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      06.05.2009 00:13
      Very helpful



      Thumbs in the middle

      "Dogz" is a video game released for the Gameboy Advance console in 2005 by Ubisoft. It is based on the popular "Petz" series which saw popularity in the mid 1990s as a video game for the personal computer. In the United States, the game received a rating of "E" by the ESRB panel which deemed it suitable for all ages.

      The "Petz" franchise has evolved considerably from its humble roots on the personal computer where the sole objective was simple interaction and care. In this title, the players assume the role of a young primary school child with a gender and name of the player's preference. The parents of said child have agreed to allow him or her to have a dog provided that the child can prove himself/herself suitable for the task of pet ownership. The child has three weeks in order to train and care for the new animal or the game will be over. Agreeing to this challenge, the family are off to the local kennel to select a pet. The player will initially navigate around the pound and read about the available breeds. Once an animal has been selected the scene will then warp back to the home where a clock will be counting down the available time in which the player has to train and care for the animal. Training is a simple task of selecting a typical command, such as sit or stay, and seeing if the dog reacts appropriately. If it is a success then the dog will act out the command but if it is a failure it will simply stare blankly into oblivion with a large question mark over its head. The player must continually repeat the command until finally the dog acts on it and realizes what is required of him or her. Each action takes a certain amount of time off of the clock and the player must factor in sleep and schoolwork. Other elements of pet care are also required of the player, from feeding and cleaning, which are also timed. If after the three weeks the player has successfully trained and cared for the dog it will remove the clock from the display and the player will freely care for the animal for an infinite period.

      The graphics are presented from an isometric perspective which focuses on the player's character. There is an element of cartoon appeal in the visuals with both the animal and character featuring elongated physical characteristics. The home in which the player engages with is very bright in display and features an abundance of warm yellows and reds. This allows for clear identification between the character, dog and their surrounding objects. The soundtrack is simple and is controlled by the user by interacting with the household stereo system. The musical scores are short and loop frequently but are of a high quality which makes for acceptable listening.

      Overall, Dogz is a low difficulty title which may appeal to a child. The objective of training the dog is too simple in practice for an older gamer but could find some success with a younger mind.


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