Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPad Air
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
At this point it feels safe to say that cats have taken over the entire internet. And with cyberspace becoming an increasingly important part of society, pretty soon cats will be the ones running the world. Luckily, if Cat vs. Aliens is any indication, cats will at least faithfully protect their new domain.
In Cat vs. Aliens, evil globular extra-terrestrials are invading the front lawn and only one cat can stop them. This is no ordinary cat, however. Using its psychic powers, this cat launches mind bullets to keep the alien hordes at bay. The game is basically just Space Invaders, but instead of pressing a button to fire shots players pull back and launch mind bullets like a slingshot. This method offers more control over speed and trajectory, and also lets players bounce shots off of walls.
Players will need all the tricks they can muster because Cat vs. Aliens starts tough and never lets up. Waves come in fast and furious, and if just one enemy makes it through it’s game over. It’s virtually impossible to blast every foe on screen one by one no matter how fast the player can shoot. However, by targeting the brain at the center of each alien cluster players can wipe out whole groups with a single shot. This usually means killing a few barrier aliens first, but it’s really the only strategy with any chance of success. There are a few special skills, like the “purricane” that charges over time or other abilities that must be purchased, but they come so infrequently that players shouldn’t put their faith in them. They also shouldn’t put too much faith in the occasionally wonky hit detection.
If Cat vs. Aliens doesn’t win players over with its time-tested gameplay, it certainly will with its wonderful throwback aesthetic. It’s not retro in the sense that the graphics are pixelated. Rather, the bold colors, flat environments, angular designs, and eerie music evoke the very specific style of low-budget 1950s sci-fi movies as seen through web culture. If Cat vs. Aliens wasn’t a video game, it would most definitely be a cute but schlocky B-movie.
Cat vs. Aliens succeeds through well-executed renditions of familiar gameplay and genre tropes. I for one welcome our new feline overlords.