Not long ago we covered the news that Little Friends: Dogs and Cats is coming to Nintendo Switch but for those of you without Nintendo’s latest there is another cute canine companion who needs double the love. The Phogs made it back to EGX Rezzed 2019 and we had to go play with Red and Blue.
For those of you that missed our coverage of Phogs at last year’s EGX Rezzed, this cute canine caper is a 3D puzzle adventure, developed by Bit Loom and published by Coatsink, coming to multiple platforms in 2019. The game revolves around the escapades of a cuddly two-headed dog that needs your help to navigate the obstacles around it. In the hands of one or two players, Phogs own Red and Blue are an obvious throwback for any of us old enough to remember the heyday of Nickelodeon 90s TV and Catdog. They are also utterly adorable in their own way, even though they don’t seem to have their own theme tune just yet.
The two floppy-eared front-dogs of Phogs can be found bounding around a range of themed environments at any given moment. Play, Food, and Sleep themed levels await the two companions as they go for walkies. Each of these worlds are chocked full of oversized obstacles and odd objects, strewn around in a kind of organized chaos that neatly reflects the sporadic personality you’d imagine the main characters have. Despite the oddities, the oddly shaped aesthetic is pulled together using bold shapes and blocks of color that make the entire experience feel warm and inviting. Frankly, Phogs just looks cute.
At EGX Rezzed I got to go hands-on with a brand new slice of the game’s Dream World. Full of fluffy pillows and deeply cushioned divans, the dream world is a cool, almost relaxing stroll and, as per last year, it’s up to you to guide Red and Blue around the world. Players can stretch the two dogs, grab objects by either end and guide the two pups around the map. This is a pretty intuitive experience for new players, splitting single player controls between the action buttons and analog sticks on either side of a controller. Getting a partner involved is even more fun and the limited control set means the real fun is down to your own chaotic coordination, and not any frustration with Red or Blue.
Like the controls, puzzles in Phogs are ingenious but quite simple enough that they do not disrupt the wider experience. The small number of actions that Red or Blue can take ensure that variation comes in the form of new environmental puzzles and the endless imagination of the team crafting the game. Whether it’s dragging a ball of light along to illuminate a bridge, setting off a switch, or stretching Red around a corner, puzzles never feel too arduous. Night time naps with Phogs does, however, feel distinct from the Play World I previewed last year. Fire hydrants and dog toys give way to a different set of interactive elements. My particular preview of Sleep World had me shining light blubs down either end of my Phog, chasing alarm clocks, and dashing across imaginary bridges, dreamt up by slumbering people.
If I haven’t made it entirely clear yet, Phogs is hardly a game for hardcore point and click enthusiasts. It is a, however, a charming title that rewards you for just taking some time to relax with another human being, and the best dogdog that you could wish for. If you can’t say no to a good doggo, keep an eye out for Phogs this year. Alternatively, you can check out more about Phogs on the official website.