Pupperazzi is the in-game cotton candy. It’s sweet and makes the day feel more festive, but if you’re looking for something truly meaningful, it won’t get you through. Cleverly, the game doesn’t take itself too seriously, it tends to be a staple of the little paparazzi with hilarious quests, lively levels, and plenty of opportunities to pet virtual dogs main members.
Developer Sundae Month doesn’t try to explain Pupperazzi’s ego. You’re a humanoid camera (whose outstretched arms and awkward shadows are either goofy or nightmarish, depending on how you look at it). From the start, your goal is to be the best dog photographer in a world dominated by playful puppies. It’s that simple. Pupperazzi knowsIndeed, rather than being stuck with a onerous exhibit, the game let me jump right into the fun photo action.
As an authority dog in rain gear explained, my first job was to build my notoriety by accomplishing goals. Instead of getting quests from NPCs, you can find a photo-centric to-do log in the menu. Many of the requests are lighthearted and humorous, such as a request from a game developer who requested a photo of a dog on a bicycle with a pixel lens because they didn’t know how to draw a bicycle and needed it as a reference.
Completing objectives earns rewards, such as bone currency to buy better gear and more followers – this marks your progress, just like experience points in another game. Gaining followers also means opening up more areas to explore. These challenges are a great guide to what I see or do at each level and motivate me to level up my gear. Pupperazzi’s menu-based goals are important because there isn’t much direction in the game. There’s no character or overarching narrative to keep you going, which might be more appealing, but these requests give players a good reason to explore the landscape and get a snapshot of the adorable puppy.
Camera controls are intuitive; just press the left trigger to bring up the camera, and the right trigger to take a photo. Once I captured the perfect moody black-and-white photo of a Dalmatian with an eye-catching collar on my target list, I checked to see if my client was happy to claim my prize. I also gain more followers by posting my photos to the game’s social media site dogNET. NPCs share feedback and if they like the theme, they may follow you to help unlock new levels. Trying to appease the whims of these armchair photographers adds a much-needed layer to the game that might otherwise get boring with what happens every now and then.
Pupperazzi doesn’t completely avoid pitfalls. I spend a lot of time with the menus, and the game doesn’t always convey the message clearly. FOr for example, the game doesn’t indicate when the photo meets the requirements of your current goal. After each shoot, I had to constantly bring up the menu to see if I could claim the reward.
On top of that, I need to check the menu to see what my goals are for each area, or if I want to access dogNET. This all leads to a lot of flipping through the tags instead of photographing the blurry creature. I also found it a bit unpleasant that a message popped up every time I wanted to move to the next area warning me that my photos might not be saved. This left me confused and hesitant about what to do when trying to get out of the beginner level for the first time. However, the wait was longer than I was ready to admit, and I ventured out of the level to find my pictures were fine as I moved to a new location.
It makes up for the inconvenience by exploring sandbox levels that are vibrant and uniquely themed. From the Bubby Boardwalk, with its skate park and shuttered arcade, to the nature-filled trails of Mellowstone, every area is worth exploring. Different worlds have new objectives, hidden objects that can be used to interact with furry themes, secret currency stash, and vending machines for buying equipment or items. I was also pleasantly surprised by some optional platforming opportunities at different levels, such as using the awning as a trampoline to jump onto rooftops where more dogs hang out.
After a few hours, I finished my Pupperazzi credits, and having accomplished almost everything in that time, I had no reason to go back. However, my brief time was full of lighthearted fun, only to be spoiled by a few annoyances. Its animated levels, playful attitude, and delightful premise make Pupperazzi a great game to jump into when you just want to escape and play with your pretend puppy for a while.