Many modern games claim to offer a retro-gaming arcade experience, few really living up to their claim. However i’m very pleased to say that DOGOS really does bring that retro arcade feel to your living room. Indie developer OPQAM does such a good job that if this was an arcade machine i’d be broke from all the money I’d be pumping into it.
As mentioned in my DOGOS first impressions the game grabbed my attention from the start. The first two levels are pretty simple and act as a tutorial, they also pull you into a false sense that this is going to be a relatively easy ride, trust me when I say it’s far from that. The game soon reminds you just how hard retro shoot ‘em up really were, you will see the classic words ‘Game Over’ many times as you play through the 14 mission campaign.
Although the learning curve is pretty steep and the challenging sometimes overwhelming, DOGOS gives you all the tools you need to succeed. Your ship moves with beautiful agility and precision, which is very much-needed when facing a bombardment of projectiles. Some sections of the game require alert relations to steer through tight canyons, others to glide between a multi coloured array of missiles. You also have two types of attack in your arsenal, air-to-air missiles and air-to-ground artillery. Switching between the two type of fire is really simple and they are both linked to the shoulder buttons, there will be several time you will need to use both to clear a challenging section.
There is some customising options available in DOGOS, the best coming from unlocking new weapon types. The term ‘power up’ really means powering up, each new weapon type I unlocked made a huge difference; you never become overpowered though, as when you get a new shiny weapon there’s a shiny new enemy for you to face-off against. The visual customisation in the game is minimal, you unlock a few skins but completing different tasks and that’s about it. I would have liked to see more of a variety in ships you can use, there are two ships to pick from, neither offering any difference in how they handle.
I would rarely pick up an arcade shooter for it’s story, more so for the relentless action I hope to experience. However, DOGOS does have a story imbedded within it. Upon first play I wasn’t too engaged with he story, mostly due to the poor monotone voice acting. On my second play through I decided to turn off the sound and read the story from the screen, by doing so I soon realised the story is actually really well written and I became a lot more engaged in each objective.
An arcade shooter wouldn’t be an arcade shooter without some epic bosses – DOGOS mostly delivers here. I found the bosses turn up when I wasn’t expecting them, although they look great and carry a lot of detail, they don’t require a lot of thought to defeat. Several times I soon learnt their attacks and then it was just a case of waiting for the right opportunity to shoot, I appreciate this fits in with retro arcade shooter but I felt there was a mechanic missing here. I still can deny taking down one of these monstrous ship is rewarding, but they didn’t offer the same challenge as the main level. With that said I do have to admit the final encounter real the mould and is very challenging, I don’t want to spoil anything so that’s all i’ll say on the matter.
DOGOS took me back to my youth, begging my mom for more money to put into an arcade machine. I loved the beefed up retro looking and super-sharp mechanics of the game. Although I felt the boss fits a little disappointing, most of them at least, I still really enjoyed my time tearing through deep detail canyons, raining havoc on anything I came across. No matter if you’re an experience shoot ‘em up player or new to arcade shooter DOGOS offers a fast and frantic experience I’d recommend to anyone.