Cats and dogs have always had an adversarial relationship. This relationship has been the focus of many movies, cartoons, and of course games. Double Pug Switch introduces us to an unlikely hero, Otis the lovable little pug. Otis’ arch-enemy is the troublesome Whisker the cat. The game is both published and developed by The Polygon Loft studio. Double Pug Switch is a sci-fi platformer with level of difficulties similar to the likes of Geometry Dash.
Our protagonist is an adorable puppy named Otis. He is the professor’s loyal companion. The picture would not be complete without Otis’ nemesis, and this role is filled by Whisker. Whisker shed his cute and cuddly persona to become his alter ego the evil Lord Sker. After a lab accident, orchestrated by the ever mischievous Whisker, the fabric of reality is weakened. Immediately Otis and Whisker get sucked into an alternate dimension. Otis’ molecules have become so unstable that he can now jump between dimensions at will. Otis will have to find Lord Sker and ensure that his Machiavellian plan never comes to fruition. Lord Sker wants to create a dimension where cats reign supreme but even more he is scheming to rid the universe from dogs. Otis has to stop him lest he succeeds.
The campaign is divided between five worlds and contains about 40 levels. Each world ends with a boss battle against Lord Sker. It all starts with a tutorial which is confusing instead of clarifying. First thing you are told is to use the jump button to… jump. That seems obvious to say the least but which one is the jump button? We are not told this important information. Subsequent explanations are of the same nature. Why even create a tutorial in those circumstances? Who knows. I am unsure if this is due to inexperience or it has been overlooked but it does not start well for Double Pug Switch. Eventually after a lot of experimentation and several deaths I finally figured it out and could start playing in earnest.
The graphics are two-fold. First there are the characters and the cut scenes which look like cartoons. The cut scenes are fun and engaging. They are like something out of a Sunday morning cartoon, if you are old enough to remember those. Then there are the backgrounds. They are very geometric. Each level features a main color and a different one for objects belonging to the other dimension. The artwork is nice and it does fit well with the subject matter.
The gameplay is quite simple. It is part endless runner and part platformer. The level continuously advances whether or not you are following along. In addition to that, you have to constantly switch between dimensions on the fly. When you are in one dimension, everything that belongs to the other dimension becomes translucent. Only the objects from the dimension you currently inhabit are solid. If you jump on a platform before managing to switch the dimension, you will fall right through it. It can be extremely tricky to switch in time. The two color combo lends itself perfectly to the different dimensions and makes it easy to differentiate them especially considering the fast pace of the game. The mechanics are easy to grasp but incredibly hard to master. To make it even harder the levels are interspersed with spikes. Some levels will mix it up with power-ups. As an example, one of the power-ups consists of a “coin” you receive that shrinks Otis so he can get through a small tight spot.
The levels are meant to be difficult. The game subscribes to the latest trend where the more difficult the game the better. You are meant to die again and again… and again. In fact every time you die, you get shown how far in the level you got with a marker and the length you have reached. I like a good challenge. That in itself is not the issue. The complexity here comes from the mix of both the speed at which the level advances and the dimension switching. If that is not enough there are spikes located all around. When you combine all those features, it becomes a chore to get through the levels. Sometimes there appears to be some lagging between hitting the controls and the character reaction. This makes it nearly impossible to hit some platforms. Having to redo the same bit over and over through no fault of your own feels unnecessarily punishing. It is mostly trials and error, a lot of errors.
A game that offers challenges is a good thing, but this game’s degree of difficulty is such that it becomes exasperating at times without giving you anything in return. There are coins to collect that can be redeemed for hats. Although the hats are cute and collecting them might provide some enjoyment, they are purely cosmetic and offer nothing further. Double Pug Switch tries to be harsh and succeeds by creating an overly hard game that has few redeeming qualities. The level design was overloaded and hectic. The levels themselves are very repetitive and uninspired. Each level is a repeat of the preceding one with a different color scheme. I would not recommend Double Pug Switch in its present state.
Written by Vee