Everybody thinks their dog is the best dog, but they're all right. All of the dogs at Old Friends Senior Dog Sanctuary may be living out their retirement at their lifetime home in Tennessee, but they've collectively stolen the hearts of millions online. They are, without a doubt, the best dogs, and this lovable group has been immortalized in Old Friends Dog Game by developer Runaway Play.
Old Friends Dog Game is a relaxing simulation game that allows players to run their very own senior dog sanctuary, complete with digital doggos based on their real-life counterparts, and forge bonds with them as they learn to trust. In a time where the world is looking pretty dark, this is exactly the kind of game that people need right now.
You'll start off by welcoming Mack to the sanctuary, one of the blind residents who acts as its mascot. By feeding him, giving him belly rubs, and playing with him, you'll unlock more of his story and loyalty. Once you reach level 5, you can then unlock another dog — this time, it's Bagel. For every new dog you get, you rinse and repeat these steps to unlock the next. There's not a lot of depth to it, but this game isn't meant for that. Old Friends Dog Game is meant to enable regular interactions with the dogs throughout the day, even if it's just for maybe 10 minutes at a time.
Getting into a routine by taking care of the dogs and cleaning up around the sanctuary earns you in-game currency called dog coins, which can then be spent on in-game items like food and toys. Particular dogs have their own favorite food and toys, granting more loyalty when you feed and play with them. Leo, for instance, loves to eat donuts, while Mack is more a fan of pupcakes.
To keep the residents extra happy, you can even decorate the indoor and outdoor areas of your sanctuary, with a backyard workshop allowing you to craft new furniture. The dogs tend to track mud across the room, but cleanup is as simple as a quick tap of the screen.
There's no sense of urgency in the game, nor is it difficult. It's exactly what it's meant to be; a relaxing simulation game where you can spend time with the senior dogs millions have fallen in love with. You may never get the chance to pet these dogs in real life, but petting them through the screen is a nice substitute — I'd wager they ask for pats more than my own dog does, and I thought she was needy.
Once you find a rhythm with the dogs, it's hard to escape. I could see this leading to some people getting bored as it becomes monotonous, but I think the cute factor outweighs any of that. If anything, it makes Old Friends Dog Game the perfect title to go to when you have a few minutes to spare between chores, work, or whatever it is you're busy with that day. It doesn't demand a ton of attention, and that's to its benefit.
It's exactly what it's meant to be; a relaxing simulation game where you can spend time with the senior dogs millions have fallen in love with.
While Old Friends Dog Game is free-to-play, it does feature microtransactions so that players can purchase dog coins and buy item packs for the dogs. The cherry on top is that proceeds from these microtransactions go to benefit the actual sanctuary. Runaway Play plans to use some of the profits to sponsor one dog each month, paying for the cost of their care for an entire year.
If this game does anything, I hope it at least spreads awareness surrounding senior dog adoption. Senior dogs are more prone to health issues and disabilities, leading to higher rates of euthanasia as a result. But they still have a lot of love left to give and can be the perfect forever companions in the right home.
When it was first announced, I jokingly said it would be my game of the year — it's certainly one of the best Android games to come out in recent months. It may not have the AAA prowess of the likes of Call of Duty or the cinematic experience of The Last of Us, but I think it deserves a spot among the greats.
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