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Tid för sidscrollande en actionshooter i pixlat retro-stuk.

Originally announced in June 2020 by Kemono Games with a planned release in November of the same year, ProtoCorgi finally escaped its indefinite delay and released on June the 15th 2023. It is worth mentioning that the game is available on Steam, Epic Games and also the Nintendo Switch. I will note here that this was played on the Nintendo Switch, so your experience may differ on the other platforms.

The developer Kemono Games is an indie studio, and they are inspired by old arcade games.

ProtoCorgi is their first game and at first glance it looks like a cute and innocent game about a corgi in space. But let me warn you, while it is very cute looking, it is also a very hard game. They brought us a retro style pixel art, auto scrolling horizontal shoot ‘em up with arcade gameplay with an adorable theme. Among the flying fish and other things, you will encounter in space, anything that touches you will be the end of you. Prepare to shoot, dodge, and bark your way through space.

The Mission

After starting up the game, no time is wasted. You will get to see the opening video which you might want to watch at least once as it is important. It already starts to tell you the story. But no need to be worried as you can see it however many times you want by simply waiting in the menu. It will show you who you will play as. Namely Bullet, a C³ class (cute cyber corgi) cybernetic dog. Following his quest to save his owner, a brilliant scientist that got kidnaped by a strange alien race that apparently wants to rule over the galaxy, you will fly through time and space. Defeating strange and exotic alien creatures, sightseeing swarms of fishes and powering up your gear to wreak havoc along your way. There will be many space fruits and you will want to eat them all, as they get you the highest score. You might have guessed already but yes, there is a score system like in those old arcade games with a leaderboard. In this beautifully pixelated game, the dangers of space will not stop you in its action-packed nature. But will you be able to save your owner in time?


The campaign and with this the adventure is available to everyone. What this means is that you can adjust the difficulty from “Pup” to “Ultra Nightmare”. On all difficulties you will lose one life if anything besides fruit touches you. Your life cap will increase the more you play, so by your total play time.

On top of this you have something called “continues”. Once you lose all your lifes and you have a “continue” left you will be asked if you want to continue. If you select yes, you will continue your campaign run with a full charge of your maximum amount of lifes. You gain more “continues” by the number of stages in the campaign you have finished.

If you prefer to not use any “continues” or a specific amount of lifes and “continues” there is a setting where you can pick the amount you want to use. The more you play and the further you go in the campaign the more you unlock. Usually in a new campaign run you will do a new training at the beginning whenever you have unlocked something new, which sadly can be very important mechanics, such as turning around.

To travel through space, you can bark at your enemies, which is essentially your normal attack at first. Very fast you will find other weapons, simply by defeating a specific enemy type. Usually there will be multiple at once and you can get more than one weapon in those situations. In total you can have three weapons and a one-time use gimmick equipped at once. The weapons upgrade if you collect more of the same weapon and will change if you pick up different ones. There are many different weapons and up to 27 combinations you can find to defeat your enemies. The one-time gimmick is well, a one-time thing. Think of a nuke you can activate once and then have to find a new one.

As Bullet is a C³ class cybernetic dog, he wields more than just traditional weaponry. From lasers to rockets, there is something for everyone. If all weapons fail you, you can always rely on your fighting spirit to grind your way through space and find its secrets.

Something I enjoyed is that all the weapons had their moments where it felt like they were saving me. Depending on the situation and where in space you are some are better than others, but overall, they all are decent. The addition of different corgis would have been very interesting.

Training room

In case you are struggling with a specific part of a stage or at any point and you want to practise that part, there is a way to do so in the Training room. This way you do not have to grind and fight your way through everything before just so that one area ends your campaign run. Of course, only sections that you have reached will be available here.

You access the training room from the main menu. In the training room you can pick the stages, or something called training memory. Here you can redo the training that you do at the beginning of a new campaign run whenever you have unlocked something new. So, in case you skipped it by accident or just want to see it again it’s always here.

Besides this you can select each stage. In stage 1 for example you can pick the sections you would like to train. While you can see how many sections there are, only the ones you reached will be available, including the secret sections. The secret sections are optional secret areas. I will leave it at that so you can explore and find them yourself.

Once you have fully finished a stage in the campaign you are able to do the entire stage in the training room as well. Worth noting is that you do not have infinite lifes in the training room. The amount of lifes and “continues” will be the same as in the campaign. That and the fact that you will not have the weapons you collected in previous sections and stages. This can make specific sections a lot harder compared to a normal full run through the campaign.

