More than 20 years have passed, and we still don't know how can CatDog's body function. In PHOGS!, a colorful indie game by UK developer Bit Loom, you get to play as a similar, limbless two-headed creature, although this time both heads are that of a dog.
Who's a Good Doggo?? You Are! And You Too!
Blue and Red are two sides of the same coin, or more literally, two ends of the same dog. And what three things do dogs love the most? To eat, to sleep, and to play. Maybe that's the reason why you have to visit the Food, Sleep, and Play world in search of golden bones and hidden creatures called boingles. PHOGS! is all about making Red and Blue work together and solving puzzles, but sometimes that's easier said than done.
Given the nature of this creature, you need to coordinate your moves before being able to solve anything, but the fixed camera and Red/Blue weird physics make it all much more complicated than it should be. If you're playing alone, it will take you some time to get used to controlling both heads; if you're playing with someone else, then communication will most definitely be the key to success...
Do Yourself a Favor and Find Someone to Co-Op With
For obvious reasons, couch co-op is what we recommend the most, but PHOGS! also includes an online option for those that might not have a player 2. That's an amazing addition considering there are a lot of similar games that could benefit from an online mode, and yet they force you to co-op locally, which is not always an option. Kudos to the devs for not overlooking that! Sure, using emotes to let someone know what you're trying to do or what you need them to do is frustrating, to say the least... but that's another discussion.
If you play alone, controlling Red and Blue is challenging at first, but the puzzles start to feel predictable and easy. If you play online, everything depends on how well you and the other player understand each other. If you play with a friend next to you, puzzles will be easy to understand, but can you both work together and actually solve them all?
In PHOGS!, most puzzles are solved by grabbing items, stretching to connect point A with point B using Blue/Red as a rope or hose (yes, they can use their body to water plants further away from the water source), pushing a ball onto a certain platform, or stuff like that.
Another thing we like about this game is that all levels double as a time trial, so you can always go back for a new record. Rather than rushing to the end of a level, though, your primary objective is to explore everything, finding all hidden boingles and, most importantly, all golden bones. In our opinion, Play World is the one that makes better use of puzzles and minigames, but all three are equally charming in their own way.
I Did It For Customization Reasons...
Why do we care that much about golden bones, you ask? Well, that's an easy one. Golden bones are used to buy new headgear and customize Red and Blue!
Some might say beating all 3 bosses is more important, but we all know customization is the true endgame. And if PHOGS! is already cute enough as it is, imagine how much you can improve it by making these dogs rock all kinds of cool hats and headbands!!
To be brutally honest with you all, we love how this game looks, but its puzzle-solving is not always that effective... or fun. Frustration aside, it's a fresh take on cooperative platforming, and we can see a lot of people enjoying it (especially kids!), but it seems obvious to say that PHOGS! would have benefited a lot from an actual plot, more interactive characters, and better physics.
If you like how it looks and can't miss a chance to play as the cutest two-headed dog in video game history, get yourself a copy of PHOGS!, available on all current-gen platforms!