Wannabe Sherlock Hounds and Miss Marpoodles are in luck! It’s time to turn super sleuth in the single-player puzzle game Dog Crimes. Round up the usual suspects and work out whodunit in this children’s logic game!
The puzzle is staged around a central board where one crime token will be placed. You might’ve guessed by its name this will be the crime that has occurred and is dictated by one of the forty challenge cards included in the game. These increase in difficulty from Beginner to Expert.
The board is divided into six places where the dogs can be positioned. These places have other supporting evidence such as socks and sticks to help narrow down (or further complicate) the solving of the crimes. By following the clues on the card you place each of the dogs around the table to work out who is at the scene of the crime and is the guilty pooch.
Who let the dogs out?
I’m going to admit that both my wife and I really struggled with this on our first play. It may be that we were overthinking it, but actually, our main problem came with what was the left and right of each dog. Beans, a pug dog, was particularly troublesome as he has his back to you - it mucked with our heads! We’d taught our boys how to play already and when we came downstairs the next day, our youngest Max was playing on his own. Of course, the brain of a five year old had cracked it! Instead of having the dogs parallel with the board like the instructions suggest, he turned them 90 degrees. All of a sudden the dogs’ left and right was a breeze to grasp!
Overall the puzzle solving is fun. With the varying degrees of difficulty your logic solving skills will be tested, but in an enjoyable way. Like many puzzle games of this ilk, play can be a bit repetitive if you try and blitz all the levels in a handful of sittings. However, if you only play a few levels in a sitting and revisit often this shouldn’t be an issue.
The box says for 8+ and like always it depends on the child, but my youngest (6) was certainly competent at the earlier levels, for the majority 8 is probably the right age to start at. The levels do get surprisingly tough and even more experienced brains may find themselves barking up the wrong tree and picking the wrong suspect!
Un-leashing the contents
I’ve already conveyed my disgruntlement around how Beans is depicted for working out his left and right. After photographing this game for the review I will be adding an L and R to the bottom of each dog’s base to make it easier to tell at a glance, especially for younger players. Otherwise, the standees are great and each dog has a real character. These characters are enhanced with their biographies in the rule book.
The board is two-layer and good, rigid quality. During gameplay it is divided into sections where each dog might be, this isn’t differentiated on the board and only in the instructions. I think for easy of play this could’ve been factored in. That said my boys haven’t had an issue with it, so perhaps it isn’t necessary.
The cards in Dog Crimes are nicely oversized and very clear in their clues.
Final Thoughts on Dog Crimes
I have not played this game’s predecessor, Cat Crimes. I have researched it though, and Dog Crimes continues the theme and style of play. In addition to the all-new cast of suspects, this canine version has got new mysteries to solve with every one being different. Whether you need to own both I am afraid I cannot say, that is until I play the feline version too.
If you are a parent you will be oh too familiar with the cries of ‘I’m bored’. Often you will be able to reel off a list of suggestions and chores to keep them busy. Sometimes you are in the midst of something else and need a go-to recommendation to assist in amusing themselves. Dog Crimes can easily be that game. With forty challenges it will be a while before you need to think of something else.
However, as the game progresses through the difficulty levels, you might find yourself helping out more than you would like. Or, like me, you’ll want to be ‘helping’ out and might find yourself puzzling away at it for more minutes than you would care to admit, even when the kids aren’t about!
Despite its slightly cute appearance, this game would make a great gift to someone retired, living on their own that wants to keep their brain active and enjoys puzzles. Ideally, before they tie a load of helium balloons to their house to transport it to the jungle. My three boys have all had fun with it over the last few months. Although they have each other to bounce off and play with, they do enjoy their own space too. As a result, I know there is plenty more entertainment to come from this small box! What I am trying to say is Dog Crimes is a brilliant puzzle game for ALL the family.
Dog Crimes provides plenty of logic-puzzling fun in a box for solo players. It’s a game that is best savoured over time rather than blitzed to stop gameplay becoming repetitive. It is a great option for all those who enjoy a thinky puzzle.