What is Dogolrax? Well, Dogolrax is game about you, a nameless human guy, being stranded on an alien planet called Dogolrax, which is named after an alien god that is also called Dogolrax. How did you get there? I don’t know. What’s going on with all the crazy aliens there? You know, I still don’t know. What do I know? Well, I know that Dogolrax is one extremely bizarre game.
What drew me into Dogolrax, was seeing a YouTube video of it by FunHaus. They were mocking it for how ridiculous and terrible it looked, as they so often do, but I saw something else in Dogolrax. I saw a game that clearly seemed to be heavily influenced by Another World, with a dash of the weird and deadly alien environments of Space Quest 2, and other such ancient PC games. I even saw a little of those delightfully terrible old Bloodlust Software games (if anyone else on the planet even played those besides me). I saw this comically grotesque freakshow of a game and thought “Cool!”, which I guess probably says a lot about me.
The truth of the matter lies somewhere in between though. Dogolrax starts off well enough, very much resembling Another World as expected, with frequent cleverly animated deaths and all. Some of the backgrounds are really quite well done too, if you’re into that kind of thing. The game quickly starts getting even weirder than expected though, with you losing your gun almost immediately after getting it, in what would prove to be the first of many instances of this game trolling the ever living spaceballs out of you.
Dogolrax begins to throw some really nasty platforming sequences at you, resulting in gruesome death after death, and then “rewards” you by changing gears entirely and morphing into a collection of unexpected mini-games for almost the whole remainder of the game (all 90-120 minutes of it). It just scrambles back and forth between flying shoot-em-ups, to Super Meat Boy type areas where the camera zooms way out while you try to jump through mazes of buzzsaws and such, to Arkanoid/Break Out clones, and more.
Unfortunately, this is where the cracks start to show. These mini-games mostly range from mediocre to downright awful. They’re a great idea in theory, and the way they’re implemented is usually pretty clever, but they just plain aren’t programmed very well. The controls in many of them are really inconsistent and unresponsive and some of the physics involved, like the balls in the Arkanoid/Break Out clones, are nearly broken.
I couldn’t even tell you what the story was. Something about evil alien priestesses kidnapping people and transforming them into monsters so they could invade other worlds, but that’s as much as I could extract from the incomprehensible plot. There are some genuinely funny moments randomly scattered about, but mostly it’s just a bunch of gibberish.
It’s a shame, because I hate to have to say such negative things about a game with such oddball style and charm, where the creators are obviously somewhat talented, extremely creative, and show a lot of potential, but this game is just so out there in theme and so very erratic in gameplay that I don’t think I could recommend it to anyone unless they were really, reeeeeeally into very weird games. It was interesting enough to me that I’d consider checking out future games by Team Shuriken though, if I was convinced that they were tightened up a bit more.