Review – ProtoCorgi

Damn you, Kemono Games, for you have found my sole weakness. How would I say no to playing a game about an adorable corgi that shoots freaking lasers in space? Were you reading my mind? How did you know that was my Achilles’ heel? ProtoCorgi‘s premise was enough to make me want to play it. A shoot ’em up set in space where you control a robotic corgi against an army of robots, sign me the hell up. Now, there’s a difference about a premise being good enough to catch my curiosity and said game being actually good enough to warrant a recommendation. Which is also the case in here. ProtoCorgi is actually pretty damn cool.

ProtoCorgi Bark

You can literally bark BARKs at your enemies. It is so damn adorable, I want to scream.

The core idea of a shoot ’em up with cute visuals (or, as they call it, a cute ’em up) isn’t new. Visuals alone aren’t enough to make a shooter be worth your while. Games like Squad 51 vs. the Flying Saucers or the idiotic Rainbows, Toilets and Unicorns are proof that substance is the most important aspect of a shooter, regardless of how unique you presentation might be. So let me clarify that, whilst I loved ProtoCorgi‘s presentation (I mean, come on, pixelated corgis with freaking lasers), that wasn’t all that it had to offer. It’s by no means a revolutionary game in terms of its gameplay, but it’s fun, and at the end of the day, fun is what matters the most.

ProtoCorgi is a very simple bullet hell shooter. No complex mechanics in display. No meandering. Your objective is to simply shoot everything in sight with what few buttons are used to make things in front of you disappear. You can either constantly tap the X button to literally bark the letters B, A, R and K towards your foes (it’s so god damn adorable I want to die) or just hold down said button to unleash a constant stream of whatever overpowered shot you’re currently equipping. Equipment does stack up, so you can basically have access to like five shots at once if you don’t die and lose your equipment. This is, by the way, a shooter where you don’t have an HP bar. One hit and your pup is toast.


A ton of crap onscreen, and the framerate never stutters. Good job, Kemono Games!

It is a very hard game, despite the adorable presentation, which isn’t limited solely to cute visuals (the MIDI soundtrack is excellent, and the game even boots up to the sound of a J-Pop tune). ProtoCorgi is a game that does want you to play it over and over again until you’re able to beat it properly. You have limited lives and continues, so the game isn’t entirely, uh, “wholesome” as its looks might suggest. In my opinion, that wasn’t an issue. It is tough, but also fair. It also showers you with upgrades and weapons, so it’s not like the battle is completely one-sided.

There is more to ProtoCorgi than its shooting gameplay loop, though. A first for the genre, it does feature… a level creator. Yep. Granted, it feels more like a creator of enemy waves and gauntlets than a tool to properly design a level, which is a consequence of the genre itself, but it is something that will result in exponentially extending the game’s lasting appeal. That, however, remains to be seen. I didn’t think that the editor’s UI and controls were intuitive at all, feeling completely confusing. That won’t stop a small and dedicated percentage of players from supplying us with brand new levels further down the line. They always do.

ProtoCorgi Editor

ProtoCorgi’s editor is a bit confusing to use. That being said, it is quite deep, and I’m sure someone else will be able to come up with many levels for the community.

If ProtoCorgi was merely a cute ’em up with decent controls, that would have already been enough to make me recommend it to fans of shooters in general. It’s just that good. Thankfully, there’s more to it than just adorable pups with fricking lasers. The inclusion of a level editor makes it stand out from its peers. It’s not the most intuitive of editors, but I’m sure someone else will get a hold of it and exponentially extend this game’s lasting appeal. And for the minuscule price being asked for the complete package, ProtoCorgi is a no-brainer. Who’s a good shooter? Yes you are!


Graphics: 8.0

It’s adorable, it’s colorful, and it runs well even when there are ten trillion enemies onscreen.

Gameplay: 7.5

One of the simplest shoot ’em up controls out there. There’s not a lot of meandering in ProtoCorgi: just shoot everything in sight. It works. The level editor controls and interface, on the other hand, don’t work as well.

Sound: 8.0

Not only is the MIDI soundtrack great, but we are also treated to a fantastic J-pop song during the game’s intro cutscene. It’s way more (and way better) than initially expected.

Fun Factor: 8.5

If ProtoCorgi was just a good shoot ’em up starring an adorable pup, that alone would have been enough to make me recommend the game. The inclusion of a level editor elevates it over its peers, despite the very confusing interface.

Final Verdict: 8.0

ProtoCorgi is available now on PC and Nintendo Switch.

Reviewed on Intel i7-12700H, 16GB RAM, RTX 3060 6GB.

A copy of ProtoCorgi was provided by the publisher.