There might be better uses of my time than spending hour upon hour snapping shots of all the good pups out there, but I can’t imagine those uses would be more enjoyable. There is a reason dogs are so often described as man’s best friend. They’re inherently honest, affectionate, and make loyal companions. Sundae Month’s Pupperazzi acknowledges our love for our canine friends and creates a vibrant, sandbox world full of dogs of all breeds and sizes. There are a handful of humans milling about too, but it’s clear that the dogs run the show.
Graphically speaking, Pupperazzi is simple but charming. It’s bright, colourful and full of variety – you can return to locations at different times of day, and they’ll have a whole new feel to them. Couple that with Pupperazzi’s catchy, upbeat music, and you’ve got yourself a great combination.
Unique as it is, the premise is simple enough. As an anthropomorphic camera on legs – strange, I know – it’s our job to snap shots of these glorious dogs in action and share them with the world to build a social media following. I’ll admit it was a little creepy at first. As a first-person photography experience, you’ll spend much of your time looking through a camera lens, so it was a little unnerving when I reached out to pet a dog with an arm that could belong to Mister Fantastic.
Once I’d gotten used to the initial strangeness of the game, I could enjoy its wholesome nature because there is nothing more wholesome than a world full of dogs.
We begin our career at Lighthouse Cove where we meet Sea Dog – a small dog in adorable yellow boots and a matching raincoat. His first request is simple – to take a picture of him – but it introduces us to the game mechanics. From that point on, you’ll be able to travel to different locations and receive requests from other dogs. Some of these requests will be accessible to you immediately upon entering an area, whilst some are hidden and require you to first discover a green envelope.
Completion of these requests will earn you social media followers and Bonks – a golden bone-shaped currency that allows you to purchase upgrades to your camera and items that can be used to interact with the dogs. Despite these requests popping up frequently, Pupperazzi has no real expectations of you. Even the requests are relatively straightforward, allowing you to take everything at your own pace as you flit between locations and snap shots of whatever catches your eye. I enjoyed this freedom to a degree but would have preferred some more ambiguous requests that required me to use my head a little more – most were as simple as “take a photo of a dog on a skateboard”.
Some requests will ask you to use a specific lens or filter, but for the most part, you’re free to experiment. There are several techniques, filters and lenses to try out, but make sure you upload your best pictures to the in-game social media platform, DogNet, to further increase your following. These techniques, however, were limited. Pupperazzi rewards us with followers for using techniques like low and wide shots, but it would have benefitted from allowing us a little more creative liberty.
When you begin the game, you only have the capacity for ten shots. You can increase this through camera upgrades but not by much, so you’ll probably run out pretty quickly. This isn’t so much of an issue as it is a hassle, but you’ll have to recycle them to re-use the film. Luckily, you can save any you wish to keep to your gallery prior to deleting them, so you won’t really lose them. You can only post a handful of photos a day before your followers start accusing you of spam, so make them count. If a dog is dressed-up or doing something interesting, you’ll earn more followers. Different techniques and filters will also appeal to different parts of your fanbase.
As you reach specific follower milestones, you’ll unlock the ability to add a little more variety to your shots by dressing the dogs up or taking selfies. You’ll also start to attract the attention of the dog king, which is about as much of a story mode as we get.
I’m undoubtedly a dog person, so Pupperazzi was something that instantly caught my eye. About 90% of the camera roll on my phone is dedicated to my own dog, so it was only natural for me to radiate towards this game.
I enjoyed my time with Pupperazzi, but a lack of depth and content means that it isn’t a game that is going to keep you occupied for all that long. The inclusion of an in-game photo album adds a little more playtime for those who choose to complete it, but unless you plan to do so or unlock all of the game’s achievements, it’s unlikely to take more than a couple of hours to finish the game. That said, Pupperazzi does what it sets out to do – turn us into dog photographers. Its calming nature, spirited premise and lack of gameplay parameters mean that Pupperazzi is a great game to dip in and out of when you need to unwind, but those after a challenge might want to look elsewhere.
Developer: Sundae Month
Publisher: Kitfox Games
Platforms: Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X, PC
Release Date: 20th January 2022