To The Rescue! – Review
Follow Genre: Simulation, Management
Developer: Little Rock Games
Publisher: Freedom Games, Freedom Family Limited
Platform: PC, Mac, Linux, Switch
Tested on: PC

To The Rescue! – Review

Site Score
7.2
Good: Actually incorporates all aspects of running a dog shelter
Bad: Feels like a rinse and repeat when doing tasks
User Score
8.0
(1 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 8.0/10 (1 vote cast)

There are a ton of jobs out there that some of us would love to do for just a day, a week, or maybe even a year. Some jobs just seem more interesting than your own. The thrills of being a policeman, a firefighter, the managing of a rock band, you name it. It’s not so weird that these fantasies also find their way into video games. Sometimes though, it’s more than dreams of being rich or having an exciting life. Sometimes it’s about doing good and wishing you could make the world a better place. That is where To The Rescue! comes in with a dog shelter simulator.

Story

At the start of To The Rescue! you get to pick a character and one of many dog companions from multiple breeds. The story in short is that your chosen character is an animal lover with their own dog, at some point noticing that there’s another lost dog in need. You decide to bring it to the shelter, but there’s no room, as there are many dogs in similar situations. Deciding to keep the lost dog for a little while until the rightful owner will make themselves known, the idea of running your own animal shelter grows. After informing yourself a little bit, you decide to take the step and open up a new place for all types of dogs. Rescue them all, find new homes for them, and build your reputation as a dog-loving business. The game then gives you a couple of goals over the span of multiple days each, slowly introducing more mechanics and allowing the story of your own growing shelter to progress.

Graphics

The graphics are fairly simple and are quite comparable to most Facebook games or games that generally have younger people as their targeted audience. While looking rather simple, the game still makes it feel like you are actually running a dog shelter. It does so by not only providing anything you would normally find in a dog shelter, such as a waiting room, the kennels, and a bath or medical supplies; it also gives you i.e. the interface of a computer. On the computer, you can plan an extension of your shelter, buy new supplies, and so on. The graphics made for all this communicate what you can do well, and make the game accessible for younger ages as well, despite a small learning curve at the beginning of the game to figure out where you can find everything you need.

Sound

The sound design in To The Rescue! is honestly quite disappointing. The background music simply sounds cheap, no matter how uplifting it’s supposed to sound. That you don’t get a different tune during a day of work makes it even worse. Aside from the background music, one would expect while playing a game about dogs to hear sounds belonging to.. well, dogs. Sadly, there is nothing in the game to at least hint you’re at a dog shelter. Of course, we are happy the game doesn’t sound like an actual dog shelter with all the barking going on there all day long, but we expected a lot more.

Gameplay

Playing this game feels a lot like running an actual dog shelter. This is why the game could be seen as a simulator or a management game (as a dog shelter also has a lot of managing involved). You get dogs in your holding kennels as they randomly spawn there, waiting for you to take care of them. After this, you assign each dog to their own private kennel, though kennels can also be shared if you think dogs can handle each other and you want to save room. You need to feed all dogs, give water, scoop poops, sometimes wash a smelly one, and make sure the sick or injured are taken care of properly. You also make sure the stock is ordered so you keep enough supplies on your shelves. In the worst-case scenario, you might have to put a dog to sleep, though for the feint of heart or younger audiences, the game offers to replace this by an option to “send them away”. As the game progresses you even get to manage some PR and social media.

During the course of the day, multiple people will walk in looking for a dog. Some of these people lost their own dog and hope you have it in your kennels, others look for a dog with specific traits, and some are just desperate for any dog that you might have available. You can select up to five dogs from your kennels to show to the possible new owners, and if they are satisfied enough with your selection, they will pick one dog to take home with them. While this process does not always seem fair, if you are somewhat smart in your selection, you can strategically get one of your less popular dogs a new home. As the game progresses, you also get new options including skill points to spend, making i.e. the adoption process easier.

While the gameplay is fairly simple, it can still feel chaotic at times, as your place grows and you need to do more and more. Multiple dogs can come in at the same time, and they can also be very sick, or there will be other situations that require your immediate attention. You need to prioritize and try to handle some frantic events all at the same time, which emphasizes the management aspect of the game. Some may find this fun, others may find this a bit stressful. The same can be said that for some this might feel like a challenge and others might find it tedious because of the rinse and repeat gameplay loop. You can upgrade your skills and equipment after a while, but this process might feel a bit slow, especially if you have already accumulated all the funds necessary a long thing before these options are available.

Conclusion

To The Rescue! hands you a game that gives a good simulation of what it would be to actually have your own dog shelter. The graphics are clear and simple in communication, making the game also suitable for younger audiences. While the sound is disappointing, the gameplay is pretty solid but some may find it tedious due to the repetitiveness of the game. The game’s introduction of new mechanics and skill points counters this a bit though, as it gives you something to work towards.

Worth noting if you are doubting to buy this game, a good 20% of the profit of this game is being donated to an actual shelter charity, The Petfinder Foundation!

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Rating: 8.0/10 (1 vote cast)
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To The Rescue! - Review, 8.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating
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Find me on youtube to see some playthroughs! https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCuBrlulGywcb0EiYWBnA1ng

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