Dogz Review


It’s hard to write about Dogz without making any kind of reference to Nintendogs. The timing of the game and its simplistic nature practically howl “knock off” and an attempt to cash in on the DS game’s popularity with the DS-deficit crowd. After playing the game I have to say that this is indeed the case – either that or this is an excellent simulation of the mind-numbing tedium that is dog ownership. (Before I get swamped with angry email from dog lovers everywhere, let me just go on the record as saying that it’s the former and the latter is a joke. It’s the game that is tedious and not dog ownership. Unless you have one of those dogs that just chews on the furniture and makes “accidents” around your house, that is.)

Pick a dog. Any dog. It really doesn't matter which one.
In Dogz you are a third grader who is given his/her first pet. Your job is to train your dog to do a few simple tricks and to stop doing its business all over your house within a three week period without you, the dog, or anyone in the general vicinity dying of boring during the process. Training your dog is simple enough; you just need to push a button to pick a command and the push another to give the command. More often than not this results in the dog scratching itself and staring dumbly at you with question marks floating above its head. Too bad “scratch yourself and look dumb” is not a trick or I’d be a champion dog trainer. Anyway, repeating this sequence over and over again ad naseum will eventually result in the dog doing the trick – which it always seems to forget how to do one moment later. So then it’s back to the repetition again until the dog becomes trained well enough to the trick with reasonably regularity. There’s not much payoff for all of this work, though, as watching a millimeter tall puppy “stay” on your GBA screen is about exciting as it sounds. On second thought, make that even less exciting than it sounds.

As if this wasn’t tedious enough, the game makes you contend with some of the more mundane aspects of suburban life between endless A-button-pushing doggie commands. You have to bring in the paper for your lazy Ward Cleaver-esque dad, sit down to dinner with the family, vacuum your house, and go to school each day which involves watching the same cutscene of you saying “hi” to your classmates as you go through the school gates, immediately followed by the cutscene of you saying “bye” to all of your classmates as you leave the school gates. And you do all this every single monotonous day after another, except for weekends when you get to bathe your dog instead. Through it all you’ll see the same text conversations over and over and over again from mom and dad bot and your spiky-haired, ever smiling but dead inside in-game alter ego. The game should come with a suicide prevention hotline number.