Review: Pix The Cat

the media is Video Games
the developer is Pastagames
the publisher is Focus Home Interactive
it was released on the 29th of january in 2015
it costs £6.99 on steam (win/mac/lin) or £7.99 on psn (vita/ps4) [at the time of writing]
i played the windows and vita versions, both of which i purchased myself
all screenshots contained in this article are taken from the media kit found on the dev’s website.

PixTheCat_screenshot_002.png

Pix The Cat is an arcade title put out by Pastagames, a game studio based in France. Pastagames have previously put out two different titles using the same titular character, Arkedo Series 03: PIXEL, which – go figure – was produced in part with Arkedo (who you may know as the developers of Big Bang Mini on the DS) and Pix’n Love Rush which was essentially a remixed & retooled version of PIXEL for the PSP. Personally, I’ve only played the latter game, and despite it’s slightly repetitive gameplay, it was a neat little time waster for a cheap price. But that’s not what we’re here for.

No, what we’re here for is Pix’s (Pixes? Pix’?) latest video game outing, the rather aptly titled “Pix The Cat“. Continuing the arcade style and trend of the previous Pix titles, PTC is a fast-paced action game wherein you play as the titular character, running around mazes, collecting eggs which then turn into ducklings that trail behind you. Once all the eggs in the maze have been collected, you have to drop all the ducklings off into the crosshair marked areas dotted around the floor, upon which a portal will open up allowing you to traverse down into the next layer/level of the maze. Of course, it’s not actually that simple.

PixTheCat_screenshot_004.png

The layout of each egg and cross-hair on the maze has been especially placed rather than being randomized, meaning that there’s always a specific way you should go about traversing each level, collecting specific eggs in a specific order. After all, if you end up running into a crosshair before you collect all the eggs, the remaining eggs on stage will crack and you lose points and your combo. Or worse, you could end up doubling back on yourself, being trapped within the duckling trail a la Snake, or against a wall. The problem is, it’s way too easy to actually end up doing either of those things.

Y’see, Pix The Cat fancies itself as a bit of a successor of sorts to Namco Bandai’s game PAC-MAN Championship Edition DX+, even down to the slowly inclining speed as you progress through the game. But where CEDX+ succeeds is where PTC fails. What made CEDX+ so good was how, despite the different formations of pellets and ghosts, the shape of the maze mostly kept the same throughout the course of each game (depending on what mode you played) – meaning all you had to concentrate on was correctly entering each side of the maze to lengthen your ghost trail and collect all the pellets whilst avoiding the four regulars. Simple, yet effective.

PixTheCat_screenshot_008.png

However, PTC sort of tries to mimic this and completely fails at it. While, yes, the mazes don’t actually change, meaning you can eventually learn the in and out of each successive layer, this doesn’t avoid the fact that the controls are too awkward for the speed that the game quickly reaches and the bizarre layout of the later levels also don’t lend themselves very much to amending that either. To make matters worse, enemies are added into the mix as well. Thankfully, from what I have seen so far, the only moving enemy will harm Pix and Pix alone – it simply patiently waits for the duckling trail to move out of its way before continuing along its set path.

While the speed of the game does add some difficulty, it doesn’t exactly feel like an actual challenge and more of a massive annoyance that makes me wish I was playing a different game. The speed at which the, well, speed of the game increases means that by time you hit level 5, you’ll probably very close to hitting the “too fast” margin. The game encourages keeping combos up, but not to a point that dropping off a duckling into a crosshair will completely mess up your combo. Thankfully. Run into a wall or your own trail however, and all of the ducklings in your trail and their crosshairs disappear and you lose out on those points.

PixTheCat_screenshot_017.png

On a more positive note, the game looks absolutely stunning. As your combo meter goes up, the games visuals upgrade – a motif carried over from Pix’n Love Rush. Starting out from a rather pleasant light blue setting, before upgrading to a red tinge, exploding into orange circuitry and finally into a wild flashing colour frenzy known as Fever Mode, gained when you completely fill the combo meter. Pix itself is also a very cute little critter, looking a bit like a weird blue marshmallow with ears, a tail and lil cat face.

The music is also something of note, very nice blippy bleepy electronic music that fits the vibe of an arcade game like PTC almost too perfectly. It’s probably my favourite part of the game honestly. There’s also two extra modes in the game which one can unlock from playing the game, including one which makes it look like a 1930’s cartoon – however I’ve not played enough to have unlocked it so I cannot comment on it at this time.

PixTheCat_screenshot_026.png

Despite my general dislike toward this game, it has received a lot of positive reviews from Steam users and other video game websites, so don’t take my word for it – Try It!

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Review: Pix The Cat

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