Pupperazzi Review: They’re good photos, Brent
There are some games that just… make sense. They don’t need an intense setting or a convoluted story, they just need a good premise and fun mechanics. Games like Pupperazzi, for example. Photography games have historically been great, and who doesn’t love dogs? Why not just smoosh the two things together and have a barking good time?
That’s what developer Sundae Month and publisher Kitfox Games (Boyfriend Dungeon, Lucifer Within Us) figured when they released Pupperazzi. Available on PC for $19.99 and free this month with XBox Game Pass, Pupperazzi is the ultimate dog photog game that’ll even excite cat people (like me). Can you “photograph and catalogue the finest (and derpiest) dogs to build your career, upgrade your camera, and discover new canines” like its Steam page asks, or will you wear the cone of shame and sit this one out?
Pupperazzi has players taking on the role of a sentient bipedal camera who has been tasked with taking photos of good dogs everywhere. Some requests are super simple, such as taking a photo of a dog wearing a hat, while others are a little more out there, like taking a “spooky photo” of the woods at night. Each completed objective will yield some bonks — the golden bone-shaped currency round these here parts — and a number of followers for your social media channels. Think you have what it takes? Of course you do, you’re a literal camera — you were born to do this job!
Although there are only five locations to snap dog photos, four of those settings have different times of day which will generate different objectives. Objectives are easy enough to manage at first but will increase in complexity over time as players gain new camera lenses and film (purchasable with cold hard bonks). Although some objectives require little more than walking up to a dog and snapping a photo, others will force you to traipse around the scene with specialized gear to take a pic at just the right moment. Who knew dog photography would break such a sweat?
Running around the different locations in Pupperazzi is a lot like bouncing around in a playground. There are little things to discover here and there that are so doggone charming, like a pack of dogs running across the roofs practicing their barkour or a dog sticking its head (and tongue) out of the passenger seat of a car. Additionally, there are purchasable items that will allow you to get certain shots you want, such as a music box to encourage naps or a scary vacuum that will induce dizzy spells. My personal favorite was the ability to change the dogs’ outfits, making them don top hats, heart sunglasses, and cute lil booties. Bark, bark, fashion baby!
Unfortunately, not all is perfect with Pupperazzi; for one, the UI doesn’t feel quite done, and one of the major mechanics — the puppypedia — is only found if you curiously click on the home location on the map. It would be far more convenient to have the puppypedia tab available during the levels so I could ascertain at a glance what photos I want before leaving an area; instead, I have to look at the puppypedia, choose a couple photos I want to snap/replace, head to a level, try it out, head back to see if it works, etc. In all honesty, I didn’t know the puppypedia existed until after I finished every single objective and then watched a YouTuber pull hers up! The fact that it’s a largely disconnected mechanic from the active parts of gameplay is frankly bizarre.
Additionally, Pupperazzi does feel a bit on the short and simple side. My 100% achievement completion time shows 11.2 hours, which is probably 2 – 4 hours more than necessary. Don’t get me wrong, I love shorter games because it means I have a chance at actually completing them, but Pupperazzi didn’t feel quite finished. The quests were perhaps a bit too easy, the money and followers flowed far too freely to the point where they were rendered useless, and just when some interesting lore started building up, it ended. And while I think $19.99 is fair for any game that provides gloriously carefree respite from a stressful world, it would have been nice if there was just a little more to do.
With that being said, Pupperazzi accomplishes exactly what it set out to do, and that’s enough for me to recommend it to anyone who feels drawn to the title. What more is there to say? It’s a darling photography game where you pet dogs, dress dogs, take photos of dogs, feed dogs, play fetch with dogs, take requests from dogs, find hidden dogs, push dogs on swings… I mean, for what it’s worth, I was in a bad funk this past month and it took Pupperazzi 11 hours to pull me out of it and get me back on track. If you need some carefree, delightful entertainment to de-stress that you can easily complete in one sitting, Pupperazzi does the trick and isn’t too ruff on the wallet.
Although Pupperazzi’s length is far more impressive in dog hours, it’s worthy of any human’s attention. If you went into Pupperazzi expecting a cute dog photography game — congrats! You got exactly what you paid for. Pupperazzi wears its golden retriever heart on its sleeve; in fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if a golden retriever made this game, considering its sincere, fun, childish nature. Make no bones about it — Pupperazzi is a short but sweet dog photog romp that will leave players wagging their tails.
Final Verdict: 3.5/5
Available on: XBox One, XBox Series X|S, PC (reviewed); Publisher: Kitfox Games; Developer: Sundae Month; Players: 1; Released: January 20, 2022; MSRP: $19.99
Editor’s note: This review is based on a retail copy of Pupperazzi provided by the publisher.