Double Pug Switch is a challenging and charming sidescrolling platformer and the first game developed by The Polygon Loft. You play as Otis, the pug protagonist as he runs his way through dimensions to stop Mr Whiskers. Otis and Mr Whiskers are sucked into a dimensional portal and dropped in an alternate version of the lab.
Otis is trapped between universes, existing in both at the same time and gains new dimension-hopping powers. Mr Whiskers, however, fractures into the evil Sker, set on dominating our world with a cat army. From there, Otis embarks (sorry but I had to fit in at least one pun) on his interdimensional quest to stop Sker from bringing catastrophe (okay, I’m done) to our world.
Are Two Pugs Better Than One?
The controls are extremely simple to grasp but difficult to master, requiring precise timing and accuracy. You have a jump button which and a dimensional shift button that allows you to pass through obstacles with corresponding colours. The most important command of all, of course, is the dedicated bark button. As you progress through the levels, you will encounter power-ups to let you reach new areas and new pathways. At the end of each dimension, you’ll face off against Sker in a Sonic-style boss encounter as you dodge his attacks during the chase.
The levels are well-designed, charming and colourful. As with most platform-runner games, there are several paths to choose, each with their own obstacles to overcome. This adds to the replayability by offering you a chance to experiment with your route and can give you an alternative if one section is that bit too tricky. Levels are great looking and colour plays a big part in the visuals. You’ll need to use Otis’ dimension shift power to get past certain obstacles like walls and spikes and to land on new platforms.
Despite the cute characters and visuals, the game can be quite unforgiving. Jumps and dimensional shifts have to be timed perfectly, which can lead to some very frustrating runs. I found that some of the checkpoint markers are poorly placed, which meant you have to be prepared the moment the level resets. You can also run straight past checkpoints which really amps up the pressure, especially after a particularly challenging section.
The soundtrack is fantastic and it fits the atmosphere of each level very well. It can really help you to find your jumping/shifting rhythm. If you happen to get stuck in a death loop, you will end up hearing the same 3 seconds of the song repeated again and again until you finally reach the next checkpoint. Despite the nightmarish frustration these loops cause, there is a very satisfying feeling from getting past the challenges.
Worth The Challenge
There are 40 levels in total, so the length really depends on your skill level with this genre. If you’re like me, there’s a long and admittedly cute challenge ahead of you. If you’re not, you will likely clear it within a few days. You can unlock a variety of hats for Otis giving a level of replayability in Double Pug Switch for collectors. And pug fans.
While Double Pug Switch does a lot of things right, it doesn’t push boundaries in any way. It feels more like the developers wanted something safe to release as their first title. This is a respectable choice and you can see that the mechanics were chosen with care, opting for the tried and true mechanics that have entertained us for years. You can buy Double Pug Switch for around €8.00 on Mac/PC/PS4/XBONE/Switch and on the App Store.
There’s a lot to like about Double Pug Switch. I just can’t shake the feeling that it’s a mobile game ported to other devices. Considering the fact that the PlayStore and Appstore have hundreds of near-identical games (mostly for free), I really would hesitate to pay any more for it.