The Vita has become a home for quirky and fun arcade experiences over the last few years but we’re not sure we’ve seen anything quite like Pix the Cat before. A sort of strange hybrid of Chu Chu Rocket, Snake and Pacman during his neon phase, it’s one odd cookie of a game and all the better for it.
The game has a simple premise – that being to get Pix the Cat to crack open eggs by moving around the squares of an enclosed arena and thus collect the ducklings within. The ducklings then follow in your footsteps and act like your tail would in Snake. You have to lead the ducklings to safe spots on the grid while avoiding dangers or getting yourself trapped in corners. It’s a simple premise but one that works very well.
If you can get all the chicks in a stage following you around you get a bonus. This also acts to speed up your cat. Your cat also speeds up every time he makes a sharp turn meaning that the game is constantly getting faster and faster. Once all the chicks in an area have been delivered home you can dive through a door to the next area and continue the hunt for points. Ever deeper you go with points stacking up, neon pulsing and music blaring away, all the while with a clock continually counting down to the end of your run.
Hitting your tail, an enemy or getting trapped in a corner doesn’t kill you but instead means you lose your points for the ducklings you are carrying and your combo meter drops. If you can keep the combo going long enough you’ll see the screen change to a sort of x-ray state and this allows Pix to crash into enemies for big points (like eating a super pill in Pacman).
As well as the arcade part of the game there is also the lab mode which is more of a puzzle type of thing. Here you have a par number of moves to try and aim for to solve a self-contained puzzle. It’s a change of pace from the normal pulsating action but one that is a more than welcome addition to the core formulae.
As you progress and gain higher scores more and more options become available to you. You can play with both your and your friend’s ghosts on the screen from their best runs, alter the voices and drop into a number of additional modes. It all adds up to a nice package of bite sized arcade action. Our only really gripe is that there isn’t much here that going to appeal to people who don’t want to chase high scores as the level layout of the stages doesn’t really change apart from occasionally mirroring itself.
Overall, Pix the Cat is an unexpected and delightful addition to the Vita library. It’s taken the core elements from a few classic games and managed to create something fun and exciting from them. It’s not going to appeal to everyone but for those of you looking for a score attack game this could be the one to have you hooked for a very long time to come.