An Airport For Aliens Currently Run By Dogs Review: Utterly Hilarious But Tragically Tedious
No matter what you witness in your life, never tell yourself at any point that you've seen it all. From legal dramas to cake brawlers, I’ve covered many strange games this last decade. Still, nothing will ever top an intergalactic adventure centered around aliens and talking to stock photo dogs.
Having worked on Can Androids Pray: Blue and the upcoming Space Warlord Organ Trading Simulator, Xalavier Nelson Jr’s Strange Scaffold studio is set to release the wonderfully named An Airport for Aliens Currently Run by Dogs on May 25. As an open-world comedy-adventure experience, Dog Airport Game boasts a wonderful sense of humor but is held back by frustrating gameplay.
An Airport for Aliens Currently Run by Dogs Review: Utterly Hilarious But Tragically Tedious
Dog Airport Game occurs in a bizarre future where almost every human has been almost completely wiped out by an unexplained cataclysmic event, leaving dogs to reign supreme. Playing as an unnamed protagonist, you and your fiancée, Krista, are the last humans left, and while celebrating an anniversary dinner, you suddenly wake up on Phobos. Because, of course.
As it turns out, you shouldn’t entrust meal planning for such a big event to Cage Dog, The Dog Who Loves Cages. Much to their (lack of) surprise, you and Krista end up in a… can you guess it? Bingo: a cage. Did he really have to drop a piano on our head too? Anyway, before long, you’ll be free once more and on your way to the airport.
Across these airports, your actions are pretty basic, letting you freely roam, interact with objects, jump, collect items for your endless inventory and, most importantly, pet the stock photo dogs. Did I also mention you’ve got infinite hands for dog petting too? It’s truly glorious.
In Dog Airport Game, you travel to airports on six alien worlds, each featuring spectacular monuments that range from literal black holes to a giant fire hydrant in the sky. Starting on Phobos, your goal is to find Krista at each airport on Beachwell, The Elf Planet, Patsville, Marinara Trench, and of course, Uranus.
Once you’ve met up with her, she’ll ask to meet at a specific location, so you’ll need to collect a boarding pass from Ticket Dog. However, each pass is written in an alien language, meaning you must match it with airport signs to find your flight. Alternatively, you can walk between each separate gate until you find it, though that’s incredibly time-consuming.
Boarding occurs 90 minutes before the flight takes off, though you can just grab another pass at no cost if you miss it. While Dog Airport runs in real-time, you can speed up proceedings with time manipulation booths. If that’s too slow, beds are available, moving you five hours ahead each time.
Accompanying the receptionist can be one of several dogs, each of whom has a request. Bribe Dog is a common companion, and surprise, surprise, he likes bribes. Most DogPCs require a specific item that you have to find, with most becoming a series of (no pun intended) fetch quests.
Unless you find Reverse Bribe Dog, which is just as hilarious as it sounds.
Sadly, this is where things start going south. Though items aren’t hard to obtain, boarding flights to planets is a never-ending stream of quests, all of which become extremely tedious after a short time. Even if you’ve visited a planet before, you can’t just fast-travel back, forcing you to do this process repeatedly.
Making matters worse, I noticed frequent framerate drops when moving the camera, which is surprising considering this isn’t an intense experience on any front. What’s even more baffling is that I played the Xbox Series X version, a next-gen powerhouse, and still experienced these issues. However, Strange Scaffold has since confirmed a hotfix is in the works.
It’s such a shame because it lets down Dog Airport Game’s excellent writing. Despite being a relatively short experience, it manages to build showcase a surprising amount of character between the protagonist and Krista, giving you multiple dialogue options during those encounters.
That’s without touching on the strong sense of humor on display, which truly separates it from other games. Between encounters with Farmer Dog, Therapist Dog, Pill Dog, Rodney (who’s actually a human), Secret Bear, David Bonie, and Chad Shakespeare, to name just a few dogs, the game had me genuinely laughing on multiple occasions. However, considering its niche nature, it's likely to be hit or miss with players.
An Airport For Aliens Currently Run By Dogs Review: The Bottom Line
- Humour is excellent
- A lovely story between the protagonist and Krista
- Unlimited dog petting
- So many fetch quests
- Stuttering frame rate
- Tedious gameplay
There’s no use avoiding this fact: An Airport for Aliens Currently Run by Dogs is ultimately a meme game, though Strange Scaffold has done an excellent job on the writing. Packing a brilliant sense of humor, that fact is only made more prominent by the deliberately low-effort presentation and enjoyable dialogue.
However, those merits get significantly bogged down by tedious gameplay design, one where progression relies on endless fetch quests with little variety. You won’t need long to complete Dog Airport Game, which offers a four- to five-hour campaign, but if you plan on sticking it out, do so in short bursts.
[Note: Strange Scaffold provided the copy of An Airport for Aliens Currently Run by Dogs used for this review.]