I'll be clear up front: I understood about 25 percent of what was happening at any given time in Play Dog Play Tag, a Japanese indie game at this year's Bitsummit festival (opens in new tab). Thankfully, that was enough to have a lot of fun. The gist is that this is a four player splitscreen party game where you control a dog, and your owner drags by their leash behind you like a limp rag doll. You hold down a controller trigger to 'charge up'—an everyday dog activity, I'm sure—and then fling your owner at other players like a human battering ram. Hit them and you'll get some points. I believe the currency is bones.
Oh, and if you throw your human at a building it'll freaking explode. This is a frenetic physics playground that reminds me of a multiplayer interpretation of Goat Simulator, and I can't say that it controlled particularly well or did anything particularly new when it comes down to the simple goal of hitting other players. But it's absurd enough to be a blast as a party game.
There's also a bear running around all the time, who is a thief, and may be carrying a big sack of bones. I was pretty unclear on that bit, but I did throw my owner at him a lot and I had the most bones at the end of the round. Clearly I did something right.
泥棒を追跡！他犬と乱闘！ #PlayDog_PlayTag で破壊の限りを尽くし、この街一番のホネ富豪を目指せ！🐕Chasing the thief and brawling with other dogs! With #PlayDog_PlayTag you destroy and become the city's number one milli"bone"ire!#BitSummit7Spirits pic.twitter.com/oq52w3NADrMay 30, 2019
Play Dog Play Tag had some other things going on. My dog had a special power, which was based on my owner, but I wasn't really sure what it did. And seemingly every owner in the game is a unique weapon, so there were a lot of powers popping off at once. I had trouble telling how many bones I was losing when I got hit, or how many I took from other players when I hit them.
Didn't matter, though. The chaos was still a blast. I would absolutely buy Play Dog Play Tag for a party and feel very confident it would be a hit. Japanese publisher Neuron-Age says it should be coming to PC this year.