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Russian Subway Dogs: A Cute But Challenging Arcade Game

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While I love to immerse myself in deep, open world adventures with engaging stories, sometimes I like games to simply offer ten minutes of unadulterated fun. That’s exactly what Russian Subway Dogs does.

Although perhaps saying that it only offers ten minutes of unadulterated fun is reductive; in actual fact, with its extensive campaign full of sub-objectives, unlockable animals and subways, and an endless mode, Russian Subway Dogs has got hours upon hours of entertainment to offer. And once it has got you in its grasp, it’s likely to not let go.

Its premise is simple. As any one of a number of animals that form your cross-species group, you need to scare Russian train travellers into dropping their food. But you’re not doing it maliciously; you’re doing it to survive. Your energy bar lies at the bottom of the screen, and to survive until the end of the day you’re going to need to keep it full by eating all the food you get your grubby little paws on.

On some levels your hunger will be greater than others, depleting your energy bar at a faster rate. In endless mode your hunger will grow the further you get. Also, the simple act of being vocal, which is used to scare your targets, also uses your energy. As a result, there’s a small element of strategy to Russian Subway Dogs. You can’t just go around constantly barking and hope to succeed; you need to be efficient.

With Russian Subway Dogs being a video game, there are also perils to watch out for. While most train travellers will be carrying food of some sort, some will be sneakily drinking vodka. Scare it out of their hands and it effectively becomes a grenade, taking away a chunk of your energy if it hits you. The power of your bark, or meow, can juggle a bottle of vodka in the air if you’re skilled enough, however, enabling you to direct them. Hit someone carrying food with a vodka bottle and their food will become nicely cooked, making it a more hearty meal for you to consume.

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And there are other threats, too. Rival dogs will try to muscle in on your patch, birds will fly in to try and take some food away to their nests, and even rogue bears will appear who really aren’t to be tangled with. Discouraging them with vodka bottle is perhaps your best bet. Although consuming hot sauce also allows you to temporarily deter them with your fiery breath.

Russian Subway Dogs starts out rather breezy, letting you scare one or two train passengers at a time with only the odd vodka bottle carrier to worry about. The action quickly heats up, however, and within half an hour or so the main campaign starts to provide a real challenge. It’s the nice kind of challenging though; the kind of challenge that you know you can overcome with a little more experience and effort. Endless mode is a great place to improve your skills, and there are even online leaderboards so you can see how your performance stacks up against others around the world.

If you’re after an arcade game that you can play for simply a few minutes or even an hour, give Russian Subway Dogs a try. Its cute animals front what is a deviously addictive little package, and its enjoyably challenging gameplay ensures that you’ll go back for more time and time again.

Russian Subway Dogs is available now on Steam.

Editor in Chief // An avid gamer since discovering the wonders of the Acorn Electron in the '80s, Rich has nearly played more games than he's had hot dinners. Not one to put all his eggs in one basket, Rich is happy to play games of all genres, but he particularly enjoys racing games and anything that's full of non-stop action, especially if it includes a good dose of humour, horror or crudeness!