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Russian Subway Dogs review for PS Vita, PC


Platform: PS Vita
Also on: PC
Publisher: Spooky Squid Games
Developer: Spooky Squid Games
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: T

I feel a little sad reviewing Russian Subway Dogs. Not because it’s a bad game — not by any stretch of the imagination — but rather, because it’s the last Vita game I’ll ever review. Given that I’ve covered hundreds of Vita games for this site (including the first review I ever wrote for Gaming Age), and played literally hundreds more Vita games on top of those, it feels like the end of an era for me.

Is Russian Subway Dogs the very best game the Vita has to offer? To be blunt, no — though between it, Astro Aqua Kitty, and Scourgebringer, the handheld got far better games in its final year than you might expect from a system that many had left for dead years ago.

But even if I wouldn’t put it on the same level as, say, Hotline Miami, Tearaway, or Gravity Rush (my three all-time favourite Vita games), I’d still say that Russian Subway Dogs captures the spirit of what made the Vita such a beloved machine for so many people. It’s a super addictive indie game with a quirky premise that feels much more at home on a small screen in the palm of your hands than it would on a TV.

In this case, as the title implies, you play as a Russian subway dog (which are actually a thing) trying to stay alive on the Moscow metro, stealing shawarma from passengers. To steal food, you startle passengers by barking behind them, and then jumping in the air to grab it before rival dogs can pounce on it on the ground. You also need to be careful to explode some rather explosive bottles of vodka.

It’s not very complicated, as you can tell from the above paragraph. But it’s still endlessly fun (which is good, because there’s an endless mode in addition to a campaign mode) as you try to create chain reactions with vodka bottles startling passengers and getting rid of rival pups, to say nothing of figuring out exactly where all those shawarmas are going to land.

It’s also worth mentioning that Russian Subway Dogs has some top-notch aesthetics. The game looks and sounds like a Sovietized take on retro gaming, with visuals that bring to mind old propaganda posters, and music that has a clear Slavic influence. All of it is absolutely delightful.

All of the game is absolutely delightful, for that matter — or, if we want to go even bigger, the same can be said for its entire platform. Russian Subway Dogs isn’t quite the perfect swan song for the Vita (personally, that would’ve been either inFamous Vita or Bioshock Vita ever seeing the light of day), but it’s still an incredible high note for the system to go out on. It’s a passion project where you can see exactly why the creator was so passionate, and anyone who still has a Vita should be sure to check it out.

Spooky Squid Games provided us with a Russian Subway Dogs PS Vita code for review purposes.

Grade: A