Doggins ($4) from Brain & Brain is billed as a quiet adventure. Starring a dreaming dog, the iPad-only adventure game has been nominated for a SXSW Gamer’s Voice Award for best indie game, along with a number of other titles, including recently reviewed Tengami — a game which shares some similarities with Doggins.
Doggins centers around a dreaming terrier of the same name who finds himself facing off with a villainous squirrel on the moon. The devious squirrel sports a monocle, and his name is Fitzwilliam. It’s tough for some games to stand out, especially during a crowded week of new releases, but Doggins certainly does its best to stand out from the crowd. Essentially a point-and-click adventure, it’s nice that Doggins features a quiet dog and squirrel, as you lose the often tiresome exposition of similar games.
The graphics and animation in Doggins truly shine. There are very few bells and whistles, as the screen is kept clean to enjoy the terrier traipsing about the moon — sometimes, you only hear the little trample of the dog’s feet. Once or twice, we heard the pitter-patter continue as we stopped walking; we hope this bug is addressed in an update. The music in Doggins is another strong point. Plenty of thought went into the game’s look and feel, and it shows.
Moving around is easy enough using taps on the screen, though Doggins is more of a walker than a sprinter. Not that you’d want him to run, as the small world of the game requires some lingering glances. The puzzles in Doggins require thought and clever solutions, as players will need to combine items at times to find the correct combination needed to advance. Also, the game is funny — Doggins offers some legitimate laughs, which is always welcome in a light-hearted adventure.
There’s really only one downfall to Doggins, and it can’t be denied — the game’s length. Doggins is short. Incredibly short. We were really enjoying the game, and before we knew it, the credits were rolling. It couldn’t have been longer than an hour; though some players might take longer with the puzzles, this isn’t a game with much replay value. If it were a free game, this would be a bit less of an issue, but for $4, a longer adventure would be nice. We can only hope for future updates with new quests, as Doggins left us wanting more.
Like Tengami, Doggins stands out with its own look and fantastic animations, while letting users explore at their leisure. It is funny, with lovable characters and fun puzzles. The game’s charm can’t be overstated. It’s also notable that Doggins can be enjoyed by gamers of all ages — young players should enjoy walking through the world as much as experienced adventure gamers. Unfortunately, the extremely short duration is a drawback. Doggins still earns our strong general recommendation, and fans of cheerful adventures would be well served to give it a go.
iLounge Rating: B+