Puzzle Puppers Review

March 1, 2018
Also on: PC, Android, iOS

Who’s a good boy, then? That is a question asked to so many doggies around the world, yet how many of them receive an answer? Do they spend their whole life wondering who it is, and perhaps striving to be one themselves? Whilst we shall probably never know the answer — unless, after asking the same to your own doggo, you let them know that they are the good boy — we can tell you that Puzzle Puppers is a very good game, with some incredibly cute and woofie pooches.

At the outset there is no tutorial and you’re dumped right into the game at level one out of eighty in total. It all seems a little bewildering. but playing about in game teaches you the basics pretty quickly. You press A to stretch out your canine, demonstrating its desire to be a sausage woofer despite the fact it looks more like a differently coloured Lassie, if we’re being honest. You press B to compress your pup — every move is undoable. The aim is to get your puppy to extend all the way to its bowl full of lovely food, ideally passing over the bonus hams on bones along the way. How you do this is by moving across the isometric surface, according to the underlying grid, in such a way that you hoover up as much food as you can and reaching your little tyke’s bowl.

Look at those fluffy doggies and all that ham for them to eat!

To start with it’s so very easy. In fact, you can make your way through the first quarter of the game in under half an hour, and the next quarter takes not much more as you’ll be in the swing of things. However the challenge does ramp up, and new mechanics are introduced periodically. You might find multiple hounds in the level and each needs to be fed. Or perhaps there’s the running water which, if stepped in, drags your mutt all the way down to the end of said rivulet. There are tunnels which they can pass through and perhaps you’ll need to use one of man’s best friends to block another one, before backtracking and getting the blocker to its food. Multiple tailwaggers, many tunnels, lots of bonus ham and more, can make a very simple game a very difficult one eventually.

If you want an easier way out you can take Fido straight to its bowl and avoid the bonus hams, but if you do you’ll get fewer hearts. This doesn’t stop you going onto the next level but it does mean bonus levels are left locked — so the incentive is there to find the best solution to a level, and replay is rewarded. Quite often you’ll find that as you progress you learn more about the nuance of the puzzles at hand, and your brain moves up a gear or two such that you can see the solution that much more easily and quickly. Then, going back to previously beaten — but not perfected — levels results in you finishing them off with ease, even if before you had no idea what to do.

Sausage doggos alert

The game is very cutesy and full of vibrancy as delivered via the woofing bundles of fluff and the intensely coloured screen. Your mongrels themselves are full of colour, ranging from day-glo pink to luminous green and more in between. The audio is suitably cheery but a little bit repetitive, so you’ll likely find yourself listening to music or something else. The overall presentation is simple and basic and entirely in keeping with the game’s origins as a mobile title. In fact, it being on the Nintendo Switch is a delightful fit. You can pick up and play for one minute or one hour and you can keep coming back to it to get all the eighty levels completed and perfected at any time and anywhere — be it on the train during your daily commute, or with the kids in the back garden on a sunny winter’s day. It will keep everyone engaged as who doesn't want to rack their brains to solve conundrums which lead to a lovely, sweet doge getting some delicious food?

Puzzle Puppers achieves what it sets out to do with aplomb. It’s an irreverent puzzler with animal-like charm which is fun to play for all ages and all skill levels, at all times. It functions as an intense workout for your brain or something to fill those short gaps between jobs. It does so whilst allowing you to play with dogs at the same time and, quite frankly, who wouldn’t want that?

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A delightfully cute puzzler with plenty of doggies who you help to feed. Fun for all ages and skills, the challenge begins gently and ramps up over time, perfect for long sessions and short bursts alike, at home or away.
Luciano Howard

I've been gaming for 35+ years on the Commodore VIC-20 to the PlayStation 5 and pretty much everything in-between. I enjoy all kinds of games but if I had to pick a couple in particular, I'd say I adore Mario and love Dark Souls. I can talk about either an awful lot should you want to!