App Reviewed on: iPad Pro
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Bubbles the Cat is a one-touch platformer that has a lot of things going for it. It has lots of different powers, varied level design, tight controls, and—of course—cats. While it may look like nothing more than your average runner on the surface, Bubbles the Cat is a super streamlined and satisfying platforming experience.
In Bubbles the Cat, you play as a cat who is hopping and wall jumping through six worlds full of ridiculous platforming action. There are lasers, spikes, alternate dimensions, ghosts, and all manner of other things standing in your way of grabbing tasty cat treats and reaching each level’s exit.
Your feline protagonist isn’t scared of all these hazards, though. In fact, they run headlong into the danger without leaving you much say in the matter. This is to say that Bubbles the Cat is an auto-runner, where your main focus as the player is timing jumps appropriately as your cat moves forward on its own.
Just because Bubbles the Cat is an auto-runner doesn’t mean it should be lumped in with titles like Temple Run that create random infinite stages. The levels in this game are hand-crafted to test your skills and reflexes in specific ways. What’s more is Bubbles the Cat features a whole suite of cool jump-based abilities that allow for some really creative platforming puzzles in each level.
At its simplest, your cat has a “bubble jump” power that enables up to six mid-air jumps that recharge when you hit the ground. There are also powers that let you: build walls in mid-air, bob up-and-down like the bird in Flappy Bird, fire off powerful explosions that can kill enemies and destroy walls, turn into a ghost and float upward, and more. These powers all get tied to your simple tap to jump command, and Bubbles the Cat makes great use of mixing and matching these powers to create fun and satisfying challenges throughout.
Bubbles the Cat can get pretty intense, particularly in its later stages, but it never forgets it’s designed for a mobile device. Most levels can take less than a minute to complete, but during that time, you’re acrobatically bouncing off walls and combining multiple powers to sail through a tight path full of obstacles, all using simple taps. If this ever feels too simple, the game also features par times and collectible challenges for each stage. In addition to giving you a sense of accomplishment, completing these optional objectives grants you cosmetic rewards that let you customize your little kitty character in fun ways.
As Bubbles the Cat gets more demanding, you’ll end up dying and restarting levels quite a bit. Fortunately, this game instantly restarts a level whenever you die, so you’re never frustrated by a death for too long before you’re just trying again. This is not a particularly new idea for demanding platformers, as Super Meat Boy was doing this kind of thing a decade ago, but it is still super convenient and helps keep you engaged with the game over long stretches.
For all that Bubbles the Cat does right, there are some levels that can feel oddly too easy in each world. Many of these easier levels show up around the introduction of a new power, which makes some sense. That said, these tutorial-like stages feel a little too hand-holdy, especially since the rest of the game is so tightly designed and demanding.
The bottom line
Bubbles the Cat is a fantastic one-touch platformer. It’s levels are brief, but extremely inventive and demanding in equal measure. Plus, it features cats. What more could you want?