Little Friends: Puppy Island | Nintendo Switch Review.

Saturday 22 July 2023

Publisher: Fireshine Games, Imagineer
Developer: Big Blue Bubble
Nintendo Switch Review

*Disclaimer: I was sent the code for this game in return for a review, all opinions are mine and mine alone.

Any of my readers from the generation of Nintendogs? I am! Why am I mentioning this? Well for a lot of players games like this are very nostalgic, I still play Nintendogs on my 3DS XL, when I come across any game similar to Nintendogs it gives me flashbacks but in a good way. Little Friends: Puppy Island is one of them games, Initially I thought it would be a little childish when I first heard the name, upon playing the game I was proved very wrong. Players arrive on a picturesque island owned by a friend called Sam, just waiting to be explored, it's a little odd taking on the responsibility of the island and the dogs that come with it, I just went with the flow to see what was in store for me.

First and foremost your mission is to explore, you won't get anywhere until you make the steps to look around the island and find the dogs, there are 9 different breeds of puppies which players can "catch" to train and learn traits, each of these traits help you build upon the island and unlock certain areas. Without the traits levelling up you will be unable to progress further, let me explain a bit more. When you come across an obstacle such as a log, you will have to have the right traits levelled up to go across the log, once you have them you will be taken to a mini game where you have to help a dog balance to from one side to the other without staying in the red zone, it's pretty simplistic at first, the more locations you find the harder the mini games get. I hated the jumping ones the most, I'm rubbish at them, it took me several times to get the dog to the goal and even then I felt no relief. 

The hardest part of the game is the mini games, everything else is simplistic enough to grasp, it will get repetitive yet it doesn't ever get boring. The constantly need to return home, feed your pet and keep them clean shows a more human side, it forces you to care and nourish for each of your puppies so you can go to more exploration locations together. This means when you're out and about with your puppy you have a certain amount of time to get done as much as you can before heading home. What I loved about going on the walks was finding new puppies along the trail and approaching them carefully, showing care and consideration as well as the basic skills to train a dog. it teaches children that if you want a puppy you will need to train them.

One of my favourite features was dressing up my puppies, I had to work in order to be able to do this though, performing tasks like taking pictures for the person texting me, building parks, lighthouses etc for those visiting the island so they have more to do, I mean I would just be happy being surrounded by dogs more than anything, the buildings would just be an added bonus. The more money you make from doing these tasks you can use to send your dogs to training, to the spa, accessories and even toys for them to play with. The school option is a timesaver, it means players can avoid having to spend hours taking each dog back and forth for walks to level up their stats, it does get costly though. 

Players can name their puppies once they have washed them back at the home location, there will only ever be 3 dogs at this location at one time, the others you collected can be sent to different locations that you built so long as they have the right stats. One thing I do need to point out is this game isn't accessible for all players, some will find certain features difficult like the timed mini games and the QTE, I understand this is all part of making the game more interactive and fun, it would benefit for a feature to bypass this for people who use accessible options.

The developers certainly had quirky ideas when putting this game together, for example the map is in the shape of a paw print, that's beyond adorable, Little Friends: Puppy Island may be aimed at younger gamers but there's nothing to stop adults like me enjoying it, It fits perfectly into the cosy category for me, my cat even sits next to me and watches me play it both in handheld mode and on my TV. In conclusion it's the most fun I have had on a game in a few weeks!

Have a cosy day


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