I have spent the last two weeks trying to write a review for Pix the Cat. I started by loving it, however it quickly became frustrating. With my desire to be able to write a good review, I was determined to unlock some other modes so at least I could write a fully formed opinion. My score got better, then better, and finally I realised I had spent a lot of time playing Pix the Cat. Time where I had gotten better and better, but also addicted.
Pix the Cat is a cross between Pac Man and Snake. You guide Pix around mazes and have to rescue chicks. The more you rescue, the longer the ‘snake’. You crash into the snake – game over. You have to get the chicks to the exit points dotted around the map. Simple.
Only it isn’t. There are hazards, skulls, spiked balls etc. Hit the wall, you have some time to make a decision on a direction, but this is lost speed. The more chicks you have and the longer you keep in motion, your multiplier and your speed builds. The faster you go, the more points you get, the better your score. Each game is timed, so this counts.
These are the basics. But there’s way more to it. For starters, the limited time and set maps each time give you opportunity to learn the best routes and maximise your score, bettering each time. There’s some slight variation but you can generally work out patterns. However, the faster it gets, the more challenging it is as you’re more prone to mistakes. Not making them is the key to a high score. Another factor is ‘perfect’ing a map. You do this by building the maximum chain in each level, then saving all the chicks. A longer chain makes things harder, so this plus the speed is a challenge. You want to perfect as many levels in your run as possible, so you’ll want to get through them as fast as possible.
Sound plays an important role in Pix, with a hissing indicating that you’re making perfect turns. Fast paced beating music adds to the adrenaline as you navigate the mazes, and the booming announcer shouting ‘COMBO BREAKER’ becomes your worst nightmare as head meets hands. Keep the combo going and you hit ‘FEVER MODE’. And then it gets really good.
Pix makes you feel like you’re on acid. The visuals are bright, colourful and they pulse. Think Pac Man DX style. Each map exists within another, so once you’re clear you head to the exit and it zooms into the next. Sometimes it won’t fully zoom, requiring a bit more focus and eye strain to see. All part of the challenge. Each time the multiplier goes up, so does the speed, the music, and the colour scheme changes. Fever mode is the ultimate change up. The visuals really begin to pulse, flash, music goes insane, Pix is super fast. You can’t break your combo at this point, but you can headshot skulls. Oh yes.
Skulls are some of the baddies occupying the mazes. Fever mode lets you run into them instead of avoiding them for a points bonus. If you’re near an entrance to a maze you can go back up to previous levels and get the skulls – assuming that you can keep your combo going.
And that is Pix. All those elements come together, you have an addictive, adrenaline filled 300 seconds. There’s some other modes available to vary up play style although the skill wall is quite high at first before they start unlocking. There’s a starter mode which has more structured mazes which help train you in corner turning and getting used to the multipliers. There’s a real mixture of music and artwork to unlock – not really my most favourite unlockables in games, however Pix has a sense of humour about it showing Pix in some interesting situations (I won’t spoil it).
Puzzle mode gives you a certain number of moves to clear each map, collecting the chicks and avoiding baddies. Nostalgia mode turns Pix all Steamboat Willy style, with classic tunes and animation having to collect appearing eggs as quickly as possible. These are welcome additions which provide some good variety to Pix. Finally there’s a Daily Challenge mode, given you a new set of maps every day.
Long term it remains to be seen how Pix will hold up. Does it have enough variety? Well it really depends on how much you like chasing your and your friends scores. Over two weeks later, I’m still playing though and finding new ways to do better and improve – and that’s a mark of good game.
Reviewed on PS4/Vita