Pix the Cat Review – Going in Circles (PS4/Vita)
With the industry so focused on AAA titles, it is sometimes nice to go back to something more simple and more focused on specific mechanics. This is the main thing I have always enjoyed about games that categorize themselves as a part of the arcade genre, and is exactly how I would describe Pasta Games’ newest title, Pix the Cat.
Launching as a cross-buy title for the PS4 and PlayStation Vita for $16.49, Pix the Cat is an interesting pick-up-and-play title that is a mash-up between PAC-MAN and the game found on almost all cell phones in the 90s, Snake. Having wasted many hours of schooling playing through Snake, I was well acquainted with the style of gameplay, and welcomed the interesting twist that this digital title offered. The game stars Pix, a badly designed 8bit cat, who is tasked with hatching a number of ducklings who will follow him around until he guides each one to the safety of their own circle.
As Pix picks up more ducklings, a tail of followers will grow and so will his speed and a score modifier. This will continue to increase until he goes into Fever Time, a sped up state where he can move around almost uncontrollably fast. Being able to get around quicker is great, but this is usually where I would lose all of my bonuses and ducklings in tow, as I cornered myself or ran into an enemy.
Most of Pix the Cat revolves around running around trying to dive deeper into each level before the time runs out. Visually this looks interesting and is conceptually impressive, as the next level is embedded within the track that you are currently on. Then, when you are free to move on, a doorway opens on the track, allowing you to adjust proportions and dive deeper the game. This works great as a puzzle mechanic, as you can pick up ducklings in one level, then run back out to the previous one and lead them back through a different door, allowing you to approach or reach areas quicker than otherwise possible.
As an added layer of depth in being able to traverse each puzzle in as quick as possible, Pix has the option to skate on the walls to speed up if you press against one of the walls you are running parallel to. Finding this type of depth in an arcade game like Pix the Cat was surprising and refreshing, as I found myself trying to cut down on my time as well as master this technique.
Sadly, this leads me to the biggest issue I had with Pix the Cat. As a game that is solely dependent on its ability to give accurate and responsive controls, there are times when the skate feature will apply itself when you don’t want it to, causing you to fly past corners you tried to take. This issue only becomes exasperated when you build up modifiers and gain speed, making the game difficult to control on either the PS4 or the Vita.
Overall, Pix the Cat is an interesting game, and will definitely be fun for anyone looking for a simple title with a decent amount of replay value, especially, if you try out its 2 to 4 player local only multiplayer, which lets each person hatch their own string of ducklings and try to take out the opposition by cornering them off. But, I would be cautious about picking this one up unless you have a history of spending long hours on arcade games such as PAC-MAN Championship Edition DX.
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