Review – Pupperazzi

As Brad Pitt once said in his iconic role in Snatch: “do you love dags?” Well, I do love dags and dogs, with around 90% of my phone’s photo library being comprised of pictures of my Shiba Inu. So when I heard of Pupperazzi, a game all about taking pictures of adorable polygonal dogs, I felt like giving it a shot. Sure, the visuals looked odd at best, but I thought to myself: “maybe that’s just an artistic decision”. Boy, was I wrong. Somehow, someone make the act of taking pictures of dogs one of the most forgettable gaming experiences I’ve had in recent memory.

Pupperazzi Corgi

This corgi looks like he has seen some messed up stuff back in ‘Nam.

Pupperazzi throws you into a small island inhabited by sentient but poorly animated dogs. There’s not much of a premise in here, but for some reason beyond my comprehension, you meet some dogs and you’re tasked with taking a few pictures of them and their mates. Do it according to the specified objective and get some followers and in-game currency. Post some of your favorite pics on a makeshift social media platform and you can get a few more followers. The more followers you acquire, the more filters and items you can obtain to make better pictures, perpetuating a cycle.

You may be thinking to yourself: this sounds like Pokémon Snap. Well, yes and no. Yes, the act of taking pictures of cute little creatures and getting rewarded by doing so with a (very dumbed down, in this case) scoring system reminded me of the 1999 classic, as well as its 2021 sequel, but that’s where the similarities end. Pupperazzi isn’t an on-rails picture simulator. You are free to explore small maps, interacting with every dog you see, be it by petting them, giving them treats, having them fetch a stick, and so on. It is also objective-based, unlike Pokémon Snap‘s arcade-like approach. Finally, unlike Snap, Pupperazzi is not good.

Pupperazzi Petting

This is scarier than any Lovecraftian horror tale out in the market.

At first glance, the main reason that made me dislike it so much would seem to be its really poor presentation. I will admit it that I really disliked its visuals, as it made almost every single dog look hideous with their scared looks and near nonexistent animations. I also hated how my playable character featured gigantic, stretchy arms that looked like some kind of borderline eldritch horror story whenever I tried to pet one of the pups onscreen. The same can be said about the mediocre soundtrack and sound effects. But no, it wasn’t the visuals, it wasn’t the sound design. It was its overall gameplay loop.

Simply put, taking these pictures isn’t fun. The scoring system is based on an annoying follower count on your imaginary social media account, not a high score arcade loop that felt oh so rewarding even back in 1999. The objectives are really dull. The level design is borderline simplistic. There’s little room for exploration and finding interesting secrets: most of the dogs just show up onscreen right from the get-go, and those that don’t can be easily found after completing a very obvious puzzle. The game doesn’t even run that well, considering it barely pushes what the Xbox is capable of. All in all, it gives you very little reason to keep on playing it for more than ten minutes at a time, at best.

Pupperazzi Comments

Thanks for the insightful comments, imaginary social media follower.

I love dogs, and I love Pokémon Snap. Even though I didn’t expect for Pupperazzi to wow me, it had enough features in its premise to make me, at the very least, look forward to it. What we ended up getting is a beyond mediocre photography game that might be the entertaining for the first ten minutes or so, until it becomes a tremendously uninteresting title devoid of challenge or charm to make you want to play it for much longer. Want to look at better and cuter dog pics? Just check your Instagram feed.


Graphics: 5.0

Low-poly and simple. It’s cute at first, even if some dogs look like they have seen some terrible stuff in previous lives. The charm wears off quickly, though, and the game runs somewhat poorly, performance-wise.

Gameplay: 6.0

The controls (as in walking around and aiming your shots) are decent. The gameplay loop and the puzzle-solving, if you can even call it that, are inane.

Sound: 5.5

Stock cutesy music and a few barks here and there. Nothing too important or memorable to talk about in this regard.

Fun Factor: 4.5

Taking pictures of cute pups should be a lot more fun than this poor man’s attempt at making a free-roaming Pokémon Snap clone with weird graphics and bland objectives.

Final Verdict: 5.0

Pupperazzi is available now on Xbox One and PC.

Reviewed on Xbox One.

A copy of Pupperazzi was provided by the publisher.