There’s something so enjoyable about PHOGS! that caused me to lose many hours exploring the colourful and playful worlds Coatsink and Bit Loom Games have created. There’s no real story, few tutorials, and no explanation as to why you are essentially two heads of a dog attached by one sausage belly, but it never matters. What exists is a pleasant physics-based puzzler where you encounter tons of varied challenges that are solely solved by using the cute double-headed pooch.
There are three worlds in PHOGS!, and each one revolves around the most important pastimes in a canine’s life: sleeping, eating, and playing. You can visit each world in any order you prefer, and by using the shoulder buttons you can grab onto items as one of the two dogs, or press the trigger buttons to stretch your tummy. Both left and right buttons correspond to the different dogs, and by working out a rhythm between the two, you can solve many of the game’s puzzles.
PHOGS! allows you to play on your own, but you can also play with someone else. On the Nintendo Switch, I was controlling one dog and my daughter was controlling the other. By working together, you can complete challenges, and it became a lot of fun due to the variety of puzzles. I found it easier on my own, but that’s more down to my impatience waiting on my child to do what I needed her to do. Whichever way you decide to play, many will appreciate the comfortable difficulty level. Unlike Chasing Rats Games’ Struggling, you’re never stumped to find a solution, with a pace that welcomes both adults and children alike.
Each world in PHOGS! is completely different from the last, and as you travel between them thanks to huge worm-like creatures, you’ll have to finish mini-puzzles that feature a whole range of headscratchers. You may have to swing from one ring to the next, move giant watermelons to use as platforms, switch on lights, ride the dodgems, use the dogs like a hosepipe, and more. There’s so much enjoyment in everything you do, and thanks to the fluid movement and clever design, you’ll be captivated throughout.
If you do fail, there’s never much ground to make back up. If you fall off a platform, there’s an easy route back onto it. If you slide off the map, you are instantly loaded back into the action. Some might see this as too easy and therefore not appreciate the lack of punishment, but PHOGS! isn’t about constant failure – it’s far too nice for that. The fact that it’s aimed at families tells you everything. If you prefer a game that pushes you to tear your hair out in search of the solution, PHOGS! isn’t for you.
Besides puzzles, there’s some other stuff you can do to fill the time up between levels. Each area has a certain amount of dog bones to collect, and these can be found through helping NPCs. You may need to find vegetables to make a soup or help a farmer harvest his land. These additional challenges help to flesh out PHOGS! and give you a reason to explore every nook and cranny of the beautifully designed worlds. There is also a mysterious creature that hides throughout the levels, and you can also look out for him to give you something extra to do.
PHOGS! is a puzzler aimed at those who want a fun escape and a chilled-out experience, but also welcomes them to a place filled with happiness, charm, and comfort. Red and Blue are cute dogs that become more like your own pet as you progress through the game, with plenty of puzzles to solve and places to see. It’s a fundamental puzzler that manages to challenge you enough to keep you pressing through the colourful environments, but if you want more of a test, you might need to look elsewhere.
Chilled out experience
Little direction in the beginning
Some may find it too easy