Focus Multimedia – Dogz 5 review

virtual pets on your PC
Photo of Focus Multimedia – Dogz 5
£9.99

Virtual pets have been something of a craze since the heady days of Tamagotchi – remember those, the little egg shaped electronic key rings in which fluffy digital creatures lived whom you had to feed and nurture? Dogz is like this but much, much more involved.

And this is the fifth incarnation of the program, which has moved on considerably since the early days. Now you can pick two dogs from a number of different breeds and even get them to procreate (doggy style presumably – sorry, couldn’t resist)!

The different breeds all have varying characteristics. Small dogs like the Chihuahua will yap rather than bark, and tend to bound about with an apparently limitless supply of energy, while the Scottie likes to play outside, digging and burying things. All dogs, however, seem to like sitting down and dragging their arse across a carpeted floor, naturally!

Their character develops depending on how you train them – there’s a range of environments to explore, toys to play with and rewards to be given. Should your dog successfully perform a trick or come obediently over when you click your fingers, you can stroke it or give it a Scooby-snack style treat. If it misbehaves you can spray it with water to vent your displeasure.

The training process is made more interesting by the large range of different environments. Many of these are standard settings, such as the living room or backyard, but others are more exotic like a circus ring. Take your dogz here and they’ll be able to learn how to jump through hoops, for example, and a circus trained dog might also turn up and teach them a trick or two himself.

Eventually, if you care for and train your dogz well, you’ll end up with several obedient and happy pets, possibly with a litter of little pups and a certificate to prove your worthiness in the eyes of other Barbara Woodhouse wannabe’s.

Specifically new to this version is a range of features – new dogs and environments, the puppy litters, and weather effects along with additional toys and suchlike (there are tons of these). Plenty of extra-curricular activities are included, with the ability to make your own screen savers starring your pets. There are also some mini-games to play, although these are a little dull. Another slight downer is that the interface is somewhat fiddly and it can be difficult to drop dogz and items exactly where you want them.

Company: Focus Multimedia


Verdict
Let's face it, this is a niche appeal product, but those of us who appreciate the idea of virtual pets will find this a well worthy budget purchase. There's plenty of mileage here, particularly now that you can bring two dogz together and produce a litter of puppies (cue.... "ahhhh"). The interface, however, is a little awkward at times.