App of the day: City Cat review (iPhone)
The never-ending dash through New York, Paris and Moscow that is City Cat feels like an explosion of Sonic the Hedgehog meets Nyan Cat in a parallel Jetpack Joyride world. Colourful, engaging and tricky to stay in play during the later stages, City Cat has had us hooked for days on end.
- iOS | Android
The free-to-download app is focused on a jumping kitty – that’s you – who collects coins and items as he runs along, rainbow colours spilling from his tail, across the side-scrolling screen. Things start at a slow pace where shorter jumps and fewer obstacles and enemies are relatively easy to conquer, but it’s not long befer the progressive pace – the screen’s movement sets the speed – puts things up a notch, while fireballs, trampolines, chimney stacks and all manner of other things make City Cat a great challenge.
Unlike the myth, City Cat doesn’t have nine lives – he has only one. Hit a wall, fall off a ledge and it’s game over. Additional lives can be bought by incremental use of diamonds – one for the first demise, two for the second and so on – which are earned through obtaining points or, if you want, bought from the in-game shop. The shop doesn’t demand real cash spend, however, as the in-game coins that you collect can also be used to buy goodies to make the game more manageable. Extra lives are available from the start, as are additional power-ups that beef-up in-game power-ups.
And boy are the power-ups a fur bit crazy. City Cat turns into Hulk Cat – complete with green skin and Chiklis-style jaw – who can knock though the heavy stuff without injury, while the jetpack sees our furry feline propelled through the air at pace with only the tilt mechanism control of your smartphone to guide his path.
At the end of each cityscape an alien ship teleports City Cat seamlessly to another and the run continues, never slowing and certainly not getting any easier. By the end of a decent run you may have been through a dozen lives and scored big – only to then be transported back to the very beginning upon death, where it feels like someone’s put the slow-mo button on. Having to start at this slow pace each time is a slight annoyance, but it’s part and parcel of how the game works – much like Jetpack Joyride’s slow-to-fast build-up and constantly moving screen.
You’ll soon be playing again and again, however, as there’s something addictive about mastering those single and double jumps and the simple tap-on-screen control mechanism makes this a game accessible to all. A fur-uture classic if we ever saw one.
By Mike Lowe