Wild Dogs is a run-and-gun game that draws inspiration from Konami’s classic Contra series. It is a visually pleasing game with shades of monochromatic green and is reminiscent of a detailed Game Boy title. Players take on the role of Frank Williams and his dog companion, Teddy, in a fight against alien hordes through several missions. The game is packed with superb bosses, pacy vehicle pursuits, and a range of weapons from homing missiles to flamethrowers.
The first mission is relatively easy, but the screen can get busy and requires a keen eye until the next health drop. There is a time limit, so players can’t camp and spam re-spawning enemies for point-based life extensions. Cute sections where Frank waits while players lead Teddy through tight tunnels littered with traps add to the game’s appeal. At one point, Teddy even jumps into a giant mech, which adds a nice touch and keeps things interesting.
The game gets quite challenging by the third mission, and certain smaller enemies could die a little more quickly to keep things flowing at a steady pace. However, developer 2ndBoss understands what makes Contra tick and has made a game that is both fun and full of creativity. The bosses look fabulous and have rewarding patterns to learn and overcome.
Although the game has set pieces and a great retro soundtrack, it does not have the scale of Konami’s finest. The monochromatic colour scheme can make it difficult to discern incoming fire amidst all the action, but players have a generous life bar. They need to move more cautiously and abandon their full-on, gung-ho attitude—at least until they have the lay of the land.
Players can change the Game Boy-inspired colour palette with the shoulder buttons on the fly, and the CRT and filter settings have scanlines and curvatures for old-school enthusiasts to toy with. Despite the bullet-soaking and clunky vehicle sections, Wild Dogs is a Contra tribute that hits all the right notes and will satisfy any fan of Konami’s series or retro gaming.