Loot Hound is game about taking your dog to the park and letting him dig up treasures for you. There are RPG elements—treasure gives you points you can use to train your dogs to be more skilled at digging, to have greater concentration, or more stamina. As you play you unlock more parks and different hounds.
Having a dog of my own, a small terrier mix named Hank, I thought I'd take him for walk after playing Loot Hound to see just how realistic this dog-walking simulator was. I rated each activity with an accuracy score, or as I called it—because I'm so clever—a BARK-uracy score.
Loot Hound loves to be walked
To walk one of your loot hounds, simply approach him while he's lying in his bed. The leash will pop on and the hound will be ready to go. Then just walk to the door and select the park you want to visit. Easy enough! Our dog Hank, on the other hand, gives me more of a challenge.
Hank loves to be walked, sort of
While Hank loves walks, he does not love the harness or leash and he runs away when we try to put it on him. Every single time. That's why he's blurry in the picture. Even when he's rung his bell (we have a bell on a ribbon hanging next to the door, and he swats it with his paw to signal that he needs to go out) we have to chase him down to get his leash on. Once the leash is on, though, he's happy to go.
Why can we train our dog to ring a bell when he has to poop, but can't train him to sit still while we put on his leash? I can't answer that. The answer lies only in Hank's tiny brain.
BARK-uracy score: 4
Loot Hound is easily distracted
Loot Hound's job is to dig up treasures, but there are many distractions in the various parks. Beehives draw your hound's attention in particular, and if you haven't leveled up his concentration skill, he'll stop digging and go stare at bees. Can you blame him? Bees are fascinating.
Hank is easily distracted
While we didn't encounter any beehives, we still ran into several distractions on our walk. Someone closed a car door half a block away, which was cause for concern. Another person was talking on a phone inside their house, which drew a long stare. A bird in a tree said something, probably "chirp", which was treated with the attention one might give an alien spaceship landing on the White House lawn.
And we ran into Lucky, a neighborhood cat that Hank likes to visit/sniff. This is why our trip to the park, a three minute walk for a human, has thus far taken the better part of a half-hour.
BARK-uracy score: 9
Loot Hound is obsessed with squirrels. So is Hank.
Squirrels provide another distraction in Loot Hound, often leading your dog away from his digging business. Leaving for our walk, Hank spotted a squirrel on our lawn and ran at it so forcefully he yanked my hand into our glass door hard enough to almost break it (both my hand and the door). At the park, he spotted another and pursued it until it cleverly gave him the slip by moving to the other side of a tree. Hank was baffled.
Above, the squirrel looks at me like, "Is this moron with you?" and I'm like "Uhhh nope. Don't know him."
BARK-uracy score: 10
Loot Hound pees on things. Hank pees on ALL of the things
This is a picture of my dog urinating. You're welcome. In the game your dog will occasionally pause to make a big ol' puddle before moving on. Hank doesn't typically let go a big long gusher, preferring instead to ration his wee, distributing dozens of tiny fragrant missives evenly over the neighborhood. This is why our half-mile walk has now entered its third hour.
BARK-uracy score: 7
Chasing and barking at joggers
There was only one jogger in the park this morning, and while Hank didn't bark at or chase them like the dogs of Loot Hound, he was briefly distracted from his fortieth stop to widdle on something. He does sometimes try to chase people, or at least run over to them. Truthfully, most of Hank's barkin' happens at home, where threatening-looking people (anyone) passing close to the house (within a half-mile) get sternly told off.
BARK-uracy Score: 6
Dropping the leash
While walking your loot hound, you can let the leash out to give him more freedom, or reel it in to keep him close. However, if you're both pulling at the same time it may be yanked out of your hand, and you'll have to chase him down to retrieve it.
I dropped Hank's leash once. It retracted, which made him think he was being chased by a clonking plastic thing. He ran down the entire block, in the middle of the street, with the leash handle bumping behind him the whole way. Luckily, there were no cars or you'd probably be reading about a different dog. That's why I immediately attached a wrist-band so even if I drop it, it stays with me. One drop was plenty.
BARK-uracy score: 9
Loot Hound digs holes
The point of taking your loot hound to the various parks is so they can dig up treasures for you. Each park has a number of buried items for your hounds to sniff out and uncover. Find enough, and you'll gain access to more parks with more items. Some items are in areas only reachable by smaller hounds, some items require strong diggers. There are three dogs in the game, each with different strengths, and they can be improved by training them.
Hank digs holes
Hank loves digging too, probably because it's coded into his terrier DNA to root out rodents and pests. I don't usually let him dig in the park because he gets covered with dirt, so most of his digging is confined to our couch, where he's often certain a chew toy is wedged between the cushions. He's almost always right, because that's where he likes to buries his chew toys.
On this walk I let him dig a little in the park. It made him happy and dirty.
BARK-uracy score: 10
Loot Hound finds treasure, like socks
Hank finds sock treasures, too, but in our own home. He's happy to run around holding a toy in his mouth, but it's different when he's stolen a sock. He doesn't just run, he capers, he cavorts. It's the sort of joyous prancing spurred only by the thrill of snatching a forbidden sock, and perhaps knowing he'll be chased around for a while. I guess that's enough treasure for both of us.
BARK-uracy score: 7
Loot Hound BARK-uracy total: 57/80
Loot Hound is a cute and casual RPG and the most realistic game I've played in 2015. It's available on Steam.