It feels as if 90s retro homages are everywhere at the moment, but despite Go! Go! PogoGirl having an incredibly familiar visual style – it doesn’t take Sherlock Holmes to deduce that Sonic the Hedgehog is massive influence on the overall aesthetic – it does do quite a bit to distinguish itself from a gameplay standpoint.

That’s mostly because the titular character is permanently stuck on her pogo stick – and traversal through the otherwise familiar environments is made tricky as you’ll need to cope with the constant bouncing.

There’s quite a few moves available to deal with this: charge jumps and spins amongst the options you have at your disposal.

Enemies are easy to deal with, as long as you hit them with the bottom of your pogo stick; hit enemies or deadly obstacles with any other part of yourself and it’s an instant return to the previous checkpoint.

That’s right – one hit is enough to send you all the way back to restart and enemies all respawn. Thankfully though, any gems you’ve collected on the way are retained.

There’s a hundred green gems to collect on each level, three bonus red gems as well; collect all greens for a star when you reach the exit, collect all red for another star and you’ll get a further star if you can complete the level without losing a life.

Thankfully, lives are infinite – because you’ll inevitably lose an awful lot of them on your way through the often elaborately designed levels.

Those levels can be pretty frustrating as you make your way through the game; around halfway through the stages – which are divided into seasons (Spring, Summer and so on) – the design becomes more frustrating than fun; the one hit kills and frequency of restarts do kill your momentum an awful lot, it seems.

Though visually based on Sonic, Go! Go! Pogogirl should perhaps have also taken note of Sonic’s ability to withstand hits by collecting rings; the gems collected serve no function except to get a star, so there’s often little incentive to go out of your way to collect the more precariously placed gems – unless you’re really desperate for those stars.

Bosses are big and nicely frantic without being too challenging; the boss stages are among the most enjoyable and well designed challenges in the game.

Overall, Go! Go! Pogogirl is a reasonably fun, retro style experience. It’s a bit of a slog to get through the later levels, but they do at least introduce new mechanics at a steady rate to keep things feeling stale – it’s just a shame that the one hit deaths can be such an annoyance at times.

Go! Go! Pogogirl is out now on Switch, PS4/5, Xbox One and Steam. Many thanks to PR Hound for providing me with a code for review purposes.

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