Derby Dogs - First Impressions

posted 21 Nov 2010, 14:00 by Knuckles Sonic8   [ updated 23 Dec 2010, 11:07 ]
Think of Derby Dogs like Nintendogs, except with a more competitive edge. Instead of raising a pet to become a lovable companion, Derby Dogs has players training show dogs for a day at the races. After you've created an account, you'll have the ability to rent a dog from the Doggybrook Pines shop. But the simple procedures you'd expect to take place, like making it feel comfortable in its new home, are left out. It wastes little time, directing you straight to creating a focused training regime.

Each dog has statistics that carry weight outside the confines of your fenced-in area. There are multiple variables that determine how your dog will develop over time. You can target a specific area of need by selecting the appropriate exercise for the training session. Activities include chasing an agile rabbit, catching a frisbee, or talking a walk. Performing an exercise will drain your dog of its energy levels indicated in the Power level. Additionally, exhausting them of their resources will reduce their Spirit levels to an alarming level. At the conclusion of each session, though, you can then choose one of three different food items to feed your dog with. This in turn will increase the Spirit meter.

When you feel you're ready to take on some competition, you can select the Race option to participate in offline or online races. The structure is fairly simple, and much to my surprise, your actions during the race will play a great deal in their overall outcome. Pressing the A Button will encourage your dog to speed up, while the B Button will prompt your dog to jump. By monitoring your dog's energy levels and taking note of opportunities to leave other dogs in the dust. The events take place in both stadiums and parks, each with their own track layouts. Moreover, there are multiple leagues that you can put your dog through once they've reached a certain level where they'll face even harder rivals with varying values of prize money. 

So far, the game is pretty decent, and I wager I won't see much improvement in the game during my next few plays prior to the review. I'm not exactly riveted over some aspects of the game's design, and there are some areas where I feel the game could be stronger. But I have yet to encounter any glaring flaws. Hopefully I'll be able to get an online game going before the final review goes live. Until then, know that those who acquire an appreciation for simulation games will likely have an equal amount of positive and negative things to say about it. I suggest waiting for our review before deciding to give this a shot, as there are some key things that you'll want to be aware of before signing up.