Sarah Northway's Word Up Dog wants to kick it with you tonight20 Feb 2013 0
Sarah Northway needed a break from the end of the world. "I wanted something to lighten my mood after long months of simulating zombie massacres," she said.
The output of Sarah's diligence was Rebuild, the wonderfully replayable post-apocalyptic city-building adventure that started life as two separate Flash games and was eventually ported for iOS, Android, and even the pitiable Blackberry. So who could blame her for needing a holiday from zombies? Northway's new game couldn't be thematically further from the gruesome, unsentimental survivalist world of Rebuild. "It turned out pretty damn silly," she told me.
Boy did it ever.
Like Rebuild, Word Up Dog is a tough game to assign a neat label to: it's part open-world exploration and part word game. The titular Dog has fallen into a crack in the earth and discovered a subterranean world. No Morlocks and Eloi down here though: Word Up Dog's underground denizens are completely over-the-top talking hip-hop animals that could have been the cast of a cartoon version of Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. So yes, silly.
Under that theme there's the clever, genre-busting game that you should expect from Sarah Northway. Your goal is to get as deep into the earth as possible, and digging is powered by your finite supply of bones. You acquire more bones by digging out letters and using them to spell words. "It's like if Dig Dug and Boggle had a baby," Northway says, "but it came out dressed like Flavor Flav." It's also very nicely produced: the character designs are wonderful and the soundtrack is surprisingly sophisticated.
Word Up Dog is out tonight around midnight where you live for iOS and Android. When Northway's done with post-release support for this game, you can expect that she'll be getting on with Rebuild 3, as she told us back in January.