An Airport for Aliens Currently Run by Dogs review for Nintendo Switch, PC, Xbox

Platform: Switch
Also on: PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X
Publisher: Strange Scaffold
Developer: Strange Scaffold
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No

It?d be very easy to look at An Airport for Aliens Currently Run by Dogs and only see a joke game. I mean, just look at the name: how could a game with that title be anything but a joke?

It also doesn?t help that the world looks like something that was slapped together in an hour or two. The titular dogs are actually stock photos of dogs, the sounds they make when you pet them are very clearly humans making dog noises, pretty much every object in the game is a geometric shape, and the only time you see another human, they?re more like a blocky humanoid than a real person. If you just go by what you?re seeing, it?d be very easy to think this is a case of a game where they came up with the title first and then decided to make a game to go with it.

The more you play, though, the more you get the feeling that there?s a little more to it. The point of the game is that you?re traveling to all these places to meet up with your partner. I don?t want to give anything away, but the real story in An Airport for Aliens Currently Run by Dogs is about long-distance relationships, not an airport run by dogs.

What?s more, the story is told via some pretty solid writing. The way your character and his partner, Krista, interact is full of the kind of weird in-jokes and references that make up the language of any long-term couple. The dialogue between the two doesn?t always make a tonne of sense, but at the same time it feels a lot more realistic than a lot of the dialogue you?ll find in most other games. For such a silly-seeming game, it?s awfully deep ? emotionally impactful, even.

Of course, between all those interactions, An Airport for Aliens Currently Run by Dogs very much lives up to its title. You?re running around airports scattered all over the galaxy, doing fetch quests (pun possibly not intended?) for dogs named things like Photo Dog (it takes your photo), and Pill Dog (who wants pills) and Boarding Pass Dog (who takes your boarding pass when it?s time to board your plane) and Suitcase Dog (who sells suitcases). It?s here that the game falls apart a little. While the dog pictures are undeniably cute, and the interactions with each dog contain some pretty funny writing, it doesn?t take long before you?re seeing the same dogs and same quests over and over and over. It?s fun at first, but by the third or fourth airport it starts getting a little tedious. Couple that with a somewhat inflated price tag of $20, and it?s pretty clear why I wouldn?t say you need to rush out and get this game immediately.

Still, even with those flaws, An Airport for Aliens Currently Run by Dogs is far better than it has any right to be. It?s a lot deeper and more touching than its title suggests, so it?s worth keeping an eye on it, waiting for a sale, and then grabbing the when the price is right.

Strange Scaffold provided us with an Airport for Aliens Currently Run by Dogs Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: B