A barking great time for dog fans everywhere, with only a few hiccups along the way.
Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a cat person, but that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate a good pupper every now and then. I’ve had my eye on Pupperazzi ever since Kitfox Games announced it in 2020 and I’m so glad I waited to play it on the Switch. When you’re roaming around cities, beaches, and national parks taking snaps of dogs just being dogs, the Switch feels like the perfect console for the experience.
Pupperazzi is a joyful, cosy game where you play as a photographer tasked with taking photos of dogs for your social media page. It’s just that simple. Your followers or other members of dog society give you quests to earn you more ‘bonks’ that you can spend on camera upgrades and new film. Personally, I really enjoy the quest system as it gives my art some direction, rather than just letting me take photo after photo of adorable dog faces.
One of my favourite parts of this game is the world it creates. At first glance, it seems fairly normal, a world that just has a significantly larger number of free-roaming dogs than ours, who sometimes wear silly hats. But then you unlock selfie mode and discover that you’re actually just a giant camera with legs. And where are all the humans? There are some humanoids around but we’re told that they’re robots invented by the dogs to pay taxes. Have dogs evolved past the need for humans? Was there a dog uprising in the past that wiped out the entire human race? We’ll never know.
Along with the world-building, Pupperazzi’s writing is hilarious. The quests from fans and follower comments had me cracking up over and over again – particularly when I posted a picture of a nice sunset and just received the comment NO DOG. You’re right, random commenter, there is no dog in this photo and for that, I should be ashamed.
I’m genuinely impressed with the quality of some of the photos I managed to take. Graphically, Pupperazzi isn’t anything spectacular, but Sundae Month manages to create a huge range of recognisably different dog breeds and expansive, interesting areas to explore and photograph. The lighting changes are what really do it for me. As you progress through the story and unlock more locations, you also get to revisit past locations at different times of day. Let me tell you, this game knows how to capture the beauty of golden hour lighting perfectly. I’m genuinely more excited when I get to return to the lighthouse at night or the beachfront in the early morning than I am to unlock new locations.
Obviously the stars of the show are the dogs. There are so many different dogs just going about their daily lives in every nook and cranny of this world and it is phenomenal to see. I mentioned in our Pupperazzi Switch release date article that it really grinds my gears when games don’t let you pet the animals in the world, so not only being allowed to pet the dogs but being actively encouraged to do so in this game is extremely heartwarming. It’s the simple yet effective pleasure of giving a labrador some pats and seeing him light up with joy and follow you around. It gets me every single time. And their little outfits! So precious! I’m a sucker for a dress-up mechanic and when I say I have put a froggy hat on every dog that I have encountered so far I’m not exaggerating.
While Pupperazzi is a lovely and hilarious experience, it’s not perfect. The controls can be a bit clunky and I find myself mixing up the jump and crouch buttons almost every single time I use them because they don’t match other games I’ve played on the Switch. The simplified controls option helps, but overall I think the button mapping could be more intuitive for a smoother experience. My other main gripe is that some quests are extremely specific in their demands, essentially forcing you to find one set group of dogs doing the action required, and then frame them perfectly to get your reward.
I spent about 20 minutes trying to take one photo in the city of a group of three dogs sat at a table looking at the moon. The combination of finding the dogs in the first place, fiddly platforming to reach them, and then actually getting the shot was beyond frustrating. Luckily there’s only one or two of these objectives per area so it’s not super frequent, but it’s definitely affected my overall experience.
Something that doesn’t particularly bother me but you might want to consider is that the main game only takes three to four hours to complete. Personally, I think the price is worth it because finishing the main story doesn’t mean there’s nothing left to do. I’ve got through the whole plot but am still actively playing, trying to fill out my Puppypedia by cataloguing all the dog breeds and just generally having a nice time taking photos of my furry friends.
Overall, I think Pupperazzi is a heartwarming, hilarious, and cosy gaming experience that’s perfect for any animal lover. You can play it casually or grind for 100% completion and neither playstyle is valued over the other. The price may put some people off, but I think it’s worth it to see four-time Puppy Z Games champion Tony Bark doing sweet tricks on his skateboard by the beach. Plus, you can always wait for a sale!