Go! Go! PogoGirl Review

Bouncing through the seasons

By Paul Hunter

What happens if you cross the Scrooge McDuck cane hopping in DuckTales with the aesthetic charm of classic Sonic the Hedgehog games? You get Go! Go! PogoGirl from the single developer at Ohsat Games and indie publisher Ratalaika Games.

This charming and fun retro-inspired game will feel instantly familiar to anyone who grew up gaming in the 90s playing classic platformers on Super NES and SEGA Genesis. But even with its clear nods to games like Rocket Knight Adventures and Castle of Illusion, this game has a personality all to its own. Let's hop on our pogo stick and bounce our way through the seasons, here are three things I liked about the game.

Liked: Clever Pogo Stick Mechanic

The lighthearted story in Go! Go! PogoGirl is simple and straight to the point: Exactly like most classic games and allows you to jump straight into the action. The tale begins with PogoGirl asleep one night when a mysterious stranger barges into her home and steals her trusty bouncing stick. Fortunately, PogoGirl has a spare pogo stick in a back room that she grabs before heading out in search of this nighttime thief.

Go! Go! PogoGirl is one of those retro games that's easy to pick up but challenging to master. It instantly differentiates itself from traditional platformers by having the titular hero PogoGirl auto bouncing on her pogo stick, presenting a unique and fun challenge. Since you'll constantly be hopping about you'll need to master her pogo bounce slam and super bounce charge to overcome platforming challenges and defeat enemies.

The pogo stick opens up many clever gameplay opportunities like trying to navigate tricky platforming blocks that crumble as you bounce off them or segments where you need to hop up to platforms of varying heights requiring you to alternate between regular and super bounces. Your pogo stick also presents some risky situations where you need to hop as close to edges as you can to clear large jumps in front of you. What's great is you'll be presented with many familiar platforming challenges—floor spikes, moving platforms, dodging enemies with unpredictable moving patterns—but the bouncing mechanic makes these challenges feel fresh and exciting.

Liked: Colour Pixel Art Graphics

The visuals in Go! Go! PogoGirl are clearly inspired by Sonic the Hedgehog right down to the colourful flowers, swinging platforms with a gold-ring chain, and the two shades of brown tiled backgrounds. Being similar is not a bad thing though as it gives you an instant nostalgic flood of memories and a feeling that you're back in the glory days of the 90s. But there's also enough fresh scenery to soak in and admire that sets this game apart.

What's neat is this game takes you through an entire calendar year from spring to winter, with each season having four stages to complete, plus a fifth boss fight area to complete the season. Even cooler is how the gorgeous art in each season begins with a bright morning stage, then gradually turns to night over the five stages. With its changing season and time of day, there's always something fresh and new to admire in these wonderfully designed stages. Plus, you really get a sense that PogoGirl is on a tough year-long journey.

While on the topic of the game's presentation, the retro chiptunes soundtrack is undeniably catchy and got me in the mood to bounce and bop my way through all 20 levels (plus the five extra 'master' stages you can unlock!). My favourite tracks were the starting screen, the Winter and Fall seasons and the closing credits—but really all tracks in this game are whimsical and loop at just the right time to keep the momentum going.

Liked: Collectibles and Unlockables

What would a retro platforming game be without collectibles and secrets to unlock? Go! Go! PogoGirl has a modest list of goodies to find, but they add some great replayability and unlock some nice perks, if you manage to find all the bits and bobs.

Each stage has 100 green gems to find, all scattered throughout the level and sometimes in tricky spot that requires pinpoint pogo bouncing. There are also three red gems to find and these are usually the toughest to locate or have the highest skill requirement in order to nab them. Finally, each stage also challenges you to complete it without dying, which is actually quite hard in the latter levels where the difficulty spikes.

Speedrunners will also have a blast here as the game has a timer you can enable to measure how fast your run is. Oh if you like false walls in games like Mega Man or Castlevania you're in luck as Go! Go! PogoGirl has some of those as well—who knows, you might even find a shortcut.

While I usually point out aspects of the game I didn't like in my reviews, the truth is there's not much to dislike about PogoGirl. It's cute and has engaging gameplay, great pixel art graphics and a thumping soundtrack. Given its low price point ($4.99 USD), there's quite a lot on offer here.

The Verdict

Go! Go! PogoGirl is a fantastic homage to classic platformers that fans of Sonic the Hedgehog or DuckTales will surely love. It offers top-notch level design, a charming aesthetic and a nice mix of platforming challenges and puzzle-solving to get through each stage. It's the perfect length, too, and encourages replayability. You really can't go wrong by picking up this game!

Final Score: 8/10 - Great

Go! Go! PogoGirl details

Platform: PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC
Developer: Ohsat Games
Publisher: Ratalaika Games
Genre: Platformer
Modes: Single-player
ESRB Rating: E10+ (Everyone 10+)

A key was provided by the publisher.