Finally, a game that combines two of my favorite things. A dog main character, and tax evasion, which as a dog, I didn’t think was an issue, but here we are.

In Tax Fugitive, a game by Morning Shift Studios, you are on the run from the IRS, and must traverse 16 levels to get to tax paradise. Along the way you can collect coins that are apparently counterfeit and stars that demonstrate your exploration of each level, with each level containing three stars. Each level also contains a lot of spikes, sometimes lava, a few buzzsaws here and there, and other fun traps as well, that I unfortunately didn’t see because, well, it’s hard. Oh, and there’s a level where you are upside down, so when you jump, you jump down. It was…challenging.

When picking a game each week, I tend to find quite a few platformers and often think to myself “oh, a jumping game. This should be easy to get through.” And then I remember that I’m actually not good at platforming games. Like, at all. But, the review must go on.

Tax Fugitive, was no different for me. It starts out going over the basics, letting you know that you have the ability to double jump, dash, and slide on walls to slow your downward momentum. One thing it doesn’t tell you, is that you can hold the X button, on an xbox controller, to sprint, making your long jumps much more effective. Oh, did I mention that it has full controller support? Because it does. It doesn’t really go over what those controls are, but its not a very complicated game, control wise, so you can figure it out as you go. One thing I will point out though, is that the Steam page says you can play through the entire game without having to touch your keyboard or mouse. I did not find that to be the case, as the level select screen and main menu were not operational with a controller. Minor detail, but worth noting.

Once you’ve had a chance to master a few jumps and the dash, you’re more or less thrown right into the thick of things, and by that, I mean a floor or wall of spikes. And once you hit those spikes, you are sent to the beginning of the level you are currently on. But don’t worry, you have five hearts at the top left corner of the screen that represent your lives and how many chances you have to complete said level. Did I say level? I meant ENTIRE game. Which begs the question, why even have a level select screen?

That’s right, you have five lives, to get through all 16 levels of this game. Now, there are some mushrooms spread throughout each level to replenish your lives, but getting to them can be a challenge, and could end up costing you more lives, making it not really worth it to go for at all.

This game, like most platformers, takes patience and the ability to learn the levels, and also the understanding that you aren’t going to run through the game on the first try. Or the second try. Or probably the third either. Given a little more time, I could see it being very beatable, barring any game breaking bugs in the later levels that I haven’t discovered yet.

The music for Tax Fugitive had an almost surf rock vibe, really giving you that feeling of being on the run and headed toward your vacation paradise. A world I think we all strive to be in, where you don’t pay taxes, and you’re a dog.

If you take anything away from this game, it’s that you can, and definitely should be, charging your dogs taxes. And also, that platformers are hard. Despite the difficulty, this was still a very fun game to play, and one that I intend to go back to, in order to see just how far I can make it on those five lives. And because I hate paying taxes. 4.5/5