Pupperazzi, the review of the freelance dog photographer simulation



A simulation of a paparazzo, but specialized exclusively in dogs: this is the bizarre idea behind Pupperazzi, the protagonist of this review.

Let’s admit it, even the most cynical of us pauses smiling in front of a picture of a funny little dog: it’s practically a natural reaction of the human being, probably at the base of that special relationship that has made the animal in question the best friend par excellence. So why don’t we try to build a game entirely based on this principle, in which all we have to do is take pictures of dogs and publish them on fictitious social networks?

If this may seem too strange to be true, you have not reckoned with Sundae Month, developer of this bizarre game that we analyze in the review of Pupperazzi. Already the title is very explicit, both in terms of the concept behind the gaming experience and the spirit that pervades the whole, because a sort of crasis of this type between “paparazzi” and “puppy” can get the green light only if the development team has the intention to propose something really crazy.

And so it is, in fact: Pupperazzi has almost nothing obvious, apart from the basic dynamic of having to pursue certain objectives to advance in the game. Everything else is so bizarre that it makes it an almost shocking title, at first, partly because of its disarming simplicity, in conceptual terms.

All we have to do is explore the environments and photograph dogs, possibly following some precise indications that are provided by some characters – obviously dogs too – to advance from level to level. Curiously, the world in which the game is set also provides for the existence of humans, but they have an extremely marginal role and, as explained by the dog-fireman in one of the first levels, they serve the animals as they “take care of all the most boring things” and for this they represent good friends. This, however, can make us think about how the relationship between man and dog actually works and how they actually see us, but this is another matter.

Gameplay: explore, point and shoot

A dog looking rather upset, as often happens in Pupperazzi

It starts from a sunny beach with a lighthouse and from there, by completing the objectives, we unlock various other locations to explore in the hunt for new canine snapshots. The principle is a bit like that of Pokémon Snap, only in this case the game appears more structured, with the possibility to freely explore the environments and also solve some puzzles, involving elements of the scenario and, of course, dogs. For each setting we are given objectives to complete, involving particular subjects to be photographed (essentially dogs, in some given situation or position) and the use of lenses or films to apply effects to the images. Or we can simply take pictures inspired by some particular moment, publishing them on the social network dogNET, in an attempt to collect a good amount of likes, comments and new followers.

In some cases, reaching particular locations required or certain situations in which the subjects find themselves requires interacting in some way with the scenarios and here some adventure-style elements are triggered with puzzles that may require finding alternative routes, collecting objects and luring the dogs towards certain points of interest, thus pushing them to perform certain actions that may come in handy to complete the objectives.

Pupperazzi's dogs can be caught in very particular situations

Each level offers a limited amount of photos to be taken, so it is necessary not to waste more than so many attempts, also lenses and films must be purchased by spending the golden bones that can be found by exploring the environments and completing missions. There is a good artificial intelligence that leads canids to behave in a surprising way, especially in interactions with each other, giving a good impression of living environments and populated, while not pushing on the fact of wanting to make anthropomorphic animals and therefore finding a sort of middle ground between realistic behavior and imaginative interpretations of canine life.

A world of dogs

Pupperazzi allows you to visit settings in different light and weather situations

Advancing in the game we can apply various customizations to the animals, “dressing” them in various ways and adding accessories to personalize them, looking for the most attractive shots, but we must be careful not to flood dogNET with too many photos because we could be blocked for spam (rightly so). The various settings of Pupperazzi can be visited in various light conditions at different times of the day, in order to take advantage of variations in the scenarios, but apart from these variables and apart from the application of lenses and films, it is not possible to further modify the photos with effects and retouches in post-production, which could limit a little the creativity of the most passionate dog photographers.

As far as photos are concerned, there is a lack of depth in the evaluation of the shots by the system: basically, what we are asked is almost exclusively to frame a certain subject, but how this is captured in the photo is not very important. In practice, it is quite useless to try to take the most beautiful or particular photos possible since there is no real evaluation of technique or aesthetics, and often the feedback on dogNET is not very predictable, making the whole process of evaluating the photos quite aleatory. However, the desire to look for the strangest and nicest shot possible remains, also because the comments on the pseudo-social network are really enjoyable and moreover the presence of a real “Puppypedia” pushes us to try to find and photograph all the breeds of dogs present in the game.

Comment

Pupperazzi could be the paradise of fans of “cute pictures of puppies”, a category in which, in some form, we can all fit, to tell the truth. Entering his world is very easy, but stay there for more than a few hours is already much more difficult: the concept is very nice but translates into a very basic gameplay, which in a short time has exhausted its potential. In fact, in a couple of hours you can complete the whole thing and it is likely that you will not have more incentives to want to return, unless you really are a big fan of photos of dogs. As a game from Xbox Game Pass is really ideal, because it offers a moment of detachment and is completed willingly, but as a “financial investment” may have some major limitations. In any case, with its bizarreness has the merit of being able to bring a little ‘good humor really to everyone.

PRO

  • Immediately likeable and irresistible
  • Dogs of all kinds
  • Some adventure elements to vary the action
  • Gameplay really very simple and a bit repetitive
  • Lasts a short time and once finished it is difficult to replay it
  • Have you noticed any errors?

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