Dogs are far more clever than the easygoing nature of the standard domesticated canine hints at. There are packs of dogs in Russia that ride the subway from one station to another, treating it as a free ride to the busiest scavenging grounds depending on time of day. This is just about as perfect a scenario for gaming as could be imagined, so Russian Subway Dogs takes the concept and applies a heavy coat of arcade silliness to the real-world situation. As a small pup you need to fend off hunger by startling subway riders and grabbing the dropped food before other animals take advantage of the sudden windfall. A sharp bark from behind someone will make them toss whatever they’re carrying, whether that be a tasty snack or explosive bottle of vodka, and barking again while the food is in mid-air juggles it for a good combo bonus. Like all the best arcade games the simple play leads to complicated situations as one variable after another gets layered on, but a smart and quick pup can use it all to its advantage once it’s understood. Bark to make someone drop their vodka, bark at it a couple more times to get a midair combo going, bark one more time to make it land beside a burger that another dog is going for, and get a combo bonus of a toasted competitor and a bigger chunk added back to the hunger gauge from cooking your food.
For its launch week, Russian Subway Dogs has teamed up with Save Our Scruff (web page over here for more info), a non-profit that rescues dogs and works to find them permanent homes. Every copy sold gets a $1.00 donation to Save Our Scruff, and seeing as they operate everywhere from North America to Russia maybe a purchase will help rescue an actual Russian subway dog. There are a lot of things that are great to do in gaming that kind of suck in real life, and it would be nice if playing the fantasy could help make the reality better.
Russian Subway Dogs is available on Steam as of today, with console versions on the way. Check out the launch trailer below to see all the doggy action a subway station can handle.