As a player of American football in the UK and a lover of dogs, I wanted more than anything for Jerry Rice & Nitus’ Dog Football to be a good game, but alas I was left with a feeling of disappointment. A word of warning this game is aimed at a younger audience and has no appeal at all to adults.
The controls are a bit odd and they are not easy to grasp, it took me a few games before I had a solid idea and could focus on the gameplay rather than where my fingers are going. Jerry Rice & Nitus’ Dog Football originally came out on Wii and I can see how the game would benefit that format but it has not transitioned well to PC. While playing there is something slightly unnerving about watching one dog tackle another it looks brutal and I flinched every time, as a child this would probably rather upsetting seeing your cute bundle of fur happily charging up field until he is side swiped by a boxer. I nearly called the RSPCA.
One thing that has been addressed in this game and it certainly helps to enhance the game is the problem that a lot of people have that is they find American football boring or that it takes too long. The fields that you play on are not what you would call a normal playing field, what you will see before you is an undulating pitch filled with obstacles and tree trunks and tunnels for your canine compadre to circumnavigate before he enters the end zone for a touchdown. Jumping over the tree trunks running through the tunnels acts as a multiplier to enhance your score, which is a fun little addition. Some of the obstacles are only big enough for the smaller dogs so you can use them to evade the bigger dogs and streak away to glory, where as some of them may slow you down allowing your opponents to catch you.
There are 12 different fields to play in all offering their own challenge. With 14 different quarterbacks to choose from including the man himself, Jerry Rice and 20 of the most popular dog breeds you can mix and match to create your favourite combination to dominate the opposition. The game has over 200 different accessories allowing you to customise your team even more. During game play you have the ability to swap the game ball, doing this allows you to enhance your chances. For example if you need to throw the ball a long way down field you can pick a ball that will allow you to do that, or one that will make you more accurate. As well as changeable game balls you also have treats, these treats are upgrades for the dogs themselves. You give the treat to the dog before the play and they will be faster or harder to tackle, making them even more potent on the offensive side of the ball allowing you that extra yardage you need for a first down, or to break those tackles to get to the end zone.
There are a number of different teams that you can play as with different dogs on the team, each team is made up of a team captain who is a non-canine member and two different dog types. These dogs can be changed before the game starts you have the bigger dogs playing offensive line and the smaller dogs as receivers and running back, those same dogs form you defence. I know for a lot you that will mean nothing but if you go to the game’s website there are helpful little “cheat sheets” to help you get to grips with the overall understanding of the game. However, these instructions are mostly for the Wii some of the hints and help can be applied to the PC version.
Jerry Rice & Nitus’ Dog Football is lacking graphically but it is good enough for the younger players to enjoy. The graphics and the scenery are colourful and cartoon in style which make the game itself pleasing to look at, but that is a pleasant distraction from the limited game play, every game seems the same as the last and so does every play. The audio is upbeat and lively but the voice-overs seem to be a bit lacklustre. This is something that should have and could have easily been addressed before the release. With the option for practices and full seasons this game as a small element of replay ability, but after a few play it may get left in your gaming library never to be played again
Jerry Rice and Nitus’ dog football is a bright colourful friendly game that promises more than it can deliver but that is not the fault of the developer. The game offers so much for the younger gamer but it stops there. To an adult this will get old fast, but has a longer life span with the children, just. It can be fun but flawed and leaves you feeling a little empty because the idea should promise so much and it falls so short unfortunately.
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