Seemingly attempting to give Sonic a run for his money, Alex the Cat belts through dozens of colourful landscapes in this touchscreen platformer.
He’s on a quest to rescue his siblings, grab bling (this is, after all, a platform game), and try to avoid getting killed. Even though this chunky retro cat effectively has infinite lives, he’d still rather avoid being boiled alive in lava or horribly impaled.
Paws for thought
The snag is Alex will initially do an awful lot of dying if your games are anything like ours. That’s largely because although Super Cat Bros (Super Cat Tales on iOS) might look like it’s crawled out of a NES, it certainly doesn’t control like a typical platformer.
Instead of using a virtual joypad, everything’s controlled with two thumbs. Tap the left or right of the screen to scoot in that direction. Double-tap to sprint, which also results in the cat hurling itself into the air when running out of platform. Taps in the opposite direction of travel are for braking and wall jumps.
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The right cattitude
Initially, you’ll hiss like an angry feline when you blunder into a monster yet again, but you soon realise this is precisely the sort of thing developers should be doing – optimising for specific systems. Virtual controls here would be like using a standard joypad for Wii Sports – rubbish. And when the Super Cat Bros controls click, you’ll dart about like a pro.
Well, mostly. Even some hours into testing, our moggie still ended up running into walls due to a certain hamfistedness on our part. And then there are levels with ice, where the cat goes for a surprise skid. And the bits where the cat attempts to clamber up a vertical wall, but slides sickeningly slowly back down to the ground.
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The thing is, this all feels wonderfully observed, since these mishaps resemble daft things cats do when they’re not paying attention. And failure rarely frustrates, due to the combination of vibrant visuals and short levels that ensure trying again never becomes onerous.
The only fishbones in the craw are naff boss battles at the end of each level group, and occasionally irksome backtracking, once you get to the point of being able to switch between multiple cats with distinct abilities.
Not quite purr-fection, then, but still a cracking mobile platformer – and a no-brainer download, given that it’s free.
Super Cat Bros is available for Android and iOS (where it’s called Super Cat Tales). Ads, life timers and level locks can be removed using a single IAP, although none of the freemium trappings are particularly irksome if you’re in cheapskate mode.
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A hugely enjoyable, vibrant mobile platform game, which makes the touchscreen integral rather than an afterthought
Short, sweet, varied levels
Superb visual design style
Really smart touchscreen controls
Boss battles are a bit rubbish
Backtracking can irritate