Little Friends: Puppy Island Review

Game: Little Friends: Puppy Island
Genre: Simulation, Adventure
System: Nintendo Switch (also available on Steam, Windows)
Developers | Publishers: BigBlue Bubble | Fireshine Games
Age Rating: US E | EU 3+
Price: US $39.99 | UK £29.99 | EU € 39,99
Release Date: June 27th, 2023

Review code used, with many thanks to Press Engine.

After releasing the successful Little Friends: Dog & Cats in 2019, developers Big Blue Bubble and publishers Fireshine Games have some more cute puppy goodness for us with Little Friends: Puppy Island.

Cute Puppies

im,age shows a husky puppy on a lawn in front of a house
Arriving at Sam’s house.

Little Friends: Puppy Island is a first-person perspective game about caring for cute puppies. Much like in real life, if you are a dog owner like myself, you will know about the care and responsibility of looking after your furry friends. Except in this game, you don’t have to mop the floor after the puppy drinks, leaving a trail of water swimming along the floor. Yes, Zen, I’m looking at you!

In Little Friends: Puppy Island, you are on vacation, staying in your friend Sam’s house on a paradise island. Sam is away, and you are tasked with caring for the pups. You will also rebuild the island into a beautiful holiday destination for dogs and their owners.

Island Paradise

a husky puppy that you have to take care off
The husky is the first breed of dog you will care for.

When you arrive on the island, you are greeted by the first puppy, a Husky. You’ll meet nine dog breeds throughout the game, which you must take care of.

Every puppy has stats that you must increase by doing activities with them, such as walking and bathing. The stats are agility, endurance, friendliness, obedience and speed. One of the ways to increase a puppy’s stats is by petting and stroking them; who doesn’t like petting a puppy?

Also, you can throw balls and toys for the puppies to play with and retrieve. In addition, you will take them for walks along the trail and bathe and groom the puppies once they get dirty.

Use Sam’s House as a Base

image shows a puppy in a bath
bath and care for the puppies

Sam’s house is a base where you will tend to your puppies and return after walking and exercising each puppy along the trail. Taking your puppy for a walk along the trail is fun. I enjoyed that aspect of the game as you get a chance to explore the island’s surroundings.

image shows a walkig the puppy along the forest path
A squirrel is in the bush; hit the button at the right time to train your puppy not to scare the squirrel.

Going along the trail, you will discover areas on the ground the puppy can dig. In dig spots, you can find new items such as collars, clothes and bones. Furthermore, while walking the puppy, you can work on its obedience on the trail.

Certain bushes and small trees will shake when a bird or squirrel is in it, and you must hit the meter on the screen when it is green to train your puppy not to bark or scare the creature away. After each event, you must praise the dog, just like in real life when your puppy behaves well.

Cross Obstacles

images shows a puppy jumping over a tall pole
Play a short mini-game to cross obstacles.

While on the trail, you will encounter obstacles, such as a pile of logs you must cross. To do so, you play a short mini-game which is pretty easy to complete.

Additionally, while on the trail, you will encounter new activity spots, like a puppy spa and a frisbee park. However, these areas need building resources, so you must collect wood and resources along the trail to build the activities areas.

image shows a puppy meeting another puppy on the trail
meeting another puppy on the trail

Walking a puppy along the trail is my favourite part of the game. It breaks up the gameplay loop of grooming and tending to your puppies and adds some adventure to the gameplay.

Furthermore, you will encounter new puppies while walking on the trail. A meter appears on the screen in these instances, and once the pointer hits the green in the meter, you have successfully encouraged the new puppy to follow you home.

One thing I didn’t find particularly cute while walking the trail is that the puppies would go to the toilet and do their business anywhere along the trail. However, you are not tasked with cleaning it up; if young children play the game, it won’t teach them that you must clean up after your puppy. Then my imagination ran away with me, and all I could imagine every time I walked the trail was: what am I stepping in, yuck!

Bath and Care for the Pups

Image shows a puppy at the dress up station
play dress up with the puppies

Of course, just like in real life, doing any activity with a puppy, such as running and digging, will tire the pups out, so you must return home to feed and bathe them. However, you don’t have to walk back to the house as there is a fast travel system in the game, and it’s a lovely feature to have,

Back at Sam’s house, you have everything you need to care for the puppies. There is a bath for bathing your puppies and a play station where you can pick an item to play throw and fetch. There is also a feeding station where you can feed your puppies wet or dry food. Additionally, you can dress your puppy up with new collars, glasses, hats, outfits and shoes. There are 350 colourful outfits, tiaras, dresses, sunglasses and more to dress your puppy.

Photo Mode

Image shows three puppies on a green grassy lawn
Three of my cute puppies

If you like taking photos, you can use the in-game camera to make lifetime memories. Though on the Nintendo Switch, which has its photo-taking system, I’m not sure how much use you will get from the in-game camera, but it’s a great addition.

Another cute aspect of the game is the map which is the shape of a paw. While exploring along the trail, you will discover eight different environments, from a lush forest to a cold and snowy climate, a lovely beach area, and more.

Visuals and Controls

image shpws a snowy scene
Different environments to explore

Visually the game is appealing; the puppies are very lifelike and act like real puppies. The different environments are well represented and are bright and colourful; the walled garden is a particular favourite place of mine to visit.

The music is good, as are the realistic sound effects of puppies barking and the birds singing in the trees. Controlling the game is done via the joy-cons, and I was disappointed that the developers didn’t incorporate the touchscreen of the Nintendo Switch into the game. I think it’s a missed opportunity as this kind of game would be great to play with added touchscreen controls.

As for the game’s performance on the Nintendo Switch, overall, it runs pretty smoothly. There is an odd slowdown in framerate in areas of the game, but it didn’t interfere with my enjoyment of the gameplay.

image shows a puppy eating
Feed the puppies dry or wet food

Conclusion – Cuteness Overload

Little Friends: Puppy Island is a delightfully cute game to play. It wouldn’t be a game I would rush out to buy it as it doesn’t offer any challenge, and I’m so much older than the demographic the game is aimed at. However, I can still see its appeal for players who like looking after virtual puppies, and the game is suitable for all ages.

Final Verdict: I Like it a Lot  I like it a lot


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.