Dog Sled Saga is Full of Good Snowy Boys

first_img For too long the definition of “Game of the Year” has been unfairly narrow. How boring is it to see every website shower the same stale AAA games with praise at the end of each holiday season? So at Geek.com we’re doing what we can to put a stop to this in Game of the Year, a new column celebrating worthy alternative picks for the year’s greatest game regardless of genre, platform, year of release, or even quality. Here, any game can be Game of the Year!It may be hard to remember in today’s mobile gaming hellscape of shameless clones and free-to-play psychological cash traps, but for years there was a lot of cool and fascinating Game of the Year-tier work happening on the platform. The ubiquity of phones and ease of downloading apps made for a fertile market for indies and huge companies alike. But the devices themselves, nothing but pocket-sized touchscreen, demanded fresh new game design paradigms.One type of game well-suited for mobile has always been bizarre simulation games. Games putting you control of virtual hospitals or theme parks or ASCII art dwarf societies have always thrived in niche corners of PC gaming circles. But mobile streamlines big ideas like game development simulators or shopping mall simulators into something more playable and friendly. Its subject matter alone makes this week’s Game of the Year one of the friendliest sims around. Mushing sim Dog Sled Saga, from Dan FitzGerald and Lisa Bromiel, is full of good snowy boys.I may not be a fan of dogs in real life, but I’ve got nothing against them in video games. I even had a copy of Nintendogs. I’m also super into alternative video game takes on sports, whether it’s arcade sports games like NBA Playgrounds or sim versions of more obscure sports like Football Manager, even if I’d rather appreciate the latter from a distance. So by just being Iditarod 2K16 or “Balto: The Game” Dog Sled Saga is already intriguing on a conceptual level.Dog Sled Saga then turns into an actual good game by following those ideas to their natural gameplay conclusions. Of course, there’s a bunch of fast dog racing, which works great on mobile devices as well as PC. But to go pro and get famous you also have to stay on top of your game in-between races by acquiring new dogs, breeding faster puppies, letting go of dogs (and employees) who can’t keep up, and scoring sweet sponsorship deals.A good comparison is Punch Club. While racing frisky huskies in the snow is far from competing in sketchy underground boxing matches, both games devote much attention to the management side of their respective sports, not just the big events. Both games also opt for unnervingly realistic pixel art, although Dog Sled Saga is inherently cuter because of the dogs. The retro snowy mountain racing recalls Dudeski, too.I don’t like to judge people for the games they play. If all you want to do on your phone is pump endless dollars into Candy Crush Sage then that’s your right. But I do think it’s important to let folks know cooler mobile games are out there if you’re willing to look, and Dog Sled Saga is one worth checking out. At least it’s less racist than Isle of Dogs.Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey. Review: ‘Fantasy Strike’ Is A Fighting Game That Understands…Game of the Year: Jordan Minor’s Best Video Games of 2018 Stay on targetlast_img

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