Cards on the table: I’m a complete casual games freak. I’ve completed all four Diner Dash games, dabbled with Wedding Dash, and simply had to get hold of Doggie Dash when I heard it was being released.
Doggie Dash works on a similar theme to the previously mentioned games. Only this time you’re not waiting tables or organising weddings, you’re running a pet grooming parlour. So you have baths, fur-stylists, and someone to make the furry creatures look wonderful in hats and sunglasses, and masses of pink stuff. There’s also a masseuse to keep the pets happy whilst they’re waiting, and treats to give them if they’re becoming somewhat disgruntled.
Again, similar to the other titles, when you complete a level you can upgrade your equipment and the décor of the parlour. Give it a lick of paint, new floors, bathtubs which mean the pet is groomed more quickly, and so on. You get the idea.
Out of the three treatments (bathing, clipping and beautifying), not all pets will want all three, which complicates matters. And there are also different types of cats and dogs, some of which are more patient than others. This is what really makes it a challenge; working out if you can squeeze a Siemese Cat in to have a ribbon tied around its neck before the Abyssinian feline is done being trimmed without any claws being drawn. Then you can score combos by using a piece of equipment just for cats, and your score goes up each time another cat uses it.
It quickly becomes a frantic rush, and I was clicking around the screen like a mad thing, watching my score creep up and hoping it would be enough to get me onto the next level… and even early on in the game, there was enough difficulty present to stop me completing each stage first time. I don’t like my games too difficult (hence obsession with casual games), but at the same time if they’re too easy, I get to the end and I’m just not satisfied.
I thought perhaps that the ‘Dash’ craze was waning. Diner Dash 4 was great, but I couldn’t muster the same enthusiasm for Wedding Dash. However, Doggie Dash has changed my mind again. They’ve found ways to make it more challenging and different, and all the cuteness and fluffiness appeals to my softer side. Great fun, but can’t see it appealing to guys very much. Or if it does, they won’t admit it…