I know we’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but I do it all the time and I’ve successfully picked some decent novels over the years. Does the same logic apply to games? On the surface, I assumed Go! Go! PogoGirl would be a cute and colorful platformer. I’m pleased to say I was correct.
The premise is extremely simple; you play the role of a girl on a pogo stick. The minimal story follows our heroine across the four seasons of a year as she chases another girl on a pogo stick. There’s no dialogue or cut scenes, but they’re not needed. Go! Go! PogoGirl is on the move from the beginning.
Gameplay is similar to classic platformers as you jump across pits and spikes, avoid enemies, and navigate moving platforms. The difference is the pogo stick. You’re constantly bouncing, which adds an interesting dynamic to keep genre veterans like myself engaged.
Bouncing is automatic, though you have a few extra tricks up your sleeve. These are introduced by subtle signposts during the first level, which serves as a tutorial of sorts. You can press A while in the air to slam your pogo stick down hard; B will swing your stick around to knock out enemies within range; and holding down on the D-pad will charge a higher bounce to climb to hard-to-reach places. It’s a fun dynamic that’s easy to learn, and had me engaged from the outset.
Unlike most other platformers, level backdrops don’t vary by location. You’re not working your way through different worlds here. Instead, it’s all one setting defined by the changing seasons. These give enough of a change of scenery to make each environment visually distinct. It’s also a pixelated treat if you’re into 16-bit graphics, with something that resembles a cross between Mario and Sonic’s original outings.
Each world (or season) comprises five levels, with the final one serving as a boss fight. That only gives us 20 levels, so you’d be right in assuming the adventure is over within a few hours. Having said that, achievements and collectibles provide a worthwhile reason to revisit, ticking each item off on a virtual list as you go. It’s a satisfying experience for completionists and is worthy of its 4.99 price tag.
There are other niceties that made me smile throughout my adventure. Water sections not only provide a nice change of pace, but the music is also muffled while you’re underwater, a simple yet effective touch. The enemies are cute little balls, each moving differently to keep things fresh. Some make adorable sounds as well. It all adds to the experience of a well-thought-out title that strives to provide something entertaining to players. And succeeds.
Overall, Go! Go! PogoGirl is a straight-up platformer with a bouncy twist. It’s short, sweet, and hits the right beats in terms of balancing difficulty and fun. The boss fights and collectibles help to break up the action and provide some replayability, giving this adventure a longer life than at first glance. Hey, I guess appearances can be deceiving after all.