As we continue to look at the cute animal-game fad, we came across Crossfield’s Cute Dog’s Life (Dog’s Life). Given the obsession with Neko Atsume and Spoon Pets, Dog’s Life intrigued us enough to give it a shot because it provides similar game-play to both the aforementioned games: Take care of adorable dogs by feeding and playing with them, then reap the rewards. As playing commenced, we discovered that Dog’s Life is different from Neko Atsume and Spoon Pets in both positive and negative ways.
Dog’s Life became available in Google Play and iTunes’ app stores in late 2015, but it and its sister-apps, Forest Life and Cat’s Life, started to gain some download-traction in recent months.
The kid-friendly app features a host of unlockable dogs ranging from Shiba Inus, Pomeranians, Border Collies, Corgis, and many others that need played with and fed periodically, much like the critters in Neko Atsume and Spoon Pets. Dog’s Life differs from the latter games due to the inclusion of puzzles users have to clear in order to earn coins, diamonds, and dogs.
It should be noted that the game does have in-app purchasing available. If the game is given to a child, it is recommended that purchasing be turned off or password protected.
There are two parts to Dog’s Life’s game play: House and stage.
In the house, players have a yard where up to eight dogs can roam and play. Here, users can find a shop to purchase toys, food, water, beds, and new scenery for the pups as they become available. Goods can be purchased using coins earned through daily logins, spins, and unlocking levels. The dogs interact with the toys by playing fetch, drinking water, and leaping over hurdles, and they interact with users when they throw the balls or tap on different items. This is where Dog’s Life improves upon Spoon Pets and Neko Atsume because it is more interactive.
The game’s stage area presents users with puzzles that are similar to Candy Crush boards: Users match buttons and clear stages. Some stages involve players getting rid of monkeys and panels or dropping dog food to the bottom of the screen. The games present some challenges, but they’re not frustrating challenges, which makes the games easy enough for children to play. As players clear the stages, they unlock diamonds which are used to unlock different dogs and game-used items, and they can unlock new dogs to add into the yard.
Dog’s Life is probably one of the cutest games available for mobile devices. The folks at Crossfield took a simple game and made it charming with the chibi dogs, cheery music, and adorable interactions. The yard portion, at first, made the game worthwhile because the dogs do interact with the user. The way the dogs eat and play has a high “awwww” factor to the point where it’s almost sickening. Cute overload comes into play.
Over time, though, the yard portion of the game grows stale. The dogs remain adorable, but there’s only so much that can be done with them. Users can only place a limited amount of toys in the yard, and after the 50th or 500th food refill, it’s possible the user will start to question why they’re spending so much time on virtual dogs that eat way more than real dogs do. Then, if the dogs are touched while they’re eating or drinking, they get angry and growl. No one needs that type of abuse from virtual animals.
Plus, the dogs require a lot of petting before they reach “max love” and for the user to collect diamonds. However, if the dogs are petted a lot, they get tired and the user loses lives. There’s really a no-win in the petting game.
Chances are, the yard will be checked just for the dog’s cuteness -level, but they don’t really do much of anything. It would be nice if the dogs could be trained to do things or if they can venture outside the yard to go on adventures. The game could be expanded to make the dogs more interesting. Right now, they’re just cute.
On the other hand, the puzzles make the game worthwhile long after the dogs wear thin, but even they start to become less interesting as time goes on. The levels do get more challenging with more obstacles and less moves, so they do keep users on their toes. However, the game needs more variety in order to hold someone’s interest long-term.
One of the downfalls of the game is how long it takes to level-up and earn diamonds. Diamonds are rare and they’re needed to buy dogs. With each dog added to the yard, a dog that once cost 40 diamonds jumps to 70 diamonds. There is a weekly event available where diamonds can be earned, but even then they’re earned one at a time. It also doesn’t help that in-game-used objects like hammers and stars cost diamonds, but a lot of users may not know this because the game randomly gives these objects out for free but then sneakily takes diamonds away. There needs to be improvements made to the diamond system. One suggestion is to let users use coins to buy diamonds instead of real money. Right now, diamonds are used to buy already-abundant coins.
Another issue with Dog’s Life is the atrocious English translations. While adults can make out what the game’s trying to say in the instructions, children might not be able to due to poor grammar. It should be pointed out that it is appreciated that the game has been translated into English, but it needs work to ensure clarity for users, especially for those who are younger.
Dog’s Life is so stinkin’ adorable it hurts. The game has some improvements over Hit Point’s Neko Atsume and Spoon Pets, but it needs more improvements in order to prevent it from going stale. Young children will love the game just fine, while adults who enjoy mindless activities may give up on the game after a few weeks. Dog’s Life wants to be likeable, and it is because of the cute factor, but it needs a little something for it to be a mega-hit.
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