The first game from Bit Loom Games (a team whose members can be counted on the fingers of one hand), PHOGS! presents itself as a rather original puzzle game by its concept and its bias to offer a fully cooperative adventure. Now let's see what the title is worth. Please note that this review was made with the use of the Sony PlayStation 5 version using the backward compatibility feature. Most of the time, the adventure was a co-op, but the solo was also tested during my 8 hours of play.
One doggo, two doggo?
PHOGS! makes you play two characters, or rather one, well, no, two, well ... in short. You take control of two dog heads that share a single body with no actual scenario. In fact, you will simply go from thematic level to thematic level in which it will be necessary to accomplish various objectives to be able to move on to the next one. The title thus finally goes to the essentials by focusing on pure gameplay, even if the coating adds a little extra that will appeal to young and old alike, which is perfect for sharing his passion with his children or his parents according to the point of view. When I launch the game, I have the choice of playing it alone or in pairs. In solo, the title does not shine, not at all even, since I have to manage each of the heads of my character with a different stick (the blue head with the left stick and the red head with the right stick), which becomes quickly off-putting. I strongly advise against purchasing PHOGS! if you plan to play it alone. In cooperation, on the other hand, the app takes on a whole new flavor. Possible locally as well as online, the latter brings enormous added value to the adventure which then becomes much more fun and varied since I am no longer asked to coordinate with myself, but with another person, each one then controlling a head and a half body. Note that it is possible to play two people with a single controller, as the game explains to us, but this way of doing things, fun for 2 minutes, quickly becomes unpleasant and will not replace a good old-fashioned game where everyone uses its own material.
Interesting but repetitive gameplay
In terms of game mechanics, everything is very simple. One touch to grab certain items / lightly jump (balls, levers, etc.) and another to stretch my character's body to reach distant places (among others) and that's about all there is to it. important to remember. It may seem limited, but when you add to that the management of the coordination of the two parts of the body, the whole becomes much more complex and chaotic. The level design is not left out since the situations encountered are ultimately quite diverse through all kinds of rather unique phases. Thus, I can find myself having to move around in a sphere, play a game of golf or pinball, in short, a lot of different things that bring variety. Well, it's on paper. Despite all its good intentions, PHOGS! very quickly becomes repetitive, the fault precisely with few mechanics and with situations which, if they seem different at first glance, are unfortunately approached in a very similar way. I then find myself after only a few levels to feel a certain weariness or even a deep boredom that will push us slowly but surely towards closing the application. For this reason, I recommend that you only do short sessions scattered here and there so as not to get disgusted with the title. This way of playing seems to me to be in line with the very restful and calm spirit of the game which, it should be noted, contains no enemies or game over.
A coating that pleases
As for the graphics, I am treated to something clean, probably thanks to the very refined artistic direction of the game. The colors are shimmering and the different designs give the feeling of progressing within children's drawings. The music, although in the tone of the epic, very often remains (too) discreet and will not mark the spirits. The universe is enchanting and does not contain the slightest hint of violence, which makes PHOGS! a perfect game for the whole family and for people who want to relax. Completing this journey will take you around 7 hours of playtime, and a bit more if you want to unearth collectibles (unlocking hats to equip) and complete the few actions specific to trophies and achievements. Replayability is almost non-existent, as the various puzzles can usually only be completed in one way.
PHOGS! Review, the conclusion
PHOGS! is an original and warm game that deserves my attention, as long as you have someone to share it with anyway. Its high repetitiveness might get the better of you, but only playing small sessions every now and then should give it a place of pride in your co-op and family games. PHOGS! At first, scared me a little when I first launched it solo. Fortunately, it is in cooperation that the game takes on all its meaning and it has several times, my traveling companion and I, made us laugh out loud. The adventure, without being striking, remains pleasant for the whole time, but I recommend doing small scattered sessions to avoid weariness to set in. So if you are looking to grab more information about the game, I invite you to visit the PHOGS! official website for more details. Also, you can leave a comment below about your own experience with the game, or make sure you check out my other game reviews on this blog.