Reader Review: Pix the Cat (PC, PS4, Vita)

PIX_BOXPix the Cat is a new classic styled arcade-like game with modern visuals and aesthetics.  You can download it on PC and PSN, but my good friend Robbie Allen reviewed it on Steam here.  He seems to have really liked this game, so do be sure to check out his review!

Being a child of the 80s and 90s I spent a lot of time at my local arcade, and if there’s anything I miss from those games it’s how bizarre and abstract games were allowed to be back then.  Admittedly most of this creativity was done due to the limitation of the hardware at the time more than anything else, but that still does make the levels of experimentation creators went to at the time any less imaginative or enjoyable.   This is one of the reasons I’ve really enjoyed the current indie game boom, is we’ve seen a lot of experimental and creative ideas that feel like they harken back to the golden age of arcade gaming.  Some of these titles go complete to the point of replicating the look and sound of these classic games as well as the gameplay, why some try to do classic gameplay with a more modern style of music and visuals.  Pix The Cat is the latter and I love it for that very reason.

Pix The Cat plays similar to a classic game called Snake.  It was a simple game where you moved a snake around a room eating fruit, with each piece you ate your snake would grow longer and longer and the object was to see how long you could keep the snake moving around the screen without its head touching any other part of its body.  Pix The Cat takes this simple idea, but greatly adds to it and gives it modern graphic and sound flair similar to the game Pac-Man: Championship Edition.  So the graphics are simple, but with lots of modern day visual effects to make them really pop and stand out as well as an awesome modern day techno soundtrack.  The gameplay is also very simple in concept, but difficult to master, but that’s where the fun is.

In Pix the Cat you move your abstract cat around a maze collecting duck eggs.  With each egg you get, a baby duck appears behind Pix.  The more eggs you get the longer the trail of ducks following you becomes.  You then have to take the ducks to the targets located on the level to collect points and add to your combo meter.  You need to try to do this as long as you can without having Pix run into any walls or into his own trail of ducks, doing so will break his combo (complete with a Killer Instinct-ish “COMBO BREAKER!” comment) and deduct part of your combo meter.  You’re also encouraged to collect all the duck eggs BEFORE you take the ducks to the targets.  Taking a duck to the target without collecting them all will also break your combo (but takes less off the combo meter then running into walls or your trail of ducks) and score you fewer points for the remaining ducks.  Once all the ducks are taken to the targets, portals will open up to the next maze and the cycle continues. Later levels increase the difficulty by adding in enemies like skulls and spike balls that will also break your combo if Pix runs into them, and levels that require more puzzle solving to get your maximum duck combo (like inserting previous levels to get around hazards in the current level).  You have to do all this while competing against a clock to see how many points you can get before the timer runs out.

The combo meter in the game isn’t just to get more points either, the more you fill your combo meter the faster Pix becomes and the more intense the graphic and audio effects become.  If you completely fill the meter you go into fever mode where everything speeds up to its fastest state and it’s the only time you’re invulnerable to the skull enemies that appear in the game.  In fact hitting them while in fever mode eliminates them from the maze and scores you 1000 points.  However if you do anything else that would break your combo, you’ll be kicked out of Fever Mode and have to build your meter back up to it.  Fortunately it doesn’t take your meter back down to zero, but it still will take some time to get back into Fever Mode.  The controls in the game are liquid smooth, but intentionally get harder and harder to control as Pix speeds up. So quick reflexes are a must if you want to keep fever mode going on as long as possible.

Overall, Pix is an amazing game that pays homage to classic gaming while also giving it a modern twist.  It also comes with a variety of unlockables as well.  Scoring high scores will unlock new mazes to play, a crazy fun multiplayer mode, ghost modes to compete with yourself or even the developers, other announcer voices, new gameplay modes, as well as art and soundtrack pieces.  It’s a great package that’s not only fun and worth it’s money, but has a lot in it to keep you coming back for more.  So not only do I highly recommend Pix the Cat, I’ll go as far as to say it’s my new favorite game on Steam right now.  So I urge everyone to give it a try, you won’t be disappointed.


Kid Factor:

Kids will enjoy the colorful graphics and fun gameplay.  The harder levels might cause a bit of frustration for some really young children, but even then they’ll probably still get a lot of enjoyment out of the game.  –Robbie Allen

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