The Dog Island PAL Wii - GLoBAL

Discussion in 'Console Games' started by BetterRhyme, May 20, 2012.

  1. BetterRhyme

    BetterRhyme Guest

    The Dog Island PAL Wii-GLoBAL
    English | Platform: Wii | Release: May 6, 2008 | Publisher: Ubisoft | Developer: Yuke's Media Creations | 4.38 GB
    Genre: Adventure

    If you would have told us that the gigantic casual push of Ubisoft titles would combine with the undeniably loveable nature of big-headed puppies to deliver a fresh and entertaining adventure/RPG for kids, we would have called you crazy.

    That is, if we didn't totally see this one coming a mile away. The Dog Island first started showing up on Japan videos nearly two years ago, as the developer Yukes has taken it upon itself to work on a sweet, lovable puppy RPG in between the flaming tables and barbed wire of its WWE fighting games. Oh it's a stretch – in fact, if we had to make a spectrum, we'd put Mankind thrown off a steel cage on the exact opposite side as a black labrador with spectacles – but the end result is an adventure 'slash' RPG experience that is light on story, but heavy on style.

    The Dog Island houses a simple concept, and an even simpler execution, so we'll be brief. The game's overarching concept is based off the mainstream "The Dog, Artlist Collection" style where puppies are photographed in a super-deformed style, showing off a huge head, tiny body, and focus on the mouth, nose, and eyes. It's creepy, but it's undoubtedly adorable, and if the Japanese can have super-deformed Gundam, the world needs to accept The Dog's style as well. With the entire game based on that design – it even has "Artlist Collection" on the box – casuals already know what they're getting themselves into with the style, but it's actually a shocking amount of simple fun and adventure gameplay that is the "game beneath the gimmick."

    Players jump into the world of The Dog Island, select from nearly 50 breeds of pup to play as, and then embark on an adventure filled with pirates, mini-games, hundreds of smells to discover, and an overarching story that revolves around your sick little brother, and a quest to find a mysterious cure. Ok, so it's not the most in-depth story out there, but it gets to the focus of the game quickly, which is of course insultingly cute puppies

    Simple is the word of the day with this one, as the game control, character interaction, story, plot development, and overarching gameplay are all as basic as can be. The game is Wii-mote only, with control focused around IR pointing with an on-screen dog cursor (or free movement with the PS2 controller, if you're a Sony patron). The main mechanic revolves around sniffing, which helps your leading pup to discover new items, story-specific relics, and discover new scents, which ultimately level him up and further the story. In general the camera is a pain, with constant d-pad (right analog on PS2) control to work with a total lack of active camera system, and with your character so low to the ground you'll constantly be fighting against larger in-world objects. With a little work though, it's a pleasant experience.

    The storytelling in Dog Island is far shallower than even the playful banter found in games like Animal Crossing, and with limited idle animations and scripting players that don't read – or don't like to – will find themselves pushing to get the seemingly never-ending chit-chat out of the way. The whole world is inhabited only by dogs and other animals, so while you won't have to deal with humans at all in the game, everyone in the various towns and stops along your way don playful outfits, attitudes, and classic town roles, and each have a lot to say. At the core of the game's design it's still centered entirely around "talk to dog X, get a mission, and return to dog X for your reward," but it always seems a bit more entertaining than that, as your cruise around vast open worlds – staggeringly large, actually – can literally stop to smell the roses and learn new scents, bark like crazy at random wandering enemies in the world to knock them out, and eventually end with a sniff-based scavenger hunt in a classic hot/cold mini-game mechanic. The closer you are to story or non-story objects, the higher on the "sniff meter" you'll register. Track down items, and progress the game; it's as simple as that.

    As you can no doubt tell, the game works on the simple pleasures of running around with a "so cute you could punt it" puppy, but it's also mysteriously robust, which makes us seriously wonder who over at Yukes has such drive to make a gigantic, alive The Dog world. The main Dog Island destroys the size of Animal Crossing – several dozen times bigger, actually – and is closer to an open-world game than a limited island to explore, which is crazy. In addition there are a slew of mini-games to be had, including dog soccer, racing, fishing, and lovely manual labor such as swabbing the deck (found particularly early in the game, when you find yourself on a tiny, puppy-sized pirate ship). Of course all these simple tasks would be nothing without an in-depth stat tracking system, item inventory, gigantic overworld map, and stat screen for your puppy. Try as we may, this is never going to feel normal…




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