There are few things in life as great as man’s best friend, the faithful dog. Although this loving relationship may get pushed to the limits in the delightfully difficult Double Pug Switch, an auto-running platformer where you and your pug must zip between dimensions to survive. But is this puppy the pick of the litter? Or a bit too ruff around the edges…
You play as Otis, a pug who is on the receiving end of some experimental chemicals thanks to sabotage from a cat, and now you can zip between dimensions and must platform your way out of the world you’ve been sucked into. Double Pug Switch is a deceptively adorable game, with the cartoonish premise and cute art style betraying the crushingly difficult gameplay that awaits anyone beyond the intro. As Otis you’ll run automatically through a series of 2D levels, and must jump and switch dimensions to avoid obstacles and find collectables along the way. While the first few levels do a great job of introducing the concepts, it’s not long at all before the gameplay truly ramps.
Not only can Otis jump at different heights depending on how long you press jump, but there are more stage hazards than you might think, and hopping between dimensions starts to become a puzzle in itself. Like the best levels in Runbow, you’ll have to keep an eye on spikes and pits while also remembering to swap dimensions at the exact moment needed. You’ll be spending a lot of time learning the exact rhythm needed to succeed and, luckily, thanks to a zippy instant reload along with a few sparingly located checkpoints, you’ll be thrown right back into the action.
Now a game like this is designed to get frustrating, and can do so very quickly thanks to some absurd difficulty spikes, but both the comic art design and impressively uplifting soundtrack make it a joy to play through — while your patience remains. You’ll even be rewarded with both regular and purple coins as you explore, which can be used to unlock a wide variety of hats for your pug, with some knowing nods to pop culture references included among the whole silly collection. It helps to keep gameplay satisfying, and while I got angry at a few of the levels, I never got too frustrated to try again. The level design itself is fairly strong throughout, with enough twists and turns added as you progress to keep the later levels and bosses feeling fresh to the finish line.
There’s a couple of hiccups worth pointing out however, as on Switch your jump is assigned to A and hopping dimensions is assigned to B, with no way to change button mapping in-game. I often found it too difficult to swap between the buttons as quickly as the game demanded, so I changed the buttons in Switch settings. It feels like a strange layout to start with, given how few buttons this game demands. This also isn’t the longest game in the world, so if you’re a platforming pro you could blast through the game’s four worlds in an afternoon, but it’ll take most regular humans a lot more time to complete.
Double Pug Switch is a surprisingly devious release that may not be for everyone, but if you enjoy punishing platformers it’s worth the few bucks. It fights off frustration with some lovely presentation, and as you progress the old dog pulls out plenty of tricks to keep you entertained.
Double Pug Switch £6.99
While these punishing levels will take some patience to master, the charm and presentation help to keep you coming back. It’s a few more levels and some accessibility options short of being essential, but for platforming fans looking for a challenge this is a great purchase for the price.