Russian Subway Dogs is one of those slow-burn passion projects I’ve been following since it was announced. The latest from They Bleed Pixels creators Spooky Squid, it’s a cute little point-hunting game about the (very real) dogs that scavenge for food every day on Moscow’s metro system. There’s bears, elk, surly old grandmas and a whole lot of vodka involved, and for those lacking the requisite canine kinship, yes, you can play as the Proletaricat, plus guest characters/pups from across the indie development sphere. After years in development, it’s out today.
While there’s running and jumping and cute 16-bit styled sprites here, it seems wrong to describe Russian Subway Dogs as a platformer. That said, it is set exclusively on a set of platforms, but they’re the flat train variety. Playing as a dog (or something else) in a jaunty hat, you bark at commuters, hoping to frighten them out of their food and drink, all while trying to complete side-missions handed down by the Proletaricat. Juggle vodka bottles for points, chain things into combos, set bears on fire (sadly it doesn’t cause screen-shake), and apparently fight Baba Yaga?
As you can see in the trailer, there’s a ton of guest characters, including KC Green’s famed ‘This Is Fine‘ dog, used with full permission. The Clawed Girl from They Bleed Pixels is now a puppy (and has brought some of her eldritch foes with her), the cyberpunk Shiba Inu from VA-11 Hall-A is here, as is mystical goat Uay Chivo from Guacamelee who is a goat and not a dog. Spooky Squid have spent a good chunk of the past couple years asking cool people if they wanted to be weird Russian dogs in a game, and (naturally) everyone said yes. I mean, who wouldn’t?