Classic shooters are a go-to genre for old-school gamers. Dogos is bursting with intensely challenging gameplay that combines twin-stick shooting with bullet hell scenarios so suit up because we have a war to fight.
The creators of the intriguing yet somewhat flawed Project Root have definitely learned from their mistakes as Dogos thankfully proves. It not only looks better, the developers also added loads of variation to the otherwise basic gameplay. For the unfamiliar, you play by using the left stick to move your ship and the right to rotate the camera. You can unleash three attacks that include a regular shot for foes at your altitude and a bomb for enemies underneath (just like in Xevious) as well as stocked special weapons that you pick up such as homing missiles and massive laser cannons. The controls are very tight, responsive, and intuitive which makes dealing with the high degree of difficulty all the more satisfying. That being said, make sure you're up for a challenge before downloading Dogos because it can be downright brutal.
Dogos is a well crafted game when it comes to its visuals. The environments are detailed and distinct while enemies are easy to spot. The neon projectiles pop off the screen thus allowing you to weave between them without any ambiguity. Being able to discern every foe, bullet, and hazard as you zip through the stages at high speeds amplifies the action to a greater extent. As you shoot and dodge, the arcade-like music and urgent voice acting adds a layer of immersion while large explosions and subdued gunfire effects make the onscreen chaos and destruction even more enjoyable. Overall, Dogos is an absolute blast to play.
The campaign contains fourteen stages that feature plenty of variety. Besides exchanging streams of projectiles with enemy forces, you'll also come across sections where you automatically speed through tight corridors, carefully weave through rotating walls, and strategically use a special weapon to tear temporary holes in oncoming walls. There are a handful of epic boss fights spread across these stages, too. Along with these interesting innovations, there are a few annoying aspects as well. These consist of hazards that you frequently have to deal with such as bullets that reverse the controls, maze-like rooms with walls popping up randomly, and rapid-moving sections that rely more on memorization than reflexes. These parts unfortunately weigh down the otherwise fun shooting action.
To help with the challenge, you can equip various main and bomb weapons that you unlock as you progress. You can also select different skins if you want to change the way your ship looks. Besides these options, there really isn't much opportunity for growth.
Although there are four difficulty settings, they don't offer enough of a progression. For example, Very Easy grants you infinite lives while the other three difficulties only give you three. Considering most of the hazards that I already mentioned end your life instantly, only three lives is a very slim amount. I wish the difficulty settings progressed more gradually because I hated having to switch to Very Easy because my three lives got eaten up quite quickly in the later stages. Why couldn't Easy give you ten lives and Normal give you five? Anyway, no matter which setting you choose, some enemies require way too many hits in order to take down. Bosses can last about five minutes of relentless shooting which turns more into an endurance round than an enjoyable battle.
Dogos is a big step up from Project Root. Although it can be intimidating and could use more balancing when it comes to difficulty and enemy health, it's still an action-packed shooter that hardcore genre fans shouldn't miss.
- + Fantastic shooting gameplay that's both challenging and satisfying
- + Great visuals that amplify the action
- + Campaign boasts a variety of missions
- - Constant annoying hazards that interrupt the otherwise tight gameplay
- - Difficulty settings could use more balance
- - Some enemies require way too many hits