App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS
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When I first previewed Cats Away back in June I was fairly surprised by it. I mean, here was this game that essentially came out of nowhere to combine Katamari Damacy-like “pick up stuff to pick up even bigger stuff” mechanic, fused with something akin to one of those quarter-munching prize claw machines and hordes of cats. But that was just over a month ago, and an earlier build no less. So does the finished product live up to unexpected expectations of awesomeness? Yes. Yes it does.
So the blast brought about by a supernova is threatening a whole lot of feline-infested planets. A lone duo of aliens (cat adoring aliens, mind) decides to take on the monumental task of rescuing them all by snatching them up with their ship’s tractor beam. In practice it boils down to dragging the ship across the screen with a finger while attempting to snag kitties and power-ups and beam them up. More kitties rescued means a stronger beam, which means even more and larger kitties can be lifted and lead to some massive scores. Coins can be earned both through scoring and by finding them in a level and are used to purchase new ships or upgrade any that are already owned. Some are obviously better than others, but certain UFOs have special abilities that might offset the lack of beam power or combo multipliers.
I certainly wouldn’t mind droning on and on about how Cats Away’s gameplay feeds into itself and creates a sort of perpetual entertainment machine. I also could preach about the clever and quirky power-ups or secret cats to find and acquire in various levels. But really the most important thing I want to talk about is fun. Specifically just how unexpectedly and ridiculously fun this game is. This is a time-eater in one of its purest forms, folks. Best make a note of that.
I’ll admit that Cats Away isn’t perfect (no purr puns here!), though no game truly is. However it’s not exactly crawling with inadequacies. It’s a bit slow in the beginning thanks to a fairly low-grade starter ship and it can take quite a while to earn the necessary stars to unlock more stages. However most of this is offset by the fun (did I mention it’s fun?) of it all, as well as the ability to buy better ships even if most of the remaining planets are locked.
I would’ve never expected to be singing the praises of a game about rescuing cats with a flying saucer, but I suppose stranger things have happened. It might take a few attempts before Cats Away truly picks up, but once it does it can be incredibly difficult to put down. Because it’s super-fun and flippin’ adorable. Although dog lovers might be somewhat immune to its charms.