My Sweet Dog 2 is not your average pet game. For one thing, it's actually half a simulation, half a time management title. It also takes realism to a whole new level. Think it's all about feeding and bathing your very own sweet virtual pup? No. You actually get to experience taking care of him from puppyhood to, well, old age. And we all know what happens to old dogs -they retire. All in 30 minutes of tear-jerking fun.
Release Date: 01/11/2015
My Sweet Dog 2 is developed by Mary.
Meet Buddy, a Labrador pup which you adopted from a shelter. Being your very own dog, he hangs onto every little word you say and wants to participate in every little thing you do. We are not exaggerating. The game even tells you explicitly by saying "Please do not forsake me, any separation from you will be very painful". Sure, there is truth in that message, but something may have gone wrong during the translation process because it sounds like you have a chronically clingy canine in your hands.
When Gameplay Gets a Little too Realistic
Taking a cue from a dog's life cycle, the game is divided into three stages. The first, which is puppyhood, focuses on taking care of Buddy's basic needs. This entails clicking madly on your virtual house, trying to prevent the status bars from plummeting. There are six of these found at the bottom of your screen. In order to survive for most of the game, you are required to keep an eye on them and ensure that none of them reach zero. To be specific, the six bars you have to watch out represent the Hungry, Thirsty, Tired, Happy, Dirty and Toilet statuses.
You may notice that upon comparison, these bars do not make much sense. Basing solely on the status labels, a hundred percent Happy is a good thing, but so is a hundred percent Dirty. Again, something seems lost in translation here. With typos and confusing text sprinkled about the whole game, My Sweet Dog 2 could have really benefitted from some form of proof reading.
Anyway, keeping your pup happy simply requires alternate clicking between the six interactive objects around the house. When all the status bars are finally in the green, you then proceed to the next stage which is focused on adulthood.
During stage 2, three new status bars are added to Buddy's list. The smart, agility and obedience bars are increased by accomplishing their respective training mini games. The goal of stage 2 is to keep up with Buddy's basic needs and at the same time, win a few skill competitions. Training Buddy right away may be tricky because while the training is on-going, your status bars still continue to deplete.
One trick you can employ is to make keeping Buddy's basic needs in the green a priority. Manage to get them high enough and you will be able to focus on a training game in order to win in that specific category.
Training Your Dog
The intelligence training which fills up the Smart bar is actually a matching mini game. Items are scattered about the stage and you are provided a few shadow silhouettes. You are required to click on matching items in order, resulting in a "Good Dog" status and a significant increase on the Smart bar.
The agility training is a timing game wherein you pitch a baseball and Buddy has to be able to catch it. It is a bit tricky and the time pressure may be a tad too strict for younger gamers.
Obedience (or, according to the tutorial, "submission") training simply requires you to identify and click on Buddy's owner after she gets mixed in with other girls. This is actually the easiest game and gives you a good head start on the competitions.
Aside from the confusing game text, the real issue here is the continuously dropping basic need bars. There is no way to switch between the training mini games and the home screen on the fly. This means that if you take too long figuring out how to play the mini games, you may return to find your six basic need bars in critical status.
Fail to fulfill any of Buddy's needs and its Game Over for you. There game lacks a continue function, which may be quite frustrated for players who need to take time in figuring things out. The timing is quite strict and the bar depletes too fast to actually enjoy your virtual dog's antics. All you will be able to do in this title is to click like a madwoman and hope that you find the correct item during the intelligence training or throw the ball properly during the agility course. It would have been more appealing if you had time to enjoy playing with Buddy instead of just going through the motions to keep him happy.
The third, and last, stage of Buddy's life focuses on his retirement. As an old dog, you will simply have to focus on fulfilling his basic needs. This is reminiscent of the first stage, and there is really no drastic difference between the two.
The graphics are a mix of sweet and cheesy. The colors are definitely vibrant and a pleasure to look at, the images are cute and the user interface fits into the pet simulation mold. What does not fit is the layout and typeface choices. Also, the game narration screens sandwiched between stages truly emphasize that the game is in need of some polish.
As you can probably gather, My Sweet Dog 2 is targeted at a young female audience. The message is centered on pet responsibility and the amount of work that owning a dog entails. It is quite a noble point to drive home but the execution leaves much to be desired. With the unneeded time pressure, the mini games are more frustrating than fun.
Considering the fact that the game is aimed at younger players, the text could also use some heavy editing in order to avoid teaching kids wrong grammar. Including quotes are a sweet touch, but can it really get more depressing than that? It would really be nice if the developers gave some more thought into making the setting a bit less grim.
The game takes roughly 30 minutes to finish, as long as you try to concentrate on the objectives. Being such a short game, it would have been nice if there were elements to encourage you to give the game another go. Unfortunately, the replay value is quite low. The only real reward to accomplishing the stages is to see a few extra artwork of Buddy and his owner. It might have provided a bit more interaction if there was some way to name the girl and Buddy, but at this point the game feels more like a preview than a solid title.
Overall, Titters My Sweet Dog 2 is age appropriate enough for its target audience. However, there is nothing which sets this title apart from the rest game play-wise. If you are a parent and do not want to make your little girl an unhappy camper, you should probably give this game a try before you give her the reigns. After all, four out of every five gamers in our team felt utterly depressed playing this title, and that alone was more than enough to get raised eyebrows. Indeed, we were supposed to give My Sweet Dog 2 game a lower score, but the concept of delivering such an important message to the casual pet owner community is truly a noble cause and the effort deserves some merit. In short, we need more games that have a good message behind them -too bad that the delivery on this title is lacking some substance. It is a real shame how a bit more of effort and proper story editing could have done wonders.