Doggie Dash
| Doggie Dash

Mobile phones were made for time management games, but that doesn’t mean developers can sit back and take it easy on themselves by churning out one mad-dash game after another.

Here you’re put in charge of a busy pet grooming parlour. A pet grooming parlour? That such a thing exists is baffling enough, but one that’s too busy for the staff to cope without dashing around the place like a whippet on speed? It's a bizarre concept, but it's not the first mobile game to dabble in the realms of surreality, and is presumably aimed at pet-owning glamour girls and the Paris Hilton fan club.

The cats and dogs are brought in for one of three jobs - a bath, grooming and accessories (no, I don’t know how you accessorise a cat either) - or any combination of these pet pampering appointments.

Your task is to collect the animal from the counter, put it in the bath, take it to the grooming station, ‘accessorise’ it, then give it back to the owner as quickly - and therefore happily - as possible.

Where Doggie Dash has got things right is in the controls. Each parlour might not be fully kitted out ('kitted' out - that's funny), but it’s always divided up into nine stations, which relate to the buttons on the keypad.

Going from the counter to the station at the top left of the screen is as simple as pressing ‘0’ followed by ‘1’. You can pile on the commands as the shop busies up, which does add some great tension and the ability to easily (though feverishly) manage your parlour.

The animals tell you what jobs they want doing by way of an icon system, which is often very difficult to read. It’s not that the icons themselves are the problem (they’re colour coded to match the different stations), so much as them being obscured by the other animals and graphics cluttering up the screen.

And once you’ve picked up an animal, you’re stuck with it, even if it turns out that the action you expected to be performing was a matter of confusion with another pet.

The control system is a complete success, and transplanted into a different time management game with a far neater screen it would make for a tremendously entertaining game. Doggie Dash falls short on these points, however, making it more of a mobile mongrel than a pocket pedigree.

Doggie Dash

A limited concept that'll only appeal to teenage glamour girls, coupled with a cluttered screen and obscured commands means that the excellent control system fails to salvage this game from frustration and confusion. The makings of a first class time management game are buried within, but no amount of canine shampoo can uncover it