Now tell me, which one of these dogs would you want to have as your wide receiver on your football team?
Who’s a good dog? Who’s a good dog? You’re a good dog. Yes you are, yes you are. You are such a good dog! Yes you are. You’re just the goodest good dog that ever dogged. Yes you are! Yes you are! You may not be a good game but you’re certainly a good doggy!
Puzzle Puppers (Switch [reviewed], PC, Mac, Android, iOS)
Developer: Cardboard Keep
Publisher: Cardboard Keep
Release Date: January 20, 2017 (Steam), February 20, 2018 (Switch)
MSRP: $4.99 (Free-to-play on mobile)
Puzzle Puppers certainly has an agreeable exterior. Dogs are great. Everybody loves them and they’re really the only reason I keep my Twitter account going. When I see these pups stretch their bodies, tails wagging, I get a smile. It’s cute, it’s charming, it’s like being able to play with all those dog gifs I keep downloading for some reason.
But all of that cuteness is a facade for what turns out to be an average puzzle game. Puzzle Puppers is divided up into 80 puzzles, all built around the common goal of getting these dogs to their food bowls along different sized grids. Using standard controls, or the less than reliable touch controls, I stretch the dogs out as needed, making sure I devour every ham steak on the board to unlock every bonus level.
I grow tired of it long before I reach the final puzzle. The entire project is lacking in variety. There are just two primary obstacles: holes and rivers. When combined with multiple dogs to contort to their respective bowls, it should make for challenging brainteasers, and it does.
Okay, like twice. During my approximately two-hour playthrough of the same scenery and the same music, just two puzzles tripped me up. A quick break with another game was all I needed to go back and figure out the solutions and wrap everything up.
With more ideas, more obstacles, more varied goals, or just the ability to pet the dogs without screwing up one of my solutions-in-progress, I could easily see this as best in show. Instead, Puzzle Puppers wouldn’t even place.
[This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]