Puzzle game

Cat review: a seemingly simple puzzle game except for psychedelic cats

Cat might be the strangest video game I’ve ever played.

In Cat, you play as a small pixelated cat face navigating through short mazes. Mazes are often filled with obstacles and bullets getting in the way of your route to the end, and if you hit a wall for too long you will be zapped and lose a life.

This is only part of the experience, however. It’s the psychedelic aesthetic that melts the mind that permeates every aspect of the game that makes Cat come out.

Image: team reel

Almost all the mazes Cat offers a whole new visual experience, and most have vivid colors that regularly change, change, or flash as you navigate the level. The intensity of the graphics can feel overwhelming at times, often distracting me from completing a level. In one, for example, almost the entire background was occupied by a looping video of giant teeth chattering.

Every now and then, I even noticed that my eyes hurt while playing, forcing me to stop. When you start Cat, he suggests seeing a doctor before playing video games if you have epilepsy or have had reactions to flashing lights. There is also a very brief message that “player discretion is advised”.

Music doesn’t make the game any easier to play. The soundtrack regularly mixes different genres and sound effects to create eerie and often uncomfortable soundscapes. In a section of a song, a low, industrial hum rumbles under occasional guitar hits and incomprehensible mumbles. Sometimes these mashups created interesting lo-fi hip-hop beats. But more often than not, the music just got me on edge.

The mazes themselves are short and each has different mechanics and puzzles that are fun to figure out, despite everything that is going on. Some mazes allow you to time movements on constantly changing platforms. Others have timer buttons that reveal a new platform that you will have to walk through to get to the end. Sometimes you just dodge a lot of bullets.

I was able to complete many mazes on my first try, and the ones that tripped me up at first would get easier with practice. The game also has some really weird bosses. During a stage of a boss fight, there is a dog with three heads fused into one that shoots lasers from its eyes. Bosses often reminded me Subtitlethe memorable final enemy of.

Everything on Cat is overwhelming, and I’m sure the game is trying to make you feel like you’re high on the catnip. But the absurdity of this vanity works. A part of me was still looking forward to what an unexpected combination of visuals, sounds and puzzle solving awaited me with each new maze or boss fight. It sometimes hurt my head trying to figure everything out.

Cat launches February 19 for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. It is already available on iOS, Android, PC, Mac and Linux.