“Owners of dogs will have noticed that, if you provide them with food and water and shelter and affection, they will think you are god. Whereas owners of cats are compelled to realize that, if you provide them with food and water and shelter and affection, they draw the conclusion that they are gods.” – Christopher Hitchens
Pets at work is a cute and colourful puzzle platformer in which players take on the roles of a cat and a dog, each with different abilities, in order to navigate a series of offices and be reunited with their owners.
Developer: Nibb Games
Released: 28nd February 2022
Available on: Steam
This game is being reviewed as part of the Indie Game Collective (IGC) showcase.
Pets at Work can be played single-player or co-op. In the former mode, the lone player will play as both the cat and the dog, in the latter, each player takes one character. Abilities are introduced gradually but eventually, the dog can move blocks and knock down barriers whilst the cat can jump further and higher and can travel through pipes. They must work together to solve puzzles and traverse each level and reach a door to the next area.
As well as the character’s different skills, various puzzle mechanics are introduced as the game progresses. Players will see conveyer belts, fans, springs and more, all adding to the level of challenge and providing a gentle difficulty curve. The game remains fairly low pressure however as death from things such as falling block will simply result in a level reset and if mistakes are made the level can be manually reset at any point too.
Narrative and Styling
The minimal narrative appears to be about a cat and a dog exploring and causing mischief after getting separated from their owners in the workplace, this is demonstrated through the gameplay itself and through some hand-drawn illustrations that are shown at the start and end of the game.
These illustrations provide a nice bit of variation to the vibrant and colourful pixel art that makes up the bulk of the game. The cute characters are a highlight of the visuals and there is a nice selection of cuddly creatures that players can choose to play. The music is jolly and upbeat and whilst it is quite energetic it doesn’t feel frantic and the game maintains a pretty relaxing feel overall. The sound effects are minimal and primarily feature dog and cat noises.
Pets at Work is a short game, with its 30 levels taking 1-2 hours to play and is well worth both the time and its low price tag. The game is a delightful example of a puzzle platformer with a cute theme and aesthetic, satisfying but accessible conundrums and a relaxing overall vibe. It is great fun both playing solo or with a friend and is easy to recommend to fans of the genre and newcomers alike.
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