What a Cat-Astrophe (the plot, not the game).
Russian developer Nevosoft (Million Dollar Quest, My Kingdom for the Princess 2) has taken the increasingly popular endless-runner genre and infused it with a healthy dose of 8-bit charm and adorable kitten action in the newly released City Cat. This new title finds its hero in a cute li’l cat named Pixel whose food has been cruelly stolen by a heartless gang of aliens. In order to reclaim his fridge full of goodies, he must now traipse across the globe’s most beautiful and iconic cities dodging obstacles, picking up dropped foodstuffs, gathering coins, and upgrading his unique arsenal of powers.
Though it might sound a little too cutesy for some gamers, City Cat is actually one of a mere handful of endless runners that bothers to provide some form of motivation beyond running for no apparent reason. This cat is hungry, and it is actually pretty funny to think of a feline so ferociously dedicated to his food that he would travel to all ends of the earth.
Luckily, Pixel won’t be without help. Littered throughout each city are timed power-ups that come in the form of abilities like rocket-propelled extra speed, helicopter propellers for hard to reach coins, and the ability to hulk out (Pixel literally turns green, and purple pants magically materialize on his little kitty legs) and tear through obstacles like spikes, construction cranes, and more. Certain abilities can be upgraded through the front-end store with either collected coins or micro-transactions. It’s outrageously fun to zip across the sky with the helicopter power-up, and even more so to take down everything in your path as the Hulk (though we won’t be surprised if there are legal ramifications down the road as Pixel looks so much like Bruce Banner).
At its core, City Cat is a deceptively simple title, but as Pixel travels through New York, Moscow, and beyond, the challenge ramps up while remaining satisfying. By applying unique mechanics and a system of upgrades, gamers will find themselves repeatedly promising they’ll just try one last run. Double-tapping the screen results in a double-jump which, when timed correctly, will keep you from falling into a pit or allow you to reach a few extra coins. Pressing down with both thumbs simultaneously yields even more height, and like all endless runners, adds nicely to the overall challenge.
And just in case you wind up inadvertently chucking your kitty off a building or run into the side of a construction project, you can continue your run with the help of crystals which are earned through positive performance or can be bought with real-world money. In case this sounds like it makes things too easy, each continue for a specific run costs more crystals each time you take the advantage. Nevosoft has nicely included a daily crystal bonus which can be redeemed once every 24 hours, so micro-transactions are completely optional.
The MIDI sound effects and super-80s chiptune soundtrack are as retro as it gets, and even though these can be muted, you won’t want to miss the brilliant throwback tunes and sound effects. This audio work is fun for those of us who were around in the glory days of the NES, and for a new generation of gamers who might be interested in the colorful history of games.
This is casual gaming at its finest, and since it’s free, we’re calling City Cat a can’t-miss title. There are 30 achievements to strive toward, weekly online tournaments, and the ability to challenge your friends through Facebook. City Cat is exactly the kind of game that gives the endless-runner genre a good name, and is perfect for people looking to game for reasons ranging from short and sweet fun, to experiencing addictive competition with their friends. Download this game immediately.