Jerry Rice & Nitus’ Dog Football is a new Nintendo Wii game that sets pit bull against pit bull, makes Boxers fight it out on every snap, and finally answers that age-old question: Who would make a better running back, Balto or Lassie?
In an interview on Forbes.com, Rice says the game combines two of his loves: football and dogs. (Nitus is the name of his real dog.) As goofy as this all sounds, Jerry Rice & Nitus’ Dog Football is a surprisingly fun party game. It offers enough complexity to engage athletes, while remaining accessible and enjoyable to non-gamers—and to those who don’t want to draw up complex plays in Madden 12.
The game is structured around a basic “Play Now!” mode, in which friends can play against one another and unlock new players, fields or costumes for their dogs. You may laugh at the idea of customizing a virtual dog football player, but hold your judgment until you experience the hilarious awesomeness of a team full of Jack Russell terriers playing in safari helmets, goggles and boots. Players can also choose “Full Season” mode to play either competitively or alone against the computer.
In the game, quarterbacks are humans who are fully controllable, but every other player is a dog who can only be controlled by pointing a virtual bone where it needs to go. Although the lack of direct control is frustrating at first, it becomes hilarious as dogs stop to sniff flowers, dig holes and roll over happily like real dogs. Their random behavior allows weaker players to stay in the game and makes every game exciting until the last moment.
Despite most players’ initial misgivings, Jerry Rice & Nitus’ Dog Football is actually a really fun experience when played with friends. Bring this game to a friend’s house, and you’ll soon be laughing at its goofiness and shouting over its exciting last seconds.