Double Pug Switch released on multiple platforms on October 22nd and is developer The Polygon Loft‘s debut release title. The story for this game is quite simple. The three main characters are; Otis, the pug who is our playable character; the Professor, who seems to be dealing with advanced quantum physics; lastly, we have Whiskers. The beginning cutscene shows that our story begins with Whiskers, just a normal cat, pushing some vials of goo off of a lab table and they mix, resulting in a concoction that opens a portal to another dimension. Both Otis and Whiskers were sucked into the unknown. Whiskers just so happens to be the villain of the game, but we can quickly discover that it’s not our Whiskers, but rather a different dimensional version named Lord Sker. Definitely a villainous name. It’s up to Otis to save Whiskers and he must advance through some difficult platforming to keep up with Lord Sker, as he travels through different dimensions seeking complete world domination to rid Earth of all dogs.
The gameplay for Double Pug Switch is simple to pick up and challenging to master. The controls are very simple. “A” is our jump button and the duration we hold the jump button affects the distance Otis jumps. Jumping is the hardest to perfect as you need timing to be correct to avoid landing on some deviously well-placed spikes.
This game is a forced moving side scroller and you must use “B” to switch in and out of different dimensions to jump on different colored platforms and avoid different colored spikes. Switching will change Otis and the platforms he can stand on, if they are not the correct color he will fall to his death. Otis only ever has to deal with two differently colored dimensions at any given point in the game, so the game could have been much harder than it already is.
I noticed that when switching to a different dimension during a jump, I would sometimes lose momentum and I would drop like a brick, so the goal is to switch before a jump, but that always isn’t possible in time.
The game does have gold coins throughout a level and also has purple coins that act like collectibles. They are currency just like the gold coins, but are far rarer since there are only a few purple coins per level. The purple coins are scattered through the level and can be obtained through multiple playthroughs of a level if you missed one, and typically take you to a harder platforming section than the basic path. If you obtain a purple coin you missed, you have to finish the level again for it to save.
Very early on, the developers use the purple coins to teach the player that you can shift into a different dimension and it will push you above the platform if you’re not too far below the centre. Some of the purple coins provide an extreme challenge to master a level and some in later levels just left me confused how to obtain them. Overall, both types of coins, gold and purple, can be used to buy different hats for Otis to wear. All the Hats are available from the start, but are separated into the four different dimensions, or “Worlds,” Otis will play through each with seven levels per world. The purple coin hats do look cooler than the gold coin hats, but there is a large variety for Otis to collect.
As I played through this game my biggest issue was that the Switch button being mapped to B made it harder to master jumping and switching together with the same hand. Personally, I mapped my B button to LB using the Xbox accessories settings to make this game easier as it was difficult to quickly press both being so close and made me feel like I was just spamming buttons too quickly. Sadly, there isn’t an in-game option for different control schemes, but spacing out the controls did help me progress further in the game.
The level design is meant to be difficult and the gameplay reminded me of The Impossible Game with the added feature of different dimensional platforms and spikes that Otis has to switch to the right color to stand on or to avoid. Checkpoints are scattered throughout each level except boss runs. Boss runs are also side scrolling sections where Otis must avoid being hit by Lord Sker in his flying ship equipped with a laser and missiles.
As you progress, you’ll come across power ups that can make Otis shrink, or give him a speed or jump boost. These power ups make the game harder to master as it can be hard to see what type it is at first, with trial and error though we can remember which ones to avoid or grab. There are also power fields that Otis is forced to run through and this forces Otis to switch and can ruin a run if not quick enough to switch back to the correct color. The power ups and electric fields that forces Otis to switch add more challenge to the levels and the game progressively gets harder as you jump through each world.
The sound quality for Double Pug Switch is nothing extraordinary, but each World that Otis travels to does have unique music for those particular levels and the main theme is also a quality song. The only issue with the music is when playing a level, the music will reset if you die and are sent back to your previous checkpoint. This feature can make certain parts of the music annoying to hear repeatedly if struggling. There is no audible dialogue in the game other than Otis barking which can be on command whenever the player presses “Y.”
The graphics for Double Pug Switch aren’t groundbreaking, however it’s exactly what it needs to be. The color themes do change as you progress through different worlds just as the music changes. The platforms are distinctly colored and use colors that aren’t similar looking to make it easier to look at visually for quick responses to help make it through to the next checkpoint. The overall look of the game is cute, I can’t deny that; Otis comically has googly (Jiggly) eyes, Lord Sker’s design took the cute factor away from Whiskers and has a metallic eyepiece and looks like a cyber cat from the future ready to fix a timeline. The professor is the most normal looking, but each character has been designed accordingly to help the game’s aesthetic of looking like a cute, although goofy, game. I personally liked the various hats that Otis could wear. It helped draw attention away from his eyes.
The longevity of Double Pug Switch is entirely up to the player, I know personally I’ll be making my way back to it to try and finish up some of the later levels. It’s truly a tough game to master, it takes persistence and practice. Since these levels are scripted and side scrolling the length of time it will take for each player will vary upon their skill level and determination. I have a few achievements left in the game and have only played for about four to five hours. I don’t see myself putting more than 15 hours into the game for all achievements either. I will be returning every now and then to try and make some progress as that is most likely the best way to play a game like this. If you get too frustrated, it’s best to put down the controller and return with a cooler head. The achievements aren’t too hard and all purple coins are not required for all achievements. The hardest achievement in the game is simply just beating all the levels and boss runs.
Double Pug Switch is a challenging side scrolling platformer that requires good hand eye coordination for some quick responses. Although, very similar to The Impossible Game, the game does have a unique twist of adding the dimensional switching power as well as power ups and timed distance jumping. It also added its very own unique story, however comical it may be. I believe this game is a fun side scroller and shouldn’t be missed if you’re a fan of the genre. The current control mapping does make it harder, but can be worked around using console Accessory settings to remap controls for Xbox to however you may prefer. This game is appropriately priced for what it is and the amount of time of enjoyment you will get out of the game. The design is meant to be a cute, yet challenging game, to pick up and put down as you please and I know I will make my way back to finish Otis’ adventure.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version. Game provided by the publisher.Want to keep up to date with the latest Xt reviews, Xt opinions and Xt content? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.