The war with my landlord about allowing pets in the house is a never-ending struggle in my life. No matter how many polite emails I send, they just cannot be swayed. So, until the day when I can finally move out and get the puppy palace my heart yearns for, I've been playing with a whole bunch of virtual puppers instead.
It seems like there have been a lot of games about dogs recently—some are already out, and many more I'm looking forward to. I'm loving it. Developers have found creative ways to include cute pooches in many genres, from managing a pack of huskies in a survival game to wooing potential partners with a cute puppy in dating sims. My life's work will be to pet them all.
I've been enjoying the time I spend playing games made by developers who seem almost as dog-obsessed as I am. To celebrate this burst in very good dog games, I've made a list below of the ones I've been playing, as well as the games I'm keeping an eye on. Let me know if I've missed even a single good boy. A small warning—major wholesome vibes ahead.
Best Friend Forever
A dog adoption game that doubles as a dating sim, Best Friend Forever is one heck of a cute game. It's a visual novel with the bonus of having your adopted canine companion with you for the entire game. As you chat with different potential dates, your pup is, quite literally, always by your side in the corner of the screen and is always keen for a head pat or chin scratch. Best Friends Forever focuses on learning the ropes of dog care and is perfect for those who love dating sims with a twist. It's out right now over on Steam and Itch.io.
Pupperazzi is a first-person photography game where the world is full of cute, mischievous dogs and it's your job to take pictures of them all. There are dogs riding skateboards, chilling on benches, wearing cute little dog booties—they are literally everywhere. There are shibas, terriers, labs, pugs, and plenty of other pals to play with, and developers Sundae Month have confirmed that you can pet them all. Pupperazzi isn't out yet but its Steam page says it will be out around "woof bark bark" so, hopefully soon?
Pet the Pup at the Party
Here's the set-up: You've run out of small talk at a house party and before anyone notices how awkward you are you must find the pooch that is chilling somewhere in the house and pet it. We've all been there. Too real.
Pet the Pup at the Party keeps it light, though. It's a frantic race, trying to navigate the endless corridors and rooms of a house as you look for that pupper. You'll need to dodge randos who want to talk to you and listen for the soft noises of the puppy to home in on it. It's fun, chaotic, and completely relatable.
The Red Lantern
The Red Lantern is a story-driven rouguelite about a lady and her sled dogs as they make their way across the bleak Alaskan wilderness trying to find home. You have five very good dogs who help you survive the lonely isolation of the frozen tundra, but from the look of the trailer, it won't be an easy journey. Developers Timberline Studios say that The Red Lantern will release sometime this fall on the Epic Games Store.
Forever Ago is a story-driven game about an old man, a van, and his dog on a road trip through northern America. It gives off major Firewatch and What Remains of Edith Finch vibes but makes the great decision of adding a lovely dog companion. This one looks like it will pluck at your heartstrings, so be prepared for the tears. Also the dog is wearing a purple bandanna and it's the cutest thing ever.
An Airport for Aliens Currently Run by Dogs
It's all in the title. An Airport for Aliens Currently Run by Dogs is a comedy adventure game where you're exploring an airport that's run by stock photos of dogs. There are some very good dogs in this game who are looking to help you out and you can be awesome and help them in return. It's a cute, oddball game that I'm very excited to play and yes, even though the dogs might be stock photos you can still pet them as much as you want. As if that would stop me.
To The Rescue!
The last game I'm waiting for is To The Rescue, a dog shelter simulator where you help find the right homes for a bunch of cute dogs. You're in charge of taking care of all the dogs up for adoption and that means meeting their needs and, of course, lots of petting. Little Rock Games hasn't announced when it plans to release To The Rescue, but the Steam page says it's coming soon.