Caring For Dogs Couldn’t Be Any Cuter - Old Friends Dog Game Review

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When I was seventeen, I rescued a dog from the streets and raised him. I was strolling through my neighborhood late one night and came across a mangy, dirty little puppy sleeping near the gutter on the side of the road. He was pretty close to the lanes where cars would pass, so I couldn’t just leave him there. I picked him up carefully, making sure not to get bitten, and checked for any tags or collars that could point me toward any possible owner that may have lost their pet. He didn’t have any, so I decided to bring him home and raise him. Since I found him on the night of a full moon, I named my hopelessly lost puppy “Lunar.”
It’s been nearly half a decade since then, and Lunar is no longer with us, but to this day, I always miss him whenever I see a dog. I have a huge place in my heart for animals. That’s why it brings me so much joy to relish a game about dogs being rescued and fostered in animal sanctuaries. That game was Old Friends Dog Game, a pocket-sized casual dog-raising simulator inspired by a real-life animal sanctuary.
Old Friends Dog Game is a story game about friendship and dogs for people who love furry canines. It’s based on the Old Friends Senior Dog Sanctuary (OFSDS), an actual sanctuary established in Mount Juliet, Tennessee, over a decade ago. Despite living on the opposite side of the world, New Zealand-based developer Runaway has pledged to use a portion of the profits from Old Friends Dog Game to sponsor senior dogs. All the fluffy canines you see in Old Friends Dog Game are based on actual dogs from the real-life sanctuary too.
You begin Old Friends Dog Game by naming your sanctuary and declaring a motto for the establishment to live by. I named mine “Happy Floofs Sanctuary” and made my motto reflect a common thought among dog-lovers: “Everyone thinks they have the best dog, and everyone is right.” Don’t worry if you can’t think of a re-bark-able name; the game also has a randomizer that generates bizarre names and one-liners.
Your first fluffy resident is Mack, the official mascot of the real-life OFSDS. Mack is an energetic cocker spaniel who’s blind and isn’t bothered if he walks into furniture or other dogs. This paw-sitively adorable buddy isn’t the only canine you’ll encounter in Old Friends Dog Game. As you play, more dogs will make their way under your care, but to acquire them, you must take care of Mack and tend to his needs first.
Properly caring for your furry friends includes feeding them, giving them toys to play with, cleaning up their messes, and giving them pats and attention regularly. Initially, these requirements weren’t too demanding, but as I fostered more dogs, things became more ruff. Still, there was no way I could resist petting and taking care of these cute canines.
As you care for dogs, they generate loyalty, which is needed to unlock rewards and meet more dogs. Loyalty essentially serves as the basis for progression in Old Friends Dog Game. Like any pet, each canine is different, and most of their personalities differ significantly. The lively Mack loves attention, while the more timid Bagel prefers his space. It’s essential when tending to their needs that you provide them with the appropriate care to match their temperament. This part of the game is quite boring, as it’s more of a process of mixing and matching to generate the most loyalty possible. I didn’t dislike it, but it felt mechanical compared to caring for a real dog. I don’t expect a reward from feeding or playing with a dog; I do it out of unconditional love.
But that doesn’t mean your acts of compassion go unrewarded. You have to get these items through the money you earn from streaming a feed of your sanctuary online, among various other actions. These activities are relatively simple. For example, streaming requires you to choose which dogs you’d like to put under the camera, and from there, you need to entertain, pat, and feed them to earn donations. After you’ve acquired enough money, you can go to the “Barket,” (the in-game store) to purchase items like food for dog treats or resources for toys. Creating these gifts employs a light crafting system that I found to be surprisingly quite fun. I needed specific materials to make particular treats, and I enjoyed hunting down the resources, especially the rarer components needed for the most extravagant pet food I could offer my adorable balls of fluff.
Beyond keeping up with the adorable chaos within your sanctuary, you’ll encounter little missions and tidbits of dialogue throughout Old Friends Dog Game. Most of these encounters are portrayed through a visual novel-esque layout where you chat with neighbors or animal control officials about events involving your animal sanctuary. Sometimes these story segments can be as simple as having a conversation with someone about your fostered canines. Other times you might be able to choose dialogue options resulting in different answers depending on your choices. The graphics for these short bursts of narrative were quite beautiful and immersive. My favorite moments were when the game allowed me to talk to my dogs and see their excited reactions to my responses. I mean, let’s be honest: There’s no better feeling than seeing your dog happily wagging its tail when you ask if it wants to go for a walk.
Although I miss Lunar and know he’s in a better place, I’m glad to have remembered him through Old Friends Dog Game. The dog-raising simulator was simple, adorable, and enjoyable—nothing more or less. So if caring for dogs makes you happy, then you’ll likely be happy playing Old Friends Dog Game. I know I was!
SCORE: 4 STARS OUT OF 5
PLAY IF YOU LIKE:
My Dear Farm. If you adore My Dear Farm’s art style and aesthetic, you may love Old Friends Dog Game for the exact same reasons. Both games are so cute! Also, feel free to take a look at my review of My Dear Farm.
Kuma Sushi Bar. If you enjoy playing games about animals or with them like Kuma Sushi Bar, you might like Old Friends Dog Game. Feel free to read my review of Kuma Sushi Bar too.
💬 Do you like dogs? What’s your favorite type of dog?
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