The goal of The Dog Island is to find a certain flower on a distant island which may be able to cure your sick sibling. In order to progress in the game, you must learn scents and help dogs in need. For your troubles, you will earn Woofs which can be used to buy items to accessorize your character.
Scents are divided into six categories:
As you learn new scents, they will be added to the Scent List in the Memo section of the menu. In your Scent List you can see the items you have collected along with a short description. The percentage of all scents in the game which you have collected is also tracked. There are many ways to learn new scents:
- Sniffing and digging up items
- Collecting fish and bugs
- Receiving items
- Being taught new scents by other dogs
A good portion of the game is spent sniffing around to find items or dig them up. You do so by using the button. At the bottom of the screen are your scent locators, which consist of icons inside circles surrounded by series of ever-larger ovals. The icon in the center will either be a question mark if you haven't already learned the scent you are tracking, or a picture of the item. As you more directly face your target, the circle in your locator will grow bigger. Conversely, if you face away from the item, it will get smaller. The closer you get to the item, the more ovals around your locator will fill up. Using these two data points in conjunction allows you to determine the heading and proximity.
For normal items, such as flowers, food or certain other items like Medicinal Herbs, the locator is called the Item Meter, and will be surrounded by yellow orbs. You also have a second locator, called the Search Meter, for when you are following the scent of a Special Item. If you are looking for a Special Item which can be anywhere in the area, the orbs around the meter will be blue. If you are following a scent trail to the item, then the orbs are pink.
Throughout The Dog Island, and on Captain El Dorado's ship, there are piers from which you can fish. You will be pulling from a unique population of fish at each pier. In addition, some fish can only be found at certain piers. To fish, move to the end of the pier and press the button when the "Fish" command appears. Your character will drop a line into the water and wait for a bite. When you get a fish on the hook, a bar will appear across the bottom of the screen with a smaller orange bar overlayed on top of it. The size of the orange bar corresponds with the size of the fish.
The fish will attempt to pull away from you by tugging on the line. As the fish gets close to breaking the line and escaping, the orange bar will start to move to the left. When it reaches the red portion at the end, you will lose your catch. To avoid this outcome, pull up on the as though it were a fishing pole. The harder you snap it up the more force your character will give in tugging in the line. As you pull on the line, the orange bar will move in the other direction towards the right side of the fishing meter. You will also lose the fish if you pull too hard and the orange bar makes it into the red portion on the right hand side.
As you run through The Dog Island, you will see various bugs in the areas outside of town. Some bugs, such as butterflies and dragonflies, will fly through the air, while others will be on trees or on the ground, like cicadas and ladybugs, respectively. To catch a bug, simply approach it and press the button when the "Catch" command appears. Catching a bug requires facing in the right direction and correctly timing your button press.
The bug meter is a black bar across the bottom of the screen with a smaller red bar overlayed and a blue timing line moving back and forth. The timing line moves within a portion of the bug meter in the center and the red bug location bar moves across the entire width. The goal is to get the red bug location bar into the center of the bar and press the button to stop the timing line while it is over the red bar. Some bugs move very fast, and their location bar can flit across the bug meter quickly, while others are stationary. Additionally, the timing line will move with varying degrees of celerity.
Use the pawprint cursor on the screen to face toward the bug, bringing the red bar into the center of the bug meter. When the timing line crosses paths with the location bar, press the button to stop it. If the timing line stops on top of the location bar, you will catch your bug. If not, you will return to normal gameplay and can try to catch the bug again. All bugs except for beetles also have a 15 second countdown during which you must catch the bug.
The other way to learn new scents is by being taught. Your quests throughout the game will generally center around finding a certain item. Many of the dogs who you will be helping will teach you the scent of the item you must find.
The bulk of the game will be spent helping dogs in various parts of The Dog Island. Some missions are mandatory and will move the story along, while others are optional or semi-optional. A semi-optional missions occurs when you need to help a certain amount of dogs before you can proceed, and the number of dogs needing help is greater. This means you get to choose which quests you will perform, although you are still required to choose at least one. All your missions are recorded in the Diary in the Memo section of the menu. In this guide, diary entries that are bold and in blue are mandatory while entries that are bold and in orange are optional.
In the beginning of the game you will be directed to the dogs that give you missions. Later, you can go into the Map through the menu and press to sniff out dogs that need help. This can only be done on the world map, not the local map. To cycle between the two maps, press the or buttons. If there are potential quests, a balloon will pop up over the corresponding area on the map. Move from place to place with the buttons to see the names of the areas.
When you come to a dog who has a quest for you, the dog will have a thought balloon with a question mark in it over its head. Walk up to the dog and a cutscene may start automatically. If not, press the button when the "Talk" command appears.
If at any time you are unsure of how to complete the mission you are currently on, or if you want to check whether you are on a mission, you can check that quest's entry in your Diary in the Memo section of the menu. Flip pages in your Diary with the and buttons, and press to see the contents of an entry. Completed missions will have pink stars next to them , while open missions will have nothing next to them or a blue, stylized paw icon . The paw icon appears when you have collected the item you were tasked with getting, but still need to deliver it.
Throughout the game you will find, earn or buy different accessories to customize your character. There are three types of accessories:
Hats range from casual caps to fancy tophats, and from 10-Gallon cowboy hats to miscellaneous hats like a crown or sombrero. Glasses are mainly just glasses, although there is also an eyepatch and a monocle. The rest of the accessories are worn either around your neck, on your arm or in your mouth. This entails items like scarves and neckties, backpacks and bracelets.
Each village on The Dog Island has an accessory shop, where you can buy new items. Each shop has certain items which are unique to that village. In addition to items you can purchase, there is also an accessory creation system where you can make your own new products. In Malshige's Shop in Pupsville, talk to Malshige's salesdog, Hope, to get a list of items you can make and the components in each one.
Also in each village is an item shop where you can purchase medicine that will heal you and food that can either warm you up or cool you down. Depending on which village you are in, you will be able to purchase different items, much like with accessory shops. For example, in Gigili Village you will be able to buy Obaba's Antidote for curing poison, and Ice Cream for cooling you down if you are out in the desert and about to overheat.
The currency used in the game is the Woof. You will earn Woofs from completing quests for dogs, and for giving items you find to different collectors. There are flower, food, fish and bug Collectors and each one will give you one Woof for every item you bring them after the first one, which goes into their Collector Book. You will also spend Woofs to travel around the island when warping with Boris, who charges one Woof every time. Some other places you can spend your Woofs are at the Inns around the island (1 Woof per night), and at Item Shops and Accessory Shops.