Shade Dogs (out now, $0.99) is an interesting game to talk about. It’s not your usual puzzle game or your subpar indie game. It’s like nothing I’ve ever played and that’s a good thing. The bizarre aim of the game is to shade a dog from the blazing sunlight by dragging objects, stacking blocks, fattening animals, and other strangely amusing means.
What makes Shade Dogs so interesting is its variety of puzzles and vibrant graphics. Once you complete the first few levels where you simply drag an object to block the sunlight, it all goes off-track from there. Almost every level henceforth requires you to think way out of the box, using completely unrelated on-screen objects to shade the poor, lazy dogs who can’t be bothered to walk into the shade.
For instance, you may need to drag a robot to jam a conveyor belt, allowing you to stack the boxes on top of the conveyor belt. As you stack each box, the little shade-o-meter in the top left will slowly fill, telling you how close you are to completing the level. It’s a nifty little addition from the developers, and I applaud them for it. Another level may require you feed bird food to a large lady until the nearby bird approaches her, causing her to jump and fall headfirst into the sand, shading the dog from the sun. I know – what the hell?! It’s instances like this that make me giggle a little. But that’s not even the worst of it. I could write a few paragraphs describing all of the 20 crazy levels I’ve seen, but I won’t spoil anything because each level genuinely requires you to think.
But that’s where the game is very limiting. There are only 20 levels, laid out in a fun comic book style. This layout combined with the simple colorful graphics make Shade Dogs a family game. It’s fun to mess around with all the objects in the level, testing how each is significant. I made my way through the whole game in about an hour (playing it in short 10 minute bursts every day), leaving me wanting more. Shade Dogs is a really interesting game to talk about because not only is it difficult to describe, but it also sounds extremely weird.
iFanzine Verdict: Shade Dogs is one of the most bizarre games I’ve ever come across, anywhere (including the internet!). Although the premise appears to be out of this world, it’s packed full of fun. The puzzles aren’t too challenging nor are they too easy. There are only 20 levels, which do give it a short lifespan, but its vibrant graphics and ability to make you think out of the box make it an easy $0.99 recommendation for me.