Pix The Cat aims to combine an arcade classic with a classic from a Nokia 3210, but doesn’t quite pull it off.
My first mobile phone came with a little game called Snake. Before Facebook was easily accessible, before even MySpace was a ‘thing’, Snake quickly replaced books for keeping people entertained on commutes, toilets and work events. The easy to grasp nature took the UK by storm, as we went Snake crazy. In fact, we probably have Snake to blame for terrible Game Of War adverts starring Kate Upton.
Pix The Cat seems like the sort of game Snake would be if it received the Pac Man Championship Edition DXtreatment – All frenetic noises and shapes, sparks that shoot off as you turn corners, the pounding beat as you hit Fever Time. More neon than a coke fueled 80’s action movie. It’s remains visually striking as you sink deeper and deeper into your TV and encounter obstacles of skulls and exploding bombs.
The aim is for your little feline Pied Piper to crack eggs, and get your little duckling followers to drop off over some crosshairs, where I assume they probably get shipped off to to a battery farm. Best not question that. When you start, you’re thrown into a pretty basic ‘starter’ area where you get to grips with the mechanics. Here’s where Pastagames deserve a lot a praise – Pix The Cat can be picked up in seconds. The first few minutes of the game rewards you greatly – Maxing out your combo meter turns the game into this pounding nightclub of joy.
It’s also a game that knows exactly how to wind me up.
In order to unlock the various puzzle modes, you need to rack up some rather significant high scores in the main game. All very well and good, but when you’re against a time limit this can quickly become an exercise in frustration. I don’t often get angry at games, but when I do, it’s because a minor mistake can be impossible to get back from and end up having to restart an entire level. Burnout is the same way, despite how much I love that game. It doesn’t help that my monitor decided to break fairly regularly throughout this review.
However, after a few hours of shouting and swearing, I came across the revelation that you can ram into gibbering skulls while in you’re in ‘Fever Time’, and score a massive score boost. This was never conveyed at any point, I just happened upon it. This allowed me to open the other modes with ease, and I actually started to enjoy the game now I wasn’t constantly fighting it.
There’s a local multiplayer ‘Arena’ mode, that sadly I couldn’t touch because I have no friends. There’s ‘Laboratory’, which requires you to slide across the level until you hit a wall and collect all your little buddies and deposit them in as little moves as possible. And then there’s the delightful ‘Nostalgia’ mode, which makes everything look like Steamboat Willy with some oldie ragtime backing. Here, you are required to collect a certain number of eggs within a good time, and this introduces a number of fancy changes to the gameplay which remained exciting throughout. Both of these modes require a little more consideration than the standard mode, and are ideal little piecemeal slices that would fit perfectly on a phone, but were probably the most enjoyable time I had throughout my time. Sadly, it was locked up behind some frustration on the standard game.
This main game is probably the weakest part – more due to a lack of variety than anything else. Once you’ve seen the ‘Main’ stages, you only get very slight variations on the same rooms – layout of the eggs to need to collection, mostly. If you were to compare that with something like Pac-Man Championship Edition DX, you are constantly unlocking new levels and modes every time you play. I would have liked to have seen an endurance mode that was not tied to a time limit, but would end if you were to crash into your tail – much like Snake. This would be great for seeing some later levels that some players could never actually reach due to the time limit.
As a result, Pix The Cat provides some minor entertainment, if only to enjoy the delightful nature of the Nostalgia mode. But getting to that enjoyment was an exercise in frustration for me, provoking swearing as I slowly resented that little neon cat’s face as he grinned at me. I eventually had fun with the game, but I wish there was just a little more variety to the whole main package to keep me coming back for me.
Music has a sweet bass line, though.
Pix the Cat is available on PC, Playstation 4 and Playstation Vita. We reviewed the PC version with a code provided to us, like the corporate shills we are.