The photography genre is renowned for its soothing gameplay, level of freedom and adorable subject matter. From the sunny beaches of Alekon to the magical and melodic jungles of Beasts of Maravilla Island, I have played and thoroughly enjoyed many of the genre’s best experiences. So, when I first heard about Pupperazzi, a photography game all about taking perfect pictures of puppers, I was rather overjoyed. Fortunately, not only does Pupperazzi live up to the seminal titles that came before it, but it also far exceeded my expectations.
“No matter where you visit, Pupperazzi’s colourfully cartoonish visual style lends itself to some truly outstanding photographs.”
One of the hallmarks of a phenomenal photography game is a picturesque art style. The subjects of your photos have to look good, otherwise, it is all in vain. Fortunately, Pupperazzi has a radiantly vibrant art style that pops at every opportunity. Each of the game’s several locations are captivatingly unique and show off the very best of what the game has to offer.
You’ll encounter a glistening sea that ebbs and flows beneath a magnificent lighthouse; a park populated by puppies playfully bounding about; a boardwalk brimming with beautiful storefronts overlooking a beguiling beach. No matter where you visit, the game’s colourfully cartoonish visual style will lend itself to some truly outstanding photographs.
Of course, what is an indie game about snapping pictures of dogs without an upbeat soundtrack? Pupperazzi’s jazzy bouncy beats permeate throughout your experience like a gleeful smile. They perfectly encapsulate the joyful atmosphere of Pupperazzi’s pun-filled world and heighten the experience in a meaningful way. Each location plays a unique song depending on what time of the day you visit it, so you’ll rarely get sick of listening to its uplifting soundtrack.
“You needn’t stray too far off Pupperazzi’s stunning path to find various points of interest worth taking a picture of.”
However, no matter how good looking Pupperazzi may be, it lives and dies by how fulfilling its photography-based gameplay is. Fortunately, it is immensely satisfying. Taking pictures is quick and easy and requires little to no effort on your behalf. You can equip a wide range of lenses and filters for your camera to get unique and interesting shots. Otherwise, the only factor you need to focus on is framing.
Fortunately, the game’s world is structured perfectly for you to get immaculate snaps. Dogs roam around performing a plethora of actions as if they were prepping for a tableau. The scenery is laid out as to not be too obstructive, and additional items can be used in order to set up the perfect shot. Suffice to say, you needn’t stray too far off Pupperazzi’s stunning path to find various points of interest worth taking a picture of.
What makes Pupperazzi special, however, is the multitude of means it gives you to interact with its world. From items and special pieces of clothing to the ability to pet the doggos, you can treat the fun and vibrant world of Pupperazzi as if it were a playground. Through these interactions, you can manoeuvre dogs into certain positions for more engaging photographs in a similar manner to unlocking special poses in New Pokémon Snap.
“Pupperazzi’s gameplay loop is immensely satisfying.”
Each and every one of Pupperazzi’s gameplay elements feed back into the photography experience. Missions revolve around you taking pictures of specific things which will reward you with the game’s form of currency. You can then spend the money you earn on new lenses, filters and pieces of film for your camera to better improve your overall experience. Additionally, through exploration, you can find extra missions and hidden money, in addition to vantage points from which you can get better photographs.
All of this is to say that Pupperazzi’s gameplay loop is immensely satisfying. There’s rarely a point in which you’re not working towards something or unlocking new features. The new filters, features and locations you’ll obtain throughout the course of the game’s relatively short length will continually keep you enraptured and wanting to play more.
“If you were hoping for a lengthy experience, you likely won’t find it with Pupperazzi.”
Unfortunately, there are some downsides to this adorable photography game. For example, I noticed the occasional bug during my time with Pupperazzi. While you won’t be itching your fur trying to get them out any time soon, they did make for some immersion-breaking moments. However, in a game in which you play an anthropomorphic camera that takes pictures of dogs, immersion may not be the most important aspect of your experience.
The game is also quite short. You can see the credits roll in just over an hour, and while there is still plenty of content to complete afterwards, you will have seen pretty much everything the game has to offer. Of course, Pupperazzi is about offering you a fun world to photograph. You’ll likely still have more filters, lenses and times of the day to unlock as well as additional tasks to complete. It’s just that if you were hoping for a lengthy experience, you likely won’t find it here.
“Pupperazzi is a truly phenomenal experience and one that I will cherish for a very long time.”
However, despite a minor issue here and there, Pupperazzi remains an incredibly wholesome and immensely enjoyable experience the entire way through. The game’s world has been lovingly crafted and is home to a plethora of fun and engaging things to photograph. It is populated with a diverse and varied set of locales for you to explore, secrets to uncover and dogs to pet.
The fact that the game goes beyond its central mechanic and offers additional ways to interact with its world is an admirable achievement. There was rarely a moment where Pupperazzi failed to impress. Its stunning visual style, vibrant world and upbeat soundtrack kept me continually engaged throughout. This is a truly phenomenal experience and one that I will cherish for a very long time.
You can pick up Pupperazzi on Steam for £15.49. Additionally, you can play it for free on Xbox Game Pass.