I’ll be honest. I came here purely for the doggos. I miss having a furry companion and thought this would be a cute fluffy tale (tail?) of pupper proportions. Instead, A Summer With the Shiba Inu is a far more darker story that feels a bit rinse and repeat but surpassed my low expectations with ease.
In a bit of a dystopian future, Shiba Island is almost entirely Shiba only but they seem to be sorted into a class system of breed. In order to keep control of the Island, a Hunger Games styled battle to the death is played out where dogs are pitted against each other. The Shibes have pendants and when they break, they did. So its a battle of survival and you play as a dog who can be as brutal as they come, or forgive and let your opponents live. That’s all I’ll say on the story as plenty of twists and turns happen on the way.
The story was deeper, darker and longer than I expected. Whilst phases of the story repeat but with just different characters, at least the overall plot was still pushing forward. The main issue I had with the story was that it didn’t put its best paw forward early on. There is an awful lot of ‘what’s going on?!?!’ and not a lot of sense or answers. I’m sure it was meant to build intrigue and excitement but I found myself losing patience. I also just wished the dogs did something on screen instead of stay completely static. The images slide in and out with the same woof sound effect over and over. It feels purposely cheap and just a hint of motion or a few extra frames of movement would have gone such a long way to make the game less memeable. The same can be said for sound too. My ears got tired quickly.
Do I recommend A Summer With the Shiba Inu? Only if you are a visual novel fiend and know you’ll get enjoyment out of seeing dog photos sliding in and out of your screen as they chat about dystopian uprisings. If you are still here, there are 10 different endings to unlock and I have to say my other half was laughing his head off when we played it on the fastest auto-speed afterwards. He then said ‘You actually bought that?!’. For a couple of pounds, to see him laugh his head off and now for it to become a regular in-joke – I don’t think that’s a bad pay off!
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