By Dexter Woltman
Who doesn’t love snuggling on the couch with their favorite furry (or not-so-furry) friend? Pets play an important role in our lives, and most of the team at Brunette Games find ourselves fortunate enough to own one. Whether our pets are scratching at a toy, napping beside their owner, or—in my case—trying to crawl on my shoulder while I write, pets are a source of comfort and levity. When we’re designing ways to engage audiences with our games, we often translate that familiar sense of animal companionship into the stories we see onscreen.
Across Brunette Games’ 35 released titles and counting, we’ve featured a wide range of lovable pets. Some of our titles include a more traditional choice when it comes to our characters’ animal friends, such as Tiffany’s endearing-yet-sassy cat in Magic Tavern’s Machington Mansion. But whether it’s a cat, dog, or goat, each takes a unique role in their owner’s life.
When Justine travels to Spain in ZiMAD’s Jigsaw Puzzle Villa, she’s surprised to find the owner of the villa she’s staying in hasn’t given her cat a set name. Much like in Machington Mansion, this allows players the opportunity to name the cat themselves, building a deeper connection between the player and the animal.
Jigsaw Puzzle Villa also brings pets into the forefront of its gameplay by allowing players to solve animal-themed jigsaw puzzles. These adorable puzzles feature dogs, birds, horses, cats, and more!
Traveling beyond Spain, Justine isn’t the only woman in our games who meets animal friends abroad. Even acclaimed actor Jane Seymour sets out on a quest to rescue exotic animals with her loyal pet companions in “Into the Islands,” a time-limited event in Playtika’s Solitaire Grand Harvest.
Sometimes, the roles of pets in our games is even more involved. In Jam City’s Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff, the family dog Brian is the (literal) voice of reason. When he’s not busy ranting about politics or his superiority complex, he’s steering the dysfunctional family out of harm’s way.
Speaking of the “voice of reason,” when handyman Emilio’s feeling down in Jigsaw Puzzle Villa, his goat offers him valuable advice like “Bleat!” and “Bleaty! Bleat! Bleat!” Did we mention the goat is also nameable?
But the fun doesn’t stop there. While the goat in Jigsaw Puzzle Villa helps Emilio find himself, the dog in Sparkling Society’s City Escape helps the family in the game find… their rival? City Escape follows the Filburns' move to the countryside, where the parents quickly enter into a feud with their neighbor, Owen Timmons. When the Filburn kids—Ben and Chloe—find a lost dog, they’re surprised to discover he belongs to Owen. They return the dog to his home, marking the first step in healing the relationship between the Filburns and their disgruntled neighbor.
But not every dog who wanders feels lost. In Uken Games’ Ava’s Manor, the lead character is a mystery-seeker whose loyal dog Marlowe joins her on adventures. Marlowe’s larger-than-life presence is felt throughout the game as he points Ava in the direction of clues. Marlowe’s even voiced by our very own Andy Mack, who brings life to the dog’s many yips and barks.
Pets bring out the best in the characters we write. In a way, they’re humanizing and allow our characters to see themselves through the animals’ eyes. Whether you’re a longtime pet owner or admire animals from a distance, our games have four-legged companions for anyone to fall in love with—and these pets don’t require vacuuming loose hair! Be sure to check our Brunette Games’ expanding catalog of titles, where we continually find new animals to add to our growing roster of beloved pets.