PHOGS! Review

Introduction

PHOGS! is a puzzle game that was developed by Bit Loom Games and Coatsink. It was released to Console, PC, and Stadia on December 3rd, 2020.

Review

You are a little sausage dog. Your mission? Have a heck of time doing something! Restoring peace to the land? Rescuing the princess? Defeating the evil Cat overlord? Finding your parents? All of those sound so daunting don’t they? Too bad literally none of them happen in PHOGS. The game is just a fun filled adventure with no real story at all! If you’ve ever watched the old show Cat-Dog, you already have a general idea of what your sausage dog looks like. Except each end is a dog head, and you don’t have any paws! But you can stretch yourself out to be an even longer sausage when the need arises!

I don’t even know where to start talking about this game. So with the lack of story to really talk about let’s just jump to the gameplay, because that’s basically what this game is all about. You take control of each side of the sausage dog, and yes I’m going to keep calling it that, to get through each puzzle filled level. But the game is simple and basic to the point almost anyone can play it! Each side of the controller corresponds to each side of the sausage dog. Thus making it a possibility to co-op the entire game with one controller! Though that would be awkward having two people hold one controller, but hey, the possibility is there! If you happen to have two controllers, you only need to use one side of the controller you use, and you only need the control stick and the triggers of your choice, to bite, and stretch and bark your way to victory! As you play through the game, you make your way through three distinct worlds. Sleep World, Play World, and Food World. At the end of each world is a “boss”. But these are more so just big puzzles with an oversized NPC in them.

Throughout the worlds of the game though, you can find little collectibles that are shaped as bones. You can then use these bones in each of the world’s, in a shop in each of them, to buy little hats for your sausage dog. The best part is, each end of the dog can have a different hat on! At one point I had each end wearing a sleeping cap. But then I switched it so one end was wearing a snorkel, and then a little beach ball instead! All the hats just somehow made it even better and sillier. There’s even a mirror in each shop that lets you cycle through all the hats you own, until you find the perfect combination for yourself.

In each of the world’s, you find yourself in a little hub area that has snake creatures that you have to find, so you can slide down their throats to the next level. Sounds weird? That’s because it is, but that’s exactly what this game is about, and it does it so well! Each world in the game has 6 levels in them, that last 15-20 minutes, depending on how you play, and end with the “boss” puzzle that I mentioned earlier. Though each entrance level is shown after you beat each level, sometimes I would be looking away, so I’d miss where it was. But that got me searching each hub and looking at everything, until I found the next level in the number sequence! Sleep World is made up of reality bending puzzles, with simple and serene music. To start though, it really helped lay the groundwork for me understanding the game. Though there’s not much to understand. Throughout the world you end up in puzzles that alter gravity, or you have to avoid the “Night Watcher” so you don’t get grabbed and flown back to your little doggy bed to go back to sleep. I will say though, that with how peaceful the music is in this world, the game almost put me to sleep a few times late at night, because it sounded like a lullaby playing in my ears for a few hours! Each level is basically the same principle though. Get from point A to point B.

Then you have the best world of the game, which is Play World! This world is where most of my laughs came from. You end up doing a culmination of silly things in the levels of this world, like playing Mini Golf, or going into arcade machines and playing something like Air Hockey! It was such a laugh riot, even though I was playing by myself, but some of these levels really showed how much easier the game would be in co-op mode, because then you’re not tasked with moving both sides of the sausage dog. There were a few times throughout these stages that I got all confused with what side of the controller controls which end of the dog, which sometimes got me a bit flustered during these fun filled sections, when it was kind of imperative to use both ends. Only because you have to move a bit faster than normal, and if you’ve ever tried using two controllers at once for a game at one point or another, whether is because you’re getting trophies or achievements, or your couch co-op partner is taking a pee and you want to get to the next checkpoint, you’ll understand my pain. But for the most part, I just stuck to using one end all the time if I could.

Last but not least you have the weirdest world, which is Food World. This world didn’t really have too many unique features in it, but it was silly in its own right. You had instances of moving a minecart when juicing an orange, or helping a giant squid make a chocolate lake! Yes, that last one is real. I have pictures to prove it. Some of the puzzles here though require you to really think on their solution. Even now I’m not sure if I did some of the puzzles the “right” way, but I surely got through them. So I guess maybe you can disregard what I said earlier about this world not having anything unique about it, and say it was very thought heavy for puzzle solutions. Or you could not count that as unique.

I have to say, when it comes to aesthetics, this game has it covered. If you’ve looked at the screenshots so far, you can see how vibrant the game is. Along with the vibrant settings and popping colours, the game also has a lot of fun bouncy music to go along with the tone of it, not taking itself seriously. This really helped keep the laughs. The last level had a nice quiet and solemn tune to it, that really helped you feel that the adventure was coming to an end. I didn’t want it to end if I’m being completely honest. But the level did have a section that made playing in single player an absolute nightmare! But as you’re walking down that final hallway, the game switches back to its fun and bouncy upbeat music, which made me happy and smile as the game was ending. So the game really really knows how to set the tone with every little thing it does!

Rating

Rating: 9 out of 10.

Pros:

  • Fun Vibrant Colours
  • Silly Themed World’s
  • A Whole Level Of Arcade Games
  • Hats! Lots And Lots Of Hats

Cons:

  • Single Player Controls

Summary

I loved this game. I loved literally everything about it. I’m so happy I decided to try it on GamePass when I saw it. I would easily buy this again, just to support the developers, whether I play it again or not. The popping and vibrant colours were beautiful, the game had me laughing or smiling 95% of the time I played it, the world’s were great and funny. I can’t recommend this game enough. Especially if you have someone to co-op the entire thing with, or you have kids to play this with. You have to buy this game. It’s so simple and basic that almost anyone can play it. If you play single player though, just be ready for your fingers to trip over themselves.

Go and play one of the weirdest, and best puzzle games out there. Go now. Don’t even think about it. Just buy it. Do it.

Game & Developer Information

Developer Website: Bit Loom Games
Developer Socials: Twitter
Publisher Website: Coatsink
Publisher Socials: Twitter
PSN Store Links: £19.99/€24.99 Europe / $24.99 North America
Trophy Information: 13. 40-platinum 1 / Gold 5 / Silver 12 / Bronze 13

PHOGS! | Launch Trailer

Published by oniwalker

Co-owner of NodeGamers(dot)com. Reviewer and Guide Writer. I'll play just about anything as I cry about my backlog!

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