Phlop around in Phogs, the phunny dog physics game.
Phogs can be aptly described as the funny physics dog game. That’s what it is at its core. It’s funny; it’s physics-based; it’s got dogs. What stood out to me in my time with the Coatsink-published/Bit Loom Games-developed project at PAX East 2020 was how Katamari it all felt. It’s evident the developers were inspired by Keita Takahashi’s previous works, whether it’s the legendary Katamari Damacy, the recent Wattam, or the underrated Noby Noby Boy. Phogs nimbly carries the spirit of those quirky games forward into a daffy co-op game with loads of potential whether you’re an experienced gamer or playing with your kid.
The main character in Phogs is a dog with two heads (think CatDog but DogDog). In single-player, each analog stick controls a side of the good pup and in the glorious co-op, each player controls a head. Movement is frantic, with the only core abilities being biting (for grabbing) and stretching. Precision can be key for certain puzzles, but at least early on, the worlds and levels emphasize playfulness over difficulty. Harder challenges are baked into the experience, but the core progression is ideally meant for all ages.
Phogs is broken up into three primary worlds, each focusing on an element of dogness. There’s a play area, a sleep area, and a food area. They all have hub worlds with several levels nestled inside. The three areas also culminate in a boss battle, all of which appear to be clever puzzle platforming challenges that test all the mechanics introduced in the preceding levels.
During my behind-closed-doors demo at PAX East, I played the tutorial and the first level in the play area of a mostly-finished build of the game (it’s aiming for a June launch). The world was vibrant and colorful, and the puzzles were cute and charming. This is the kind of game that exudes good humor with its music and scenery. One of the goals in the final few months of development is to enrich the world. During my playtime, Coatsink’s Kane Forrester pointed out a few flourishes that were recently put in place, like some more insects and wildlife adorning certain areas.
I also grinned and giggled a lot when playing the demo of Phogs. That’s a good indication of a strong playground game in the Keita Takahashi/Katamari wheelhouse. I knew of this game before PAX East, but this was my first time playing it. I really anticipate playing Phogs because of the cheerful and cute experience I had with it. Whether I play it myself, romp around in it with my child, or coax a friend to engage in some funny dog physics, Phogs is assuredly on my radar.