People often say all dogs go to heaven, but as of December 3rd, 2020 what they will say is: all PHOGS! go to heaven. And once you meet rambunctious Red and boisterous Blue, you are sure to agree that heaven is the only place these goodest of puppers could ever end up.
PHOGS! is a captivating, colourful, creative couch co-op (online co-op or solo play also available) puzzle platformer game developed by Bit Loom Games and published by Coatsink Software.
The concept behind the game is that you are two dogs (Red and Blue) attached together by a stretchable belly. Plopped down into an exciting world of colour, wonder, and whimsy, Red and Blue have to work together to slip, slide, and slither around (for they have no legs) solving puzzles, collecting bones, and getting pets from the locals.
Our cute canine friends are simple to control: use the thumbstick to move around, press the L or R button to bark/bite, and hold the ZR or ZL button to make the belly stretch (which button you push depends on which head you want to control). That’s it. It sounds simple on paper, but without legs our delightful doggos are actually quite slippery, and momentum can get the better of them. Red and Blue require a good master to look after them to make sure they don’t frequently fall off the edge!
Once you complete the intro stage, you will unlock the three themed worlds: Sleep, Play, and Food. Each world has a different set of puzzle challenges that fit with the theme. For example, in the world of Sleep there are different kinds of platforms that appear or disappear depending on the lighting you may or may not provide to the area.
Each of the three worlds is visual dynamite. The colour palettes are unique and really draw the player into each world’s theme. The muted and deep blues, purples and pinks of the dream world are a nice change of pace after all the bright yellows, reds and greens of the Food world.
On top of that, each world is inhabited by an adorable group of creatures that are all different from each other. Make friends with a dancing beach-ball-dude in the world of Play, then go get pets from a sleepy teddy bear in the Dream world. Cute is seeping out of every pore in this game’s furry body!
The music for this game is on point. Heck, the soothing piano music on the pre-game selection alone screen is amazing; you’ll want to sit and meditate to it for hours. Just as each world has its own unique visual aesthetic, so too does each world have its own unique music that wonderfully encompasses the theme.
The learning curve for PHOGS! isn’t very steep. Once you get the hang of the controls it simply comes down to roaming around each area and figuring out how the world works. Make good use of the fact that you are two heads: attaching one head to a fountain of water and then stretching so that your other head becomes the hose for example.
The puzzles and platforming get more challenging as you progress further into the levels of each world, and never does it feel too easy or too hard.
While PHOGS! is fun enough on its own, this game is practically begging to be played with a friend. So, flip that Joy-Con on its side, and hand the other one to your favourite flat-mate, and prepare for co-op puzzle platforming at a whole other level.
Now that you are only controlling one doggo head, your controls become R to bark/bite and L to stretch. Pressing any of the directional buttons will send up a cute emote: happy, sad, questioning, and one other that is different depending on which world you are in at the time of its use.
If you are playing online multiplayer these emotes can be a big help, allowing you a modicum of communication with your otherwise silent partner, especially if you want to go one way, and your partner wants to go the other.
While the gameplay is simple and easy to pick up, there are subtleties to it that truly enhance the experience. Whenever you bark, your dog’s head will pop up, effectively creating a little “jump” if done while in motion. Making good use of this little skill and coordinating in multiplayer mode can help you puzzle and platform to perfection.
It wouldn’t be a puzzle/platforming game without collectibles, and PHOGS! is no exception. Each level has some hidden bones, and a hidden little blue creature for you to find. Bones are the game’s currency; this moolah will allow you to visit the hat shops located in each world and buy cute little themed hats for your best bois. From a pizza slice to a nightcap, you can adorn your dog’s noggin however you please.
PHOGS! is a game that should be in every Switch owner’s library. Playing with friends will double your fun, but the solo adventure is just as rewarding and worthwhile. Helping out the locals will make you feel all warm and gooey in your heart, when they smile, wave, and give you pets. There’s plenty of feel-good moments. So don’t hesitate: add PHOGS! to your collection.
PHOGS! Review £22.49
PHOGS! is a doggone delight to play! The enchanting music, outstanding visuals, and simple yet dynamic gameplay will keep you entertained for hours. Whether you’re looking for some soothing solo action, or want to go for walkies with an online buddy, PHOGS! will scratch your puzzle platforming itch.