Dogs truly are man’s best friend. Case in point: Bullet, a cute little corgi, has just had his owner whisked away by aliens, and what does he do? Head into space to save her, of course. Now that’s loyalty. But how on earth is a dog going to get to space, you’re asking, as if it matters in the world of videogames. Well, Bullet’s no ordinary Corgi. He is, in fact, a C3: a Cute Cybernetic Corgi.
It all sets up ProtoCorgi, a wonderfully retro shoot ’em up adventure. Taking control of Bullet, you soar through space, shooting anything that seems hostile. Or you can bark at them. Honestly, you really can. Along the way, there are countless powerups to pick up, turning your standard fire into more destructive options such as a laser beam or spread fire. And while you don’t start with any, screen-clearing bombs can be picked up, too.
Aside from its Corgi protagonist, then, ProtoCorgi is a pretty standard shoot ’em up. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t a hell of a lot of fun. Its handful of stages are fairly fleshed out, each taking you through a range of environments. And its bosses are a varied bunch, each with their own assortment of attacks for you to learn and avoid. Wrapping everything up is a disarming art style that’s colourful and cute, as well as a soundtrack that you can truly bop to.
Don’t assume that ProtoCorgi’s cute visual style means that it’s a game that goes easy on you, either. Multiple difficulty levels are available, and even on the easiest, chances are you’ll find yourself challenged. But there are multiple lifelines for those who do struggle to really make a dent in this canine’s quest. As well as a training mode where you can jump straight into completed stages, or even sections of stages, to master them, additional starting lives and continues can be unlocked over time.
Available now on PC for just £5.49/$6.99, ProtoCorgi is well worth a look for shoot ’em up fans, and those who simply can’t turn away the opportunity to play as a cute dog. And did we mention that it even has a stage editor? At least give its demo a try, allowing you to sample its dog-based antics before you part with your money. As the first game by new indie outfit Kemono Games, this is a wonderfully constructed retro-inspired shooter with a healthy shot of charm.