GAME REVIEW: PIX THE CAT / DEVELOPER: PASTAGAMES / PUBLISHER: PASTAGAMES / PLATFORM: PLAYSTATON 4, PS VISTA, PC / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
Have you ever been busy watching TRON and thought “this movie needs more cats”? Have you then taken this concept further and postulated the idea that this cat would do well to be playing a game which melds together aspects of retro games such as Pacman and Snake? Who hasn’t? Well, all your TRON-Cat-Pacman-Snake related dreams can come true if one is to buy Pix the Cat, a game that is whipping up a storm in the community of TRON-Cat-Pacman-Snake gamers.
Is it worth satisfying this need though? Well, the first thing you’ll notice when loading up the menu is that the theme tune is extremely funky. After you’ve spent a good couple of days listening to that, you may want to actually advance past the start-up screen and see some gameplay. You’ll start with the arcade mode, which will blow your mind if enough attention is given to it.
So, to the untrained eye, this looks like your regular arcade game. It has a simple mechanic that is easy to get the hang of, but agonizingly difficult to master. The music doesn’t get any worse throughout, remaining one of the game’s strongest aspects. I guarantee that the music that plays in this game will become a new necessity for you. Eat, drink, take in oxygen and listen to PTC’s soundtrack.
But take a closer look at the arcade mode. The first level is simple but you can see that it takes place inside a TV with a cat playing the game. As you finish the first screen, a portal will open up, taking you to a new level. However, in actual fact you’re simply zooming into the screen further. Each stage is reached via a portal from the previous stage, meaning you will soon have entered a labyrinth in which you find yourselves deep in the TV. While one could spend time pondering the fact that this TV must have some serious resolution to accurately conjure levels to such an extent, the real fun comes when the timer is up. Because then you zoom out, through all the levels you have done to the beginning in a single continuous camera shot. This process actually turns your brain into a figurative smoothie as you take a while to question what is going on before concluding that it doesn’t matter because it is amazing.
The aim of the game is simply to gather up all of the ducklings from the eggs and take them to the circles around the map. One has to make the best of the 300 seconds they get in arcade mode, however. This is done by creating a combo. Combos are performed by not crashing into the trail of ducky-wuckies that follow you around the level. Readers who have ever played Snake are likely well aware of the concept. Keep on racking up points and combos by perfecting stages and you’ll multiply the points you earn before entering “fever mode.” In this mode you move much faster and earn more points than you can dream of, essential for getting those high scores required to unlock every little thing in this game. Also, during fever mode, the screen becomes a rainbow and the music becomes very action packed.
And don’t go thinking the game will get stale, because there is so much to unlock and do in this game. For those of us who have the privilege of having friends, an insane multi-player mode called “arena” should satisfy. At first, you’ll start out with a very gravelly and eeeeevil male voice commentating the action. However, more sound packs can be unlocked, including a robot lady who seems quite reminiscent of GLaDOS of Portal, although admittedly not as entertaining (because one cannot improve upon perfection.)
The arcade mode is but a taste of all the action. Soon you will unlock “nostalgia mode.” Nostalgia mode gives you a single stage, and has you picking up all the eggs while avoiding your own trail and any other obstacles along the way. Only when all eggs have been collected can you advance onward. But here’s what makes it really interesting. The game is modelled off “the olden days,” when TV was black and white and grainier than a field. Classic old timey music will accompany your adventure and your cat is not dissimilar in appearance to Mickey Mouse while on his steamboat adventure.
As well as this, you can also access “laboratory mode.” This is a case of getting all the pickups in the fewest moves as possible. When you move your character in a direction, it will continue to slide until it hits a wall. Spiky cell like monsters exist in the lab, which follow a set path that always seems to be in your way. The music here is very chilled and mellow, and is actually our personal favourite of the soundtrack. This mode is a large contrast to the other modes, but all three are similar in one way. Imagine threading a needle. Using only your toes. And while wearing sunglasses. And an eyepatch. This comes nowhere close to advertising how difficult this game is. But of course, it’s a game themed off retro games. It’s not going to be a cakewalk in the park. It’s a stale-biscuit walk through a pond of magma.
There’s no doubt that this game is filled to the brim with content, all of it a very high quality. This game is also a love letter to those in need of some old fashioned retro games. Not only do you get this, but it’s also imbued with the powers of amazing music, rainbows, and cats. This game takes a modern twist on the older genres, but it does it to a level that we feel is difficult to reach: near-perfection.
Of course, the game isn’t for everyone. For those looking for a massive game, Pix the Cat probably isn’t going to be your cup of tea. It’s not exactly Skyrim, and you can count the number of gigabytes this game takes up on zero fingers. The modes don’t provide much more than what they show, so if the game doesn’t look like it will appeal to you it likely won’t. As well as this, a lot of the game has to be unlocked through skill, so if you can’t master a mode you may be irritated that you’re unable to try something new. However, if you’re a fan of all sorts of retro games or like the idea of being a feline pied piper, we couldn’t recommend a better game. For £6.99, it’s a fairly decent price, and a good purchase (or “purrchase” if you’re into puns.)
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