Review – Phogs!

I first heard about Phogs! a few days before the day came out and was immediately craving it. I really wanted to play it, not because of anything related to its gameplay, but because it looked like the most stupidly adorable doggo game I had ever seen. The trailer showcased a colorful world you could explore by playing as a twin-headed doggy, basically as if they had removed the Cat from CatDog and replaced it with another dog, basically creating a DogDog. So stupid, I know, but hey, I’m a sucker for canine companions. I wanted to give this game a shot, even if it ended up sucking. Thankfully, it didn’t.


In any other game, this fella would definitely try to murder you.

Phogs! is a puzzle platformer that de-emphasizes jumping in favor of physics and co-op problem solution. It’s a mix between Snake Pass and Josef Fares’ Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons. You basically control both sides of one double-ended dog, either solo or with a friend. Just like in Brothers, if you decide to play the game by yourself, the left analog stick, trigger and bumper control one of dogs’ heads, while the right side of the controller does the same for the other head.

That control scheme worked like a charm in Brothers because you could freely control each human being independently. You always knew who to control with each half of the controller. Phogs! isn’t as intuitive because you are literally controlling two halves of the same creature with different inputs. Taking the dog from point A to point B is a much clunkier process than taking two people to the same spot, for instance. This results in a much more complicated control scheme than its kid-friendly presentation might suggest.


If you make one of the heads bite a pipe full of water, a stream of water will come out of the other head. This is a lot more disturbing than it should…

Thankfully, Phogs! is not a hard game. It’s not meant to be hard. Even if the controls are a bit confusing, the puzzles are simple and the stakes are quite small. They just require enough of your attention and concentration to be solved. I liked that the game does acknowledge your intelligence by not giving out the solution that easily. Everything is laid out in a very organic way, where you will learn how to play Phogs!, and take advantage of its features, with little to no interruptions.

For as much as the gameplay is interesting, albeit flawed at points, that’s not Phogs!‘ main selling point. What really shines in here is its presentation. This is one of the cutest and happiest games I have ever played, without ever feeling overly saccharine or irritating. You just can’t help but love how happy and dorky the titular DogDog is, always smiling (or taking a cute nap if you stand idle for a while), and uttering the most adorable of barks whenever you press the action button when there’s no context-sensitive objects nearby. The adorable sound effects more than make up for how repetitive the shiny happy soundtrack can feel after a while.

That doggie is so cute I want to squeeze it.

Phogs! might feature a confusing control scheme, whether you’re playing by yourself or with a friend, but it’s hard to get mad at it. Its puzzles are simple yet not exactly obvious, its stakes are so low to the point of making the entire experience very relaxing, and its presentation is so unbelievably adorable you can’t help but want to jump into the TV screen just to be able to actually pet that adorable protagonist. It’s a game that can be enjoyed by kids and adults alike, alone or not. You might not end up enjoying its gameplay loop so much, but looking at it and playing it will still make you feel good after a while. And it will also make you want to hug and squeeze your real life puppy after a play session.


Graphics: 8.0

Phogs!‘ ultra-colorful art style is way too adorable to be ignored. It also runs at a really good framerate at all times.

Gameplay: 6.0

An always co-op control scheme, whether you’re playing solo or with a friend. The thing is, while it worked flawlessly in Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, the fact both heads are connected to the same body makes the game very confusing at times, no matter how you play it. Thankfully, Phogs! is really easy and forgiving.

Sound: 7.0

The soundtrack is cute and catchy at first, but it gets tiresome after a while. The sound effects, on the other hand, never cease to sound as ridiculously cute as possible.

Fun Factor: 7.0

Phogs! might suffer from a very confusing control scheme, but it’s adorable, accessible and very forgiving. Even though its controls are awkward, it can still be a relaxing experience.

Final Verdict: 7.0

Phogs! is available now on PS4, Xbox One, PC, and Switch.

Reviewed on PS4.

A copy of Phogs! was provided by the publisher.