Russian Subway Dogs is a new indie game developed by Spooky Squid Games Inc. that incorporates many arcade functions with an entertaining environment. For instance, in this game you play a hungry Russian dog, whose job it is to bark behind travelers and have them drop their food, or explosive vodka. In doing so you can either refill some of your stamina or you lose some from the destructive vodka. Is fun, yes?
While Russian Subway Dogs is an indie arcade game, it is fully based on the true dogs that scour the subway system in Russia, looking for food and commuting back and forth between locations. Though not all aspects of this game are true (such as the cats being in-charge of the dogs), it sheds light on the inspiration of the game, though Spooky Squid Games took it to a more fictitious level.
Within the game, you play a hungry Soviet dog, who has cats and kittens that give you the missions to complete within the different commuter terminals. To progress further in the game, you have to manage your hunger bar alongside the mission qualifications that are given to you. As an example, the mission for 1-2 includes:
- Not allowing any dobermans to eat shawarma
- Eating a shawarma worth 200 points or more
- Hitting 2 dobermans with a single vodka explosion
Like with all arcades, you have to be quick with your reflexes, and playing Russian Subway Dogs is no different. There are enemies called Dobermans that aim to take the food away from your Soviet little pupper, and without the reflexes to either take the food first or aim an explosive vodka on them you’re out of luck.
In my opinion, some of the toughest reflexes are barking behind the commuters, and then either barking to bounce an item up, or barking to bounce it at an enemy. This is where it gets tricky, because you also want to jump into the air and catch the food for better points, OR bounce a vodka and food together to make the points worth even more. It takes not only a mastery of the controls (utilizing WASD, arrow keys; alongside a jump and bark button) but also the ability to time when the actions are going to coincide.
Depending on your abilities in the game will lead into how quickly you complete the campaign. For myself, I’ll be playing this game for many days to come, simply due to my arcade tolerance and reflexes to complete them more efficiently. Others who are better are more-likely to complete the game in a day or so, without having to repeat levels often.
Though the campaign might end, Russian Subway Dogs also has an endless mode, where you just rack up points and survive. A true challenge for you arcade connoisseurs.
As you progress through the game, you’ll also be able to unlock more dogs and cats to play with, including some fan favorites like Question Hound from Gunshow, Raccoon from Ruin of the Reckless, Nacho & Rad Shiba from VA-11 HALL-A, and even the Proletaricat.
Soundtrack and Graphics
What truly drew me into Russian Subway Dogs was the soundtrack and graphics of the game. Soundtrack wise, Peter Chapman known for Guacamelee! and LittleBigPlanet Karting developed the music it’s truly spot-on with the game. It has a Soviet Russian sound alongside an upbeat energetic speed that is perfect for Russian Subway Dogs that is very fast-paced. A simple example of this is the debut trailer for the game below that was published on YouTube by Sony.
As for the graphics, well look at it. It’s an arcade game with arcade graphics, but it’s adorable. The kitten in charge at the bottom of the screen near the hunger bar is wearing a Soviet uniform, while your normal pupper has a Soviet snow cap on while he’s running through Moscow Metro. The backgrounds of the different terminals are gorgeous, and it all adds to the theme of being in Russia as a poor hungry dog.
If you’re looking for a game that you can pick up and enjoy, while not getting extremely attached to a story-line this is perfect for you. Russian Subway Dogs is in my opinion a great casual arcade game for people who love completing levels and perfecting their reflexes. There’s no extreme story, but there are missions and objectives to clear for moving forward which is certainly challenging.
Spooky Squid Games created a perfect balance between the graphics and soundtrack, along with simplified controls that anyone can master over time. Coupled with the gameplay and functions of jumping, bouncing items, and catching them – there’s no better arcade game at this time that provides all the traditional aspects with the extras.
While I personally found the game a bit frustrating, I can note that I’m just simply not a fully arcade gamer, and prefer more story-drive elements that keep my focus longer.
Russian Subway Dogs is available on the PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Xbox One, and Steam. It’s known they are looking into a Nintendo Switch version, which would be perfect for this style game!