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Dogfight: Unleashed Preview — A Barking Good Time

Multiplayer card games are about as common as the idle titles on mobile devices, so it takes a lot to stand out from the pack that includes heavy hitters like Gwent. With all that in mind, it would be pretty boring if we just sat around and let the same one or two games dominate the scene. That’s where Dogfight: Unleashed comes in. Offering card-based gameplay like hearthstone with tactical grid-based combat like Fire Emblem, there’s a touch of familiarity with a coat of paint that feels fresh. We got our hands on a limited demo and so far, we like what we’ve played.

Dogfight: Unleashed allows players to take to the skies as literal dogs who fly planes — which on that premise alone is enough to sell us on a concept — yet, there’s more to it than some puppies and a good pun for a title. In fact, this game reminded us of a lot of Hand of The Gods: Smite Tactics or Deulyst. It’s intended to be played either locally or online and deals with cards that determine movement, attacks, and the environment around your puppy pilot. The idea is to use the cards to move, set up traps, and inevitably line up shots to take down your opponent. Yet, there’s no real way to predict what actions you’ll receive, so you’ll have to prepare to think a little further ahead than the moment you play a specific move. Again, the demo we played was very limited, as we played an extremely early build, so there could be even more to it than we’re able to describe. Still, there's a lot of promise in the gameplay alone.

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Thankfully, there's a little style to the substance too. In fact, we couldn’t help but notice Dogfight: Unleashed features some really beautiful artwork that got our tails wagging. All of the visuals offer a beautiful hand-drawn aesthetic that’s pleasant to look at, even during gameplay where you’re essentially looking at a grid. With a more muted color pallet, it almost looks like the design direction was inspired by the 1940s Second World War era propaganda posters. All of the cards feature a nice drawing to symbolize the action as well, complimenting that same stylistic direction.

You’ll be able to experience that artwork on a variety of different screens, too. While we played the game on IOS, Hungarian developer Zoltán Matók (known for his work on the Game Box Challenge) has plans to release Dogfight: Unleashed on PC, Mac, and Android as well. Currently, there is an Indiegogo campaign is open detailing more stretch goals than you can shake a stick at, to make the game more replayable. Some of those plans include different modes — including a four-player option— and even a physical board game. With a few days left, there is still time to donate, and with a goal of $16,000, it’s not the most expensive game we’ve seen — plus, the base game is being offered to everyone who pledges, even at the lowest level if the game reaches its goal.

Overall, Dogfight: Unleashed is a pretty interesting title that could be competing in a pretty saturated market. While we’d love to try out a more complete demo, what we’ve seen has got us excited. With a solid foundation and interesting aesthetic, there could be enough here to carve out a niche across a number of platforms. 

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