Last option in the training room is endings. There is more than one ending but I will leave it here so you can find out on your own.

I think the training room is a fantastic idea, but it is being held back by not giving you any weapons if you start midway in a section, which makes it unnecessarily hard and makes it feel like all you can do is try to dodge and survive in there. I would have said it is perfect if it gave you some weapons in the training room, no matter at which sector in a level you start in. Nonetheless a good addition to the game.

Leaderboard and Scoring

As mentioned earlier there are space fruits. These will be very interesting for those who want to push and land in the leaderboard. By collecting these you will gain points for the leaderboard. Interestingly you can also destroy them, but you will gain less points. Important to note here is that there are two different leaderboards. One is your overall score. Meaning the enemies you defeated, the debris and objects you destroyed and the fruit you ate or destroyed. So essentially your score for everything you did.

The other is simply how many fruits you collected. While collecting fruits might seem easy at first, being able to differentiate between a fruit, enemy and simply debris and in between them all the enemy projectiles, attacks and your own weaponry flying around in the screen, collecting fruits will be tough. All while the game will merciless go forward, remember it’s an auto scroll game. While you want to collect fruits, essentially everything else you want to dodge. Fruits are also not needed to progress in the campaign. They are strictly for points. Of course, the leaderboards are separated by the difficulty you play on. Not only that but you will have your own local leaderboard as well as the online leaderboard.

As you might be able to tell now ProtoCorgi really is like an old arcade game. Completing the campaign and seeing the full story is of course the initial goal, but being first in the leaderboard has always been a challenge many took upon themselves. This alone gives the game a lot of replayability. Once you master a difficulty you can go to a higher one and while it will be similar, there will be more and different enemies. Fans of old arcade games will feel right at home.

ProtoCorgi Maker

While there is no Co-op there is a level maker called ProtoCorgi Maker. You can access it as soon as you start the game. Of course, you can simply create your own levels in it. You start with a safe zone in which you cannot place anything. That is the start. Outside of it you can do pretty much whatever you want. You can place enemies, objects, change the song that will be played during the level and even the background. Some of these you will have to unlock. The more you play and beat in the campaign, the more different options you get to use in the level maker. Like music, enemies, and such. To have everything you will need to play the campaign multiple times.

Making your own level does feel a bit more like making an enemy wave simulator but that is a consequence of the genre itself. Nonetheless this results in a lot more replayability of the game and I am sure that there will be people that can do amazing things with this level maker.

Once you have made your level you can always play it offline. Or you upload it so everyone can have a go at it. The player made levels do come with a leaderboard, same as the campaign. Over time the community will build a library of additional levels to play through which adds to the already existing core of the game. With this and the campaign itself there is plenty of content to go through.

And while this is not a direct Co-op you can challenge your friends not just with who scores higher in the leaderboard, but you can also make levels for each other and see who is more adept at going and barking their way through space.


To conclude ProtoCorgi by Kemono Games is an excellent debut game for the indie studio. Its cute and adorable design, the excellent music, the gameplay and the challenge to secure one’s place on the leaderboard makes it feel like a modern take on an arcade game. I will point out the music and overall sound again here as they are surprisingly good. They fit well and enhance the experience a lot in a good way. It is more than just a cute corgi with lasers on a journey through space. The included level maker is a welcome and nice addition to make it stand out. While I’m not that good at using those, I have played levels that other people did that were a joy to play. Figuring out in which sectors I wanted specific weapons and how to survive without them was a fun experience for me. The training room is also a good addition, despite its issue with giving you zero weapons if you start mid stage, it turned out to be quite helpful in figuring out tough spots whenever I was stuck. The different stages don’t just look different and have their own theme, they feel different to play, as in what you focus on like dodging or more on attacking. Overall ProtoCorgi brought back the feeling of old arcade games successfully to me.

Whether you just want to experience its story or want to be first on the leaderboard or more, it will be a fun and challenging journey barking your way through space.

Det Bra

  • Cute and adorable design
  • Excellent music
  • Varied level design

Det Dåliga

  • Screen cluttered at times by nature of the game
  • Some key mechanics being unlockables
  • Player hitbox can be confusing at times

Skriven av: Patrick Henkelmann

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