle, I still want it to have more personality than this.
Though those ARE some totes adorable heroes. They are, indeed, very good dogs. Just wish they had more of a chance to shine.
Will this next game give me even more doggy funtimes?
Page 36, Game 16: Lost in Dark Halls (Forking Paths #2) by Orbis Tertius Press
“featuring rules for Labyrinthine, a storytelling game of branching myths, for solo or group play”
I’m willing to bet a fella could shoehorn dogs in there. If he made the effort.