The Struggles of a Stray
Based around the true story of stray dogs found in Russian metro systems, Russian Subway Dogs is an arcade experience that will have players fighting off other strays while simultaneously juggling food and keeping well fed. With a unique approach to racking up points and an even more absurd method of consuming delicious shawarma wraps, Spooky Squid Games delivers an arcade experience that, will not only test gamers’ juggling skills, but their patience as well.
Plopping players right in the midst of a busy subway terminal, you’ll eat your way through numerous waves of civilians as a leaping canine stray in hopes of gobbling up the highest score possible. But things aren’t as easy as they seem, as players must tactically and carefully bark, leap and juggle an assortment of items to get the most out of every startled Russian civilian that crosses your path.
Leaping for Survival
Throughout each level waves of subway trains make their stop and drop off a variety of passengers. Your role as the lonely stray is to frighten each pedestrian with your bark ability so they toss their delicious shawarma wrap sky-high, running off in terror. This process, of course, allows for the player to gobble up the food item earning you, not only points, but slightly refills your constantly depleting health bar. Where the game gets interesting is how many points you obtain, and the ability to juggle food items via your bark move.
Of course, not every pedestrian is armed with a delicious shawarma wrap, as tasty grub like cheeseburgers, fresh fish and even elk meat find their way into the mix. However, perhaps the most versatile item is the bottles of vodka dropped by certain passer-byers which, when dropped onto the ground, explode causing any nearby food items to become cooked – in turn awarding the player with more points.
Juggle, Juggle, Juggle
With the unique juggling ability, players bark across the screen utilizing each juggle to rack up a combo string. The higher the combo string, the more points the cooked items are worth. And while leaping about snatching up these delicious food stuffs might seem easy at first, waves begin throwing other stray dogs your way that can scrounge up any food item that is in their vicinity.
The challenge of juggling bottles of explosive vodka in order to guide it to a fulfilling recipe of tasty, cooked grub becomes more addictive the more you play. Soon, the game will throw increasingly busy waves of an assortment of varying food and hazard items the deeper you dive in. Dodging charging elk, out-jumping opposing poodles and, of course, igniting tasty food items pits an interesting amount of obstacles throughout each level. Like a game of tennis with yourself, Russian Subway Dogs makes a tedious tactic of guiding a juggled bottle of vodka and somehow manages to drive out a solid dose of fun.
Throughout the campaign players are engaged in a subtle, yet mildly entertaining dialogue between the feline mission giver – the Proletaricat. The arcade mayhem across the campaign will have players start off in iconically designed subway stations filled with ordinary citizens like shawarma enthusiasts to fresh fish wielding babushkas, to the outlandishly bizarre, like hungry bears and meaty elks you’re forced to fight off with fire. The game begs for your attention with both the daring gameplay and completely absurd encounters.
How’d They Get in the Subway?
Outside of the campaign players may take on the endless mode which takes away the time limit found in the main story missions. The higher your score is after the allotted time ends determines your overall rank when playing through the campaign. However, in endless mode players continuously throws one wave after the next of food ingesting, bear igniting chaos until your hunger meter completely depletes.
Aside from consuming raw or cooked food items to rely on refilling your hunger meter, players may also use the explosive vodka bottles to wipe out any nagging stray dogs snatching up your points. When a stray eats your hard-earned food item, half of the overall point worth for that items is deducted from your score, so it’s all-too important to keep these thieving canines out of the equation.
With a unique strategic approach to an addictive arcade layout, Russian Subway Dogs allows for a thoroughly enjoyable experience for any old-school gaming aficionado. Some might find the method of surviving the metro waves a bit frustrating time and time again, but that’s where the game continuously drives players forward. For every missed opportunity or under-cooked food item there’s typically a lesson learned.
Combining the peculiar story of stray dogs navigating their way through Russian subway systems with an old-school flare of fast-paced arcade action, Russian Subway Dogs successfully brings back a classic feeling with a modern twist. With a healthy amount of variety from stage to stage, a selection of unlockable indie game characters – including Nidhogg, and an invigorating endless wave mode – players can expect to be thoroughly challenged throughout a wildly charming experience.
Review key provided by the publisher.