Dress Up Pup's: The Tale of a Canine Couturier & Doggy Dress Up

Download for Mac

Rating:

4 out of 5

Available for: Windows xp/vista/7/mac

dress up pups dogs fashion game

If you are a dog lover and you also happen to be a fan of match-3 games, then Dress-Up Pups might be right up your alley. Brought to you by Anawiki and RetroStyle Games, Dress-Up Pups is a lengthy and relaxing dog dress up venture into the world of pet and dog fashion. You are Pattie, secretary extraordinaire for pooch wear designer, Bernard. Sure, you are not in a position to rub elbows with the fashion elite, but you do have big dreams - and it does not involve taking messages.

Your chance finally comes when your boss is called in for an overseas fashion project and you are left in charge of the canine clothing store. Now you will have to face Bernard's clients, ranging from picky party-goers to celebrities, and style their pets accordingly.

Dress-Up Pups does not have conventional difficulty options. Easy, medium or hard difficulties are not present in the dog fashion game, but there are two modes to choose from instead. For veterans of match-3 games, a Timed mode is available to add to the difficulty. In contrast, relaxed mode is available for those who are new to the genre or those who simply want to take their time to enjoy the game.

Easy Does It

In general, the game pretty much sticks to the same formula. A client is introduced along with his pooch pal and you are given match-3 levels to finish in order to earn puzzle pieces. After the set number of levels, you have to play the jigsaw mini game, which is where the "styling" comes in. Together, the puzzle pieces form a portrait of your customer's dog wearing his new outfit. There are a total of 21 outfits all in all, requiring the completion of around 5 levels each and you have got yourself quite a long game.

For an added challenge, a portion of the game board has blue and green shaded tiles. Making matches on top of the shaded areas eliminates them and counts toward the completion of the level. Green tiles only need one match while the blue ones require two matches. While the shaded tiles do make things trickier, it does nothing to amp up the game's wow factor. It is a valiant effort, but is only novel for the first five stages -afterwards, it regrettably only adds to the monotony of the game.

A Bit of Variety

Some areas of the dog dress up game board may start out locked. This will require you to make a match using the chained tile in order to open up and use the closed area. Though simple, this unique concept does add a little kick to the all too familiar match-3 game play.

Getting the actual puzzle pieces requires you to get them down to the bottom of the playing grid. This can be accomplished with the use of strategic matches or power ups which are earned throughout the game. Power ups can be used multiple times in a level but will need to be charged up first. This helps alleviate the repetition and gets you to the next level faster by eliminating pesky, unwanted tiles.

For instance, the hammer removes a single tile of your choice -useful for puzzle pieces that just a hair away from the bottom. The dice shuffles all the tiles on your board, with a chance of lining up matches of course. The scissor literally cuts a diagonal cross through blocks.

There are a few variations of the match-3 segments. One mode will have you doing basic swaps, enabling you to do horizontal or vertical matches. Another gives you the ability to chain matches however you want (even diagonally) for as long as the tiles are of the same type. The easiest, and most exciting, variation is the Group mode wherein you click on sets of the same type for as long as there are three or more of them bunched up.

Making matches at a rapid pace is rewarded with explosive tiles appearing on the board. Clicking on these will cause the tiles around it to explode. The size of which may range from a conservative nine tiles using the mini bomb to the massive cross-pattern boom of a dynamite pack.

Familiar Territory

From a wider point of view, Dress-Up Pups' game play does not really leave much to the imagination. If you have played plenty of other match-3 type games, then there is little here in terms of gameplay that is really different. Simply put, the pet shop theme is the real draw to the game. Repetition is the key here and it may not be for people who are looking for something new. It may be for those who enjoy a solid sort of game play that can be stretched for long periods of time.

dress up pups game play

Sure to be eye candy for dog lovers, the graphics of this dog fashion game are colorful and cute. Realistic canine paintings adorn the background of your grid and the board showcases thematic items such as a grooming brush or a food bowl. The only problem is that the tiles are on the small side, making the playing field look too busy and confusing at times. Unless you are playing with a large desktop monitor (which in unlikely, as most casual players prefer to use the more conservative and practical netbooks), it is difficult to appreciate the game's scaled down grids and blocks. The cartoony illustrations for the story segments are appropriate, though it would have been more appealing if the art style was consistent throughout the game.

As delightful as the graphics are, the music is the exact opposite. The tracks chosen for the game are nothing memorable and are at times too laid back. A change of pace or tempo for each level could have helped minimize the hypnotic effect of the levels. At least the sound effects are easy on the ears even after an extensive session.

Verdict

With its limited variety of levels and fun, but short, jigsaw puzzle mini game, Dress-Up Pups may not be the cream of the crop when it comes to the match-3 genre but at least it gives you plenty of game time. Truly a valiant effort to reach out to dog lovers, the overall graphic appeal is apparent and is artfully chosen for the title. This is where the game's true strength is in: appealing to players with a penchant for four legged pals. From its paws and bones motif to the use of nicely painted breeds in the backgrounds, there are plenty of visual elements in the game that showcases

New players to the genre who are looking for a solid title that is easy to learn may want to give Dress-Up Pups a shot. While intermediate players and expert players may also want to check it out for its thematic appeal, just do not expect to find a deep and compelling storyline (then again, it is hard to expect that from any match 3 title). Dress-Up Pups manages to deliver a classic match-3 experience to dog lovers, which easily carves out a nice market for it, though if you have no love for pooches, then you might want to pass this up. We give this game a novice pet stylist's 4 hearts out of 5.

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