|System: Wii, PS2||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Ubisoft||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Ubisoft||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: May 6, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
The Dog Island is what some people might call a "niche" title. Before buying this game for yourself or anyone else, you have to answer a few questions. Does the intended gamer like the Disney Channel? Do they like cute and fuzzy pets? Do they go to bed before 9 p.m.? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then The Dog Island would be a great choice for the intended gamer. If not, then you may want to look into something different because this game is all kid's stuff.
The Dog Island is a game based on the popular "The Dog" design that features super-deformed pooches with gigantic heads. You've probably seen this design on kids' clothes, school supplies, and the like. I know what you're thinking: a game based on a design can't be good. But as amazing as it sounds, The Dog Island really succeeds as a child's title.
The game begins with the player picking out a breed for their main character. They have most major breeds from Akita to Shiba-Inu, so if the player has a favorite breed, they'll probably be able to find it easily. The player is then able to pick their character's name and gender and the gender of their sibling. You are then thrust into the game, which takes place in a quiet, little dog village. The character will meet some of the town's residents, including the mailman, milkman, and the local pirate (every village needs one, right?). However, you soon learn that the main dog's little sibling is very ill and won't be able to recover unless a famous doctor is sought out from, you guessed it, The Dog Island.
Once you get to The Dog Island, you meet with the doctor and learn that in order to cure your brother you will need to assist the doctor by honing your sniffing powers. The sniffing mechanic forms the main part of your adventure, and you will find yourself exploring The Dog Island in search of new scents to complete most of the major gameplay missions. Once you find and identify a certain number of scents, your character levels up.
Although the main component of the game is the sniffing, there are also side missions you can take on which normally involve running errands for townspeople. There is quite a bit of variation in the gameplay, and since The Dog Island features an open world system, you can really go your own pace for the most part. You are also able to set up your own house, customize your dog with purchased clothes and accessories, and send letters back to your family.
But what would an RPG-style game be without a battle system? Even though The Dog Island is firmly rooted in the kiddie section, you will have to fight other island animals, such as snakes and bears, which might attack and deplete your heath meter. But since we don't want too much violence, the main agent of destruction in The Dog Island is your dog's bark. You can get close to the animals that might do you harm, and if you can bark loud enough they'll pass out. For the most part this works pretty well, and believe it or not, it is somewhat challenging to sneak up behind your enemies and startle them.