Platform: PC / Mac
Steam Trading Cards: Yes
Controller Support: Partial Support
Retail Price: $2.99
High Level Premise – Herding Animals while evading predators in the best time possible
Graphics/Style – Low-detail colorful polygonal art style
Music/Soundtrack – Peaceful fun farming tunes; very repetitive
Story – Play as “Dog” and herd different types of livestock and chase away predators
Replay-ability – Moderate, achievement system gives the player incentive to revisit the story and a leveling system challenge yourself to get farther.
Time Commitment – You can play for a few minutes or hours if you see fit
Value – Meh, fun to play but not something I could play for more than 20 minutes. However, this is a unique title for those who love herding or have a special love of dogs.
Favorite Element – Barking at the pigs and making them poo
Bark! Bark! Says the Dog as he herds the piggies into the pen. You may remember this game on your handheld or mobile devices originally called “Join the Pack” but once ported over to PC the name was changed to Herding dog. Let me herd my thoughts together and give you an idea of what’s going on.
In Herding Dog, you play as a German Shepherd and you run around on different types of terrain and complete “Herding Dog” type tasks, such as chasing away predators (wolves or foxes) away from your flock. There are some levels where you will want to keep an eye out for bags of dog food and avoid lighting strikes. Not really sure what happens when you get hit though, in hindsight I should of took a strike for the team but for now no animals were hurt in this play through.
Each of the levels have a pretty simple objective to complete, but with the screen layout and placement of window panes displaying what’s going on outside your view along with the wonky controls it adds to the challenge in trying to get the task at hand completed. For example, a window pane pops up in the middle of your screen and makes it difficult to visually track your tasks.
Later levels you are plagued with more wolves and the most annoying thing is that you have no idea where they are, and by the time you find one they have already eaten something and then your score for the level plummets. In the role of dog you are only armed with a mediocre bark then only scares the predator away for a little bit but then they come back around and continue their hunt for food. One thing I did enjoy that gave me a few chuckles was barking at the livestock and having them scurry away in fear while defecating on the ground. The predators do not pose any sort of threat to dogs only to the animals running around which leaves your true nemesis as the clock. And lighting, it isn’t wise to be struck by lightning. Outside of that it’s fairly repetitive game play with slightly different completion angles.
At the end of the game play I was left rather unsatisfied and disappointed. There is no real motivation to play this game due to lack of story line, leveling up, and with repetitive boring objectives I was looking forward to playing something else by the time I was done. The game didn’t leave me with anything to yearn to do outside of achievement hunting and I have no interest to return to the farm. The idea of running around and herding animals sounded like a fun concept but with limited depth and some frustrating design elements it fell short of my modest expectations. This dog wasn’t good enough for leftovers from the table.