Category: Comedy, Slice of Life
Official Site: http://shimmersoft.com/paws-effect
Available at: Itch.io, Gamejolt, Steam (to be released on Feb 14!)
What it is (from the site):
Paws & Effect: My Dogs Are Human! is a quirky romp that seeks to answer an age-old question: What would happen if your pets suddenly became people?
Assume the role of Sadie (name customizable), a young woman with aspirations of being a lawyer, as she grapples with perhaps the greatest legal challenge of her life: Keeping her two dogs out of jail after they mysteriously transform into humans, somehow capable of speech and eager to abuse the newfound power of thumbs. What will Sadie teach them about the human condition? What will she discover about herself? And who is behind all this nonsense? You’ll have to play to find out!
The devs contacted me about their new game so I checked out the game’s website, and I thought it looked cute and fun. To try out their game, they sent me their presskit which included 3 versions (Win, Mac, and browser) of the game and a very helpful fact sheet. While I did try the browser one a bit, I played most of the game using the Win version.
So here are my thoughts about it~!
For some absurd reason, I started playing Paws & Effect expecting an otome game. Perhaps I was thinking of Dandelion or Mojuutsukai to Oujisama where the animals became humans (or in the case of MtO, it’s the other way around). In both games, you can pursue the guys. So imagine my disappointment when I finished the game without pursuing anyone. During the entire playthrough, I sat there, thinking about who to date and agonizing whether my choices would affect my pet’s affection levels. It was then that I realized that the whole point of the game was to just have fun and enjoy the ride.
With that in mind, I restarted the game and enjoyed the catastrophe that had fallen into Sadie’s life in the form of her cute furry friends.
Why I love it ♡(｡- ω -)
The story is pretty straightforward. Sadie has to juggle between guiding her dogs to be normal human beings while also going through a breakup and looking for a job.
The main strength of the storytelling is dialogue. Dark humor and sarcasm are peppered throughout the game, even on Sadie’s monologues.
If you are wondering what hocus-pocus happened that turned the dogs to humans, the game has an explanation to that, and it is also something that I liked about Paws & Effect. Despite the length and the mood, there is still a cause for this phenomenon to happen and is incorporated nicely in the overall plot.
There are 5 endings for Paws & Effect. I listed them all down, though I’m not sure if that’s it? Putting it in white, just in case you want to discover the ends on your own.
- She retains the memory of the whole ordeal
- She forgets about it and returns to her day to day life.
- She spends the day alone with her dogs.
- She has both work and pets.
- She has a boyfriend and pets.
I liked Sadie. She may not be my favorite character of all time, but the two of us can have a good time chatting about how adulting sucks. Though she tends to go off tangent and say a lot of sarcastic things which can get really tiring sometimes.
There’s also the dogs. Pecan is always eager to please while Peaches is a little too cynical. But both of them are adorbs. There is also Diya, a gorgeous and wise friend. And, yes, I even liked the ex-boyfriend Vincent. He still cares for Sadie even after the breakup.
Ooh! Definitely one of the best and my favorite part of the whole game. I love how you can change Sadie and the dogs’ names mid-game. While the name of the MC is fully customizable, there are fix names for the dogs that you can choose from, saving you time from thinking up names. But the best thing is that you can change your choices to get a different scenario or ending without going through the entire game again. You have to do a bit of mix and match to come up with a different end, though.
I liked the music, but what really surprised me is the partial voice acting. I never expected that, especially for an indie game. And it’s a good addition to the game as the voices give more personality and flair to this set of quirky characters.
Paws & Effect costs $4.99. According to the devs, 20% of proceeds go to the ASPCA to help animals in need. And I think that’s wonderful! If you consider the quality of the game and how you would be able to help animals when you buy, the price is worth it. Plus you’d also enjoy your time playing. It’s a win-win for all!
What didn’t work out (¯ . ¯٥)
There are some copy-paste scenes. Copy-paste because some endings don’t make sense with the previous scene. For example, that one scene where Vincent comes over the night before but in the morning, the person Sadie finds inside is Diya. Or if she chooses her job, the researchers would say that it is extra compensation. How can it be extra compensation when it is the choice Sadie made? Or if she chooses the boyfriend, she would get the dog and the job instead. It is tad confusing, and I wonder how the choices really affect the outcome of the game. 😧
Shimmersoft updated me about this and told me that there might be a problem when I applied the patch. That may explain why I keep on getting an error every time I try to play the game offline. But I’m glad to know that this happened because of a patch and not because of the writing.
The writing has great dialogues, as mentioned above, but the narration is its weakness. I cringed on parts where they use descriptions. And I think they know it, so they used monologues instead to describe things. But narration would have helped with the pacing, to slow things down, have a breather, and not always feel like the player is dropped in the middle of the action all the time.
I’m not expecting a CG list for obvious reasons, but what I would have wanted to see is an ending list. I know it’s a short game. But I’m a completionist (most of the time lol), and it bothers me if I missed something or I can’t really check if I’ve gotten all that is needed to get.
Shimmersoft updated the game for their Steam release and added a feature called “Treat Jar.”
This new feature is an in-game achievement system that lets you unlock treats for getting certain requirements like certain endings! Don’t worry, there are hints on those locked treats so you’ll know what you might be missing. This is a great addition as there is no need for me to guess if I got all the endings or missed important scenes.
This is for… (✯◡✯)
People looking for something light, short, and comedic.
Please note that while I’m grateful to Shimmersoft for giving me a copy, all thoughts written in this post are my honest opinion of the game.