Remember those wire buzzer games from the 80’s and 90’s where you had to thread a coil around a metal maze without touching it? Puss! is the modern take of this as a video game, placing you as a cat head working your way through a glitchy vaporwave TV screen that’s out to kill you.
Puss! has personality and psychedelic colours in spades and it’s the games biggest strength. Our titular friend tired of pizza and cuddles dives into its owners’ TV in the opening cutscene and then proceeds to work through a randomised selection of levels. Each level is like a moving mechanical maze that you need to negotiate with your mouse. Click on the puss to take charge of it and move your mouse about to guide it through the maze. At the end of several levels, you’ll have a boss of sorts before moving onto to the next world.
As you complete a level, you’ll get a meow of joy and depending on how quick and precise you were, your awarded points. Points equal more lives which means you’ll get further in the game because Puss! is hard as nails. Often you’ll need to observe a level to judge the movement patterns, or avoid bombs from enemies, or work out which switch opens each path. The game’s aesthetic also plays its part as often the game feels like it’s a magic eye puzzle trying to hypnotise you into losing his concentration. Add to that the games love of making super narrow corridors to zoom down quickly and you’ll be screaming at the screen in no time.
However for all that frustration, Puss! is still well made. It’s infuriating yes, but it is rare that you’ll feel that its the games’ fault you lost. Occasionally collision detection with the edges are a bit harsh but usually, you’ll get a static white noise and mini screen glitch to warn you that you are touching it before you die and that is a great quality of life gameplay element. I do wish the game would also work with a controller as I think an analogue stick would work better for people with wired mouses (like me). There is an option to change the mouse sensitivity which is great, but often you’ll be reducing it which means you’ll lack precision or speed and then you’ll get caught by the moving mazes instead of your own ability. Just be prepared to rage.
A copy of the game was provided by the developer for review.
A rage-inducing game that keeps you calm with its kitties. Puss! an interesting concept with some great aesthetics but your mileage will be only as long as your steady hand and your temper.
Psychedelic and trippy vaporwave cat demons.
Randomised level order (not level layout) means if your struggling you will see different levels to give you a break.
Simple idea that will infuriate you when you can't do it properly!
No controller support.
The infuriating difficulty sometimes makes the game feel unfair and your eyes bleed.
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