Who remembers last year’s top down arcade shooter Project Root? We do and we gave it a healthy 7/10 when we reviewed it. Well its developers, Buenos Aires indie outfit OPQAM, are back and have unleashed their follow up shoot ‘em up DOGOS onto PS4. Looking and playing like a classic shump, this strangely named shooter may have one foot in the past but the other is placed firmly in the present.
You play the role of Desmond Phoenix who is leading the charge against the Zeetnuks, an evil biomechanical hoard of alien beings from outer space that need to be quashed. You have two different types of enemy to deal with which come in the form of aerial and ground based units. There are also geogenerators to rip apart, bosses to defeat and walls of lasers to negotiate as well as constant attacks by the daring Zeetnuks, which harass you from all angles.
DOGOS is a 3D shooter that is set in an open world type of scenario. That said, there is only one path to take if you want to complete each level, but having the opportunity to head off and face the enemy in far flung reaches of the galaxy (screen) brings added length to each level.
Picking off swarms of incoming hostiles shows DOGOS is a competent shooter, and control via the twin sticks and use of the triggers to release different payloads all connect well. Coupled with its classy look and the beautiful textures of each different landscape it’s clear that the devs have poured a lot of passion into this indie shooter. You can tell also that the developers have a special affection for retro games as nothing seems half baked, even down to the levelling-up system and the option of return plays to beat times and unlock extras. These touches ensure that DOGOS feels nostalgic enough for retro fans but also modern enough to hit all the right buttons for a new generation of gamers.
A radar dial helps you keep track of any ensuing dangers coming your way and there’s also a map that appears by a click of the square button. The map also comes in handy when you’re asked to pilot your craft through tight canyons and mountain regions. For these brief stages your craft is flying at full warp speed and it’s down to your expert navigation skills to complete the sections in one piece. Such tasks do bring a different element to the game and could have been expanded on as it offers a little break from the endless shooting. Saying that, though, each level does look and play differently and each requires different skills and weapons to succeed. The tight caves create a claustrophobic setting while the vast expanse of the ocean brings in some open play. Dog fights and freedom to use the space around you certainly tests yours skills as a pilot.
DOGOS may not push the boundaries regarding gameplay or visually, but there’s still an endearing shooter here. Just like R-Type and Desert Strike, DOGOS looks and feels familiar. If you find your shumps hard work, you’ll find DOGOS a breath of fresh air as the shooter comes with a super easy mode for even the youngest of players. There are fourteen levels to shoot your way through each with different types of objectives to complete.
Having laid the foundation with Project Root, OPQAM have created another neat and sweet shoot ‘em up that plays as good as it looks. For hardcore shmup fans, DOGOS will feel like a return to pastures past, but it also has enough bite in it to hook a new breed of fans.
Lizard Rating – 7.5/10