Many years ago, in the mid-2000s, an animated series aired on Nickelodeon: Catdog. In this series, a Siamese animal with four legs, half dog, half cat, had to put its two heads together to achieve its goals. PHOGS! shows us a similar protagonist, both in morphology and limitations. Bit Loom Games puts us in the skin of a strange being with an elongated body, such as a snake, but with two dog heads, one at each end. Summarizing, roughly, what the title proposes, we can determine that it is about a puzzle adventure that, although it can be played individually, is designed to be done cooperatively with another person. So, let’s see how this game has turned out.
A WOW world
PHOGS! takes us to Phoggyveso, an idyllic world in which everything is related to what dogs like or, as they are known in this place, “phoggos”. This universe is divided into three different realities, the World of Food, the World of Nap and the World of Games. To complete the adventure of these strange animals, we have to overcome the 24 different phases in which these worlds are divided, all of them with their own characteristics, such as different mechanics or a specific visual section for each one of them; just by looking at the color palette we quickly identify the world we are in. Something that gives personality to the game in general.
Worse alone than in bad company
As we say, the protagonist is a peculiar animal, a dog without legs and with a head at each end of the body. Each head will move independently, each one being able to carry out specific actions; bark, bite, jump or stretch, but always with the limitation of the size of the creature’s own body. And here comes the most important point when it comes to playing, how do we do it? If we play individually, we control the blue half of the body with the left Joy-Con and the red half with the right. If we decide to play cooperatively, the distribution of controls will be identical, with the exception that each half is handled by a different person.
Although, as we say, it can be played both ways, in fact, most of my game I have had to do individually, it is noticeable from leagues away that This game is designed to be played cooperatively, and that this is the way it is most enjoyed. When playing it, you only need a time to adapt to a different control than usual; we have to use an extra stick to move half a character. Although adapting is not complicated, it is something that collides, even advancing a lot in the game, and that does not “suffer” if we play with another person. As well as the solving of the puzzles, which we will talk about below, designed to use both heads in all of them, so completing them as a couple provides a feeling of extra satisfaction.
The complexity of PHOGS !, on which it is based and offers us a challenge when it comes to overcoming the levels, are its puzzles. Although there are small sections of a certain platform, their weight relative to the puzzles is negligible. These obstacles are solved by making use of the few mechanics that we mentioned at the beginning, barking, biting, stretching and jumping, but which, after being pushed to the limit, turn out to give variety and creativity to the title. For example, biting can be used to grab and move an object, get hooked on something or, special mention to this mechanism, attach a head to a water outlet, expel it through the other, turning our dog into a hose. Each zone takes more advantage of some mechanics while giving different functionality to others, but as we say, carried out in a very intelligent way so that they do not end up being repetitive.
For their part, puzzles, in terms of resolution, usually have a more or less marked solution, which we can guess from the beginning and whose complication lies in how to get there. Something very positive that we can see at this point is that, although there are puzzles with a fixed solution, others are more flexible, giving us several possibilities when solving them. On the other hand, the levels have hidden collectibles, in the form of bones, which we can then use in the store to unlock different aspects for the heads. Hats, mustaches, masks and other elements that allow us to customize the protagonist, as well as promote the replayability of the levels to achieve them all.
Nice to say enough
Though, if something stands out PHOGS! It is in its artistic section. Graphically it is a simple, but beautiful game. A palette of pastel and striking colors that, when used together, give life and personality to the different worlds. In addition, the modeling of the characters, the shape of the places and locations, with a touch, in a certain way, childish, is not even painted for the experience they propose to us. The sound section, along the same lines, but a little step below, accompanies us well when solving the puzzles, with a calm and relaxing tone, but which, in this case, does not stand out too much.
PHOGS! – Nintendo Switch. A beautiful adventure to live in company
We can conclude that PHOGS! is a great puzzle game that, although it can be enjoyed individually, it is not recommended to do it this way. The game is designed and is much more rewarding if we play it in cooperative mode, either locally or online, while we talk with the other person at the controls. The puzzles, which scale in difficulty, as well as the possibilities of resolution, make this a game to consider if we are looking for an experience to play with another person and that does not take us many hours, its duration is about 8 or 10 hours, depending on whether we want to stick to completing the levels or getting all the elements.
We have analyzed PHOGS! thanks to a digital code provided by Coatsink. Version analyzed: 1.1.1
A few puzzles for two, please
PHOGS! It is a great game, with a beautiful artistic section and very well thought out to play in company. Although the game can be enjoyed alone, it is by playing with another person with whom we will obtain a more complete gaming experience.
A great cooperative gaming experience
Its puzzles and mechanics are very well thought out
Graphically it is very beautiful
The sound section is below its graphics
The gaming experience for one player is noticeably lower than that for two players