Dogcoin (PC) review
Stop me if you’ve heard this one. I was told by a “friend” that he had some Steam codes he’d be giving away. There was a catch, however. I wouldn’t be able to choose which game I received, and I would have to write a review of whatever I got. “Maybe you’ll score GTA V,” he said. “Maybe you’ll get Resident Evil 2.” So, like one of those dumbasses who buys a $1 lottery ticket at the convenience store, I took the bait. I figured if I got a bad game, it couldn’t be that bad, right?
Turns out, it's worse. After I inputted my code into Steam, I was informed that my prize was called “Dogcoin.” Already, I felt I was in trouble. With a title like that, there was probably very little chance that the developers spoke English. Upon launching the game, I was dropped into the first level immediately – there was no title card or splash screen to speak of, nor was there a main menu of any kind. Shitty graphics and an eye-scorchingly bright blue background assailed my eyes. I tried to maximize the window, but it stayed firmly at a resolution of 1280x720, filling the extra space with a stark white border. I sighed, rolled up my sleeves, and got to the important business of playing Dogcoin. You know, for journalistic purposes.
This game is ostensibly a platformer, where you control a poorly-animated bipedal dog. You use the arrow keys to move left, right or jump (there is no controller support). The object of the game is to reach the portals at the end of the various levels, and you do this by jumping across nondescript wooden crates while avoiding spikes. Any slight touch of these spikes – even their blunt sides – will result in instant death. You are spared the grisly sight of this cute puppy being impaled, at least; the level will simply reset if you die, complete with restarting the game’s single music track. This can be extremely annoying if you die multiple times in a level, and believe me, you will. A button is available to turn the music off, but the music will turn itself back on every time you die. Eventually I had to mute my system volume altogether to make my playthrough of Dogcoin bearable.
Despite how it sounds, Dogcoin is not actually a difficult game. It just has a particularly frustrating section in level two that took me well over 100 tries to complete. You start this level in a cramped hallway with spikes jutting out of the floor and ceiling, and perfect timing on your jumps is absolutely critical to get through it. However, this is made difficult by the game’s terrible collision coding. If you touch the ceiling even slightly, there is a random chance that the dog’s head will get stuck, and then he will lose all inertia and drop straight down onto the spikes. In other cases, he might lightly brush the empty space occupied the egregiously large hitboxes of the spikes and die that way instead. However, I found it easy to keep trying this section over and over again, as the level resets instantaneously upon death and the spikes are literally a few steps away from the dog’s starting point. Propelled by some masochistic determination to see if I could get through it, I threw the dog into the spike-filled gauntlet again and again. Eventually, I managed it. Tapping the jump key very softly seemed to be the best way, though the dog’s jump arc had enough variability to it to ensure that there was no reliable way to get through this section aside from dumb luck.
Featured community review by Nightfire (February 16, 2020)
Nightfire is a reclusive dragon who lives in a cave with internet access.
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