Pix the Cat Game Review: A wonderful surprise that has very few flaws

Pix the Cat Game

I mentioned Snake in the intro and that's likely the first thing you'll think of as you get started. Pix will collect a tail of ducklings from unhatched eggs that he has to drop off in targets, without running into his own tail of followers. The Pac-Man reference comes from the design of the levels - usually smallish boxes with walls that create definite paths, all it's missing is the ghosts - although on some levels there are floating skulls that will halt your progress if you collide with them.

Innovation

That's pretty much where the comparison with those two games ends, though. Rather than progressing through individual levels as I imagined when I started the game for the first time, instead you move fluently from one stage to the next without pause - sometimes the following stages are within a wall in the centre of the level. You can even go straight back into the level you've just come out of - indeed this is necessary at times to retain your combo and get perfect clearances. This was as surprising as it was exciting, as suddenly a whole new level of complexity opened up before me.

Not only are the levels interconnected, but there isn't a monotonous progression of difficulty, either. You'll proceed through a few levels that rely on reaction speed, and then suddenly you'll have to adapt to one that has only a handful of legs but an extremely awkward layout, often requiring you to make use of more than one level in order to complete efficiently. It's a welcome change of pace that keeps the player on their toes throughout the game.

The objective in this mode, which is simply called ‘arcade mode', is to get the highest score you can across the plentiful levels before the time runs out. The more ducklings you gather and deposit at once without interruption, the higher your combo becomes and the faster Pix moves. When you enter ‘fever', the highest combo level, you can destroy skills and move a little faster than is sensible. It's such a simple concept that has been wonderfully enhanced by some truly clever thinking.

Release Date: 29/01/2015

Available on: PC

Critics Rating: 4.1/5

Game Trailer

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Happy and Cheerful

The theme of the game is not without charm either, even if it appears to make little sense from the start. Why is a cat collecting ducks from unhatched eggs? Why are there floating skulls and twirling spikey balls with angry faces? It's probably best not to dwell on it too much, but instead appreciate it as a whimsical and pleasing combination. The music is chirpy, happy and gets stuck in your head, even if it is somewhat repetitive. The colours are lively and bright - lots of neon and contrasting shades. As you enter fever, the colours invert in a way that is both momentarily confusing and surprising.

There's plenty to unlock, which is something that the game needs given its disappointing lack of Steam leader board integration. While there is a local multiplayer mode, it's an arena based combat affair that doesn't compare to the single player options. Unlocks include new game modes; laboratory and retro, new announcers, new music and artwork.

Laboratory mode is a welcome change of pace that's unlocked by achieving a set high score in the primary arcade mode. Here, your character collects cells and has to bring them to what are supposed to be unhappy organisms - I think. Rather than keeping the same movement system, your character will only stop when it hits a wall, and the goal is to collect and deliver all of the cells in the least moves possible. The levels are singular and there's a score screen before progression to the next one.

This more traditional progression applies to the retro mode as well, although this has more in common with arcade mode than it does laboratory mode. You're back to having free reign over your movement and you again need to build up a tail that can trip you up - but the levels are much smaller and there's only ever one egg on screen at a time - very similar to the original Snake.

The Verdict

For me, Pix the Cat was a wonderful surprise that has very few flaws, especially when the €9.99 asking price is taken into consideration. I'm sad that I can't compete with my friends directly through Steam but that's really about the only complaint I can come up with. I heartily recommend picking this up if you're looking for a challenging and fun score attack game. Pix the Cat is an adorable and well-polished adventure that will leave you purring with content.

Screenshots

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Pix the Cat is developed by Pastagames.