PUT ANOTHER QUARTER IN
Many games these days have intricate stories and meaningful choices. They require a player’s full attention and investment to get the best experience. But sometimes you just want to kick back, throw on a podcast or some low-fi, and just have fun. That’s where the arcade genre shines. Though it’s not a genre that receives a lot of attention from the AAA world of game development, Spooky Squid Games (creators of They Bleed Pixels) is set to release a new title on August 2nd: Russian Subway Dogs.
BARKING UP THE RIGHT TREE
The gameplay of Russian Subway Dogs is simple. You are a dog in a Russian subway tunnel. You can bark at passengers to make them drop their food, then snatch it up for points. If you cause a passenger to drop their vodka, it will result in an explosion, which you can use to deter NPC rival dogs from stealing your food.
The game was inspired by stories of real dogs in Moscow, who have learned to survive in the city’s subway tunnels.
GAME JAM TO GREATNESS
The original version of Russian Subway Dogs was created for the Game Jam “GDC Pirate Kart”. A Game Jam is an event in which a small team works to create a game in a short period of time. In this case, it was a single weekend. This original prototype is free to download on the Spooky Squid Games website, and a few minutes of play reveals it be fairly simple.
So, what has three years and a full indie team done to the game?
SWEET SANGUINE PIXELS
A quick look at the game’s screenshots will tell you that the game’s visuals have come a long way from the Game Jam version. Spooky Squid’s website credits this to Alina Sechkin, a pixel artist who joined the team in 2015 to work on Russian Subway Dogs. Eric Kim is also credited as an artist, along with game programmer and art director Miguel Sternberg, who is now the lead for Spooky Squid Games.
The game’s structure is also much more complex than the single level of the Game Jam. The final build features a subway map with multiple challenges, as well as additional gameplay elements such as vodka chains and subway bears.
GUEST CHARACTERS? THIS IS FINE.
In addition to the default Subway Dog, Russian Subway Dogs features a cast of playable characters, many of which are guest starring from other games. These include:
- Original character The Proletaricat
- Clawed Kitty, an original character inspired by Spooky Squid Games’s previous work, They Bleed Pixels
- Nacho and Rad Shibe from VA-11 HALL-A: Cyberpunk Bartender Action
- Ratcoon from Ruin of the Reckless
- Question Hound, the dog from K.C. Green’s infamous “This is fine” Gunshow comic (yes, really)
CHOMPING AT THE BIT?
Russian Subway Dogs launches on Steam on August 2 for PC. A Mac version is in development, and Linux and Switch versions are being considered. You can learn more at the developer’s website, spookysquid.com.