Russian Subway Dogs – Review
Follow Genre: fast-paced systemic-arcade game
Developer: Spooky Squid Games Inc.
Publisher: Spooky Squid Games Inc.
Platforms: PS4, PC, PS Vita, Mac
Tested on: PC

Russian Subway Dogs – Review

Site Score
Good: A fun story, beautiful graphics and a lot of challenges
Bad: The backgrounds could use more variation
User Score
(2 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 8.5/10 (2 votes cast)

Aye comrades, Russian Subway Dogs looks very promising. Not that this is surprising, because its earlier version created for the GDC Pirate Kart, was in fact a great indie success, which already earned an official nomination for Fantastic Fest’s Fantastic Arcade. Lots of obstacles will cross your path as you are playing as a Russian stray dog. Exploding vodka, annoying pigeons, hangry animals and scary looking dogs will be your main competition. If you are not convinced yet, Spooky Squid Games also gives a percentage of their profit (that they earn with the first week this game is released) to a charity that looks out for dogs.


For a very long time, stray dogs wander the streets, parks and undergrounds of Moscow in search of food and a better life. A handful of those dogs are searching for scraps in the city’s subway system. However, one cross-species pack of fluffy puppers is trying to outwit them all! Together they travel through the subways looking for the tastiest treats before their rivals snatch them away. There isn’t really a big story present in the game, but as this is mainly an arcade title, it’s not really necessary to have a very thick plot.


Russian Subway Dogs brings the old but gold, pixelated-arcade style back to life. The backgrounds change very little, which is disappointing but they are beyond gorgeous and actually an imitation of the real subways in Moscow. The animals, people, trains and different kinds of food are simplistic but they fit right into the idea the developers had for the art style of the game. Besides the fact that there could be more variation in a certain aspect of the graphics, the game manages to make it feel like you are really in a subway in Moscow.


The sounds of this game are diverse enough for its genre. When you start off in the menu you’ll hear a different song than for example in the little challenges themselves. Also when you are slowly dying, the music slows down, until you die, then it changes in a sort of funeral tune. The music is developed by Peter Chapman aka COINS, whose work you can already admire in games as Guacamelee! and LittleBigPlanet Karting. He made sure to remake traditional Eastern European Folk music with a touch of his own electronic take on music. Also, there is a catlike creature in an army suit, who is watching your every move and comments on your actions. The background noises include rumble, screams, barks and trains.


Russian Subway Dogs is a fast-paced systemic-arcade game inspired by the events that real-life stray dogs need to overcome in the metro halls of Moscow. You mainly run around in small enclosed levels, to scare people, scavenge for food, … every level is a bit different from each other, but also very much the same. The mechanics of the game are rather easy, luckily for us, otherwise we wouldn’t get past the first challenge.

You can use three different controls. You can bark (press the X button), you can jump (press the Z button) and you can run from left to right or the other way around with your arrow buttons. Now we have the basics and will jump straight into the fun, quite literally if you ask us.

When you enter a challenge there will only be a few things you need to know. DO NOT DRINK THE VODKA. Ha-ha, no for real. You can bark behind people’s back, not in front because that won’t work. Whatever delicious treats they are holding will fly into the air and you need to catch it before it hits the ground. If you catch it you are getting the full amount of points that type of food possesses and multiplier x1. If you aren’t able to catch it the points will be cut in half and you’ll lose whatever multiplier you have accumulated.

But what about the vodka? Do not try to drink it. Because when people drop this delicious beverage, you need to bark at it and hope it doesn’t hit you. Because if it hits, it explodes and you’ll lose a few of your life points. If not being able to drink vodka wasn’t bad enough there will also be a lot of animals who will try and steal the food right from under your nose. So be first to grab it, otherwise you’ll lose points equal to the points you will gain if you catch it. Oh… and you’ll also lose your multiplier.

Also note: Do NOT take your time with this game. Fast-paced means fast-paced, so you’ll be up against a clock and when the timer stops, the trains will not arrive anymore with more delicious food bringers, we mean Russians… and your life points will drain extremely fast.

You can tackle the campaign mode, where your boss kitty ‘The Proletaricat’, will give you dozens of levels and over a hundred different challenges and objectives. You can also unlock guest animals from other indie games to play those challenges with, which is fairly awesome!


Overall the team of Spooky Squid Games amazed us with this indie title. You can see they put a lot of time in all the aspects of the game. The sound is beyond gorgeous and developed by Peter Chapman, who has proven his worth again in this title. Sadly, the graphical aspect let us a bit down because of the lack of diverse backgrounds. Nevertheless, the game is a fun addition to your arcade game collection if you are up for the challenge.

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Rating: 8.5/10 (2 votes cast)
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Russian Subway Dogs - Review, 8.5 out of 10 based on 2 ratings

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