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Review

Review: Captain Cat

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New to the iPad is Captain Cat, an iOS game that stays close to vein of popular mobile games today while carrying a couple of unique features that makes it an enjoyable game to play through. Prepare to embark on one of the most complicated fishing trips you, or any sea faring cat, has ever seen.

Written by Patricia

Gameplay

The gameplay mechanics are simple and introduced slowly throughout the boards.  The core mechanic requires navigating your anchor, that swings like a pendulum, down towards the fish, by tapping the screen when you want the anchor to drop down in the direction it is facing.  Each direction change yields a knot in your rope and you navigate your anchor through obstacles to pick up coins and catch the fish while minimizing the number of knots you use and the time it takes. Advanced obstacles include teleporting black holes, drift currents, jellyfish, sea urchins, and eels, while some power ups include drift free anchors and tunneling anchors.

The rewards in the game are achieved in a way that may appeal to the more casual gamers.  As in many games, there are three stars (in this case starfish) to collect.  One for acquiring all coins, one for completing the board within the time limit, and one for not exceeding the knot allotment for a given board.  In contrast to most games, these achievements can be attained in separate playthroughs of the same board, so that the player can attain all the stars without having to complete a perfect run.  For those of us who like a sometimes frustrating challenge, all three stars are attainable in a single try for each board.

Strengths and Weaknesses

The highlights of this game are its fun colorful visuals and some of the advanced obstacles (think of portals and excursion funnels from Portal 2).  While some ideas may be borrowed from other games, there is enough creativity to make it enjoyable. It also has a reasonable difficulty curve that walks you through the progression nicely. There are some interesting nuisances to the game such as the other sea life that act as living obstacles and the tunneling anchor power-up which can penetrate the rocks but only lasts for one anchor drop.  However, we also found a couple of frustrating boards where the period of your anchor and the period of obstacles can be out of sync, so it’s nigh impossible to complete them. This can be overcome by restarting the board a few times until the periods are more advantageous.

We also played through the game while stationary at home but would anticipate added frustration to anyone playing this on the road, bus, etc as the precise timing involved may be difficult with any outside shaking.

Lastly, it appears your scores on individual levels aren’t visible for you to scan through after you’ve completed a board.  Your score is shown when you complete a board, and there is a cumulative score displayed for a set of 25 boards, but scores for individual boards don’t appear to be shown.  This becomes noticeable since you get get all three starfish without getting them all in one try.  So, if you want to move on from a board before being able to get all three starfish at once, you can’t really tell which boards to go back and play again since there are no low scores to look for.

Bottom Line

At its current size of 50 boards, Captain Cat yields several hours of gameplay and, overall, if you’re a fan of board by board mobile games that offer a bit of a challenge to your reflexes more than your puzzle solving skills, Captain Cat is a fun game to play through at the reasonable current price of 1.99 USD/CAD, 1.29 GBP or 1.59 EUR. A version for iPhones is currently in the works. If we get a code, Konsti will certainly check it out in our Mobile Monday segment.

The screenshots were taken by us.

Captain Cat
System: iPad (soon also on iPhone)
Genre: Puzzle game
Price: 1.59 EUR / 1.29 GBP / 1.99 USD/CAD
Developer: Digital Tentacle (Worked on Castlevania: LoS, Heavy Rain)
Publisher: Digital Tentacle

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