My favourite era of gaming to date was the PS2 era where platformers could be simple but engaging without the need for crazy padding. It was also an era of great mascot platformers too and CATTCH reminds me of the smaller, indie side of the mascot platformer. It’s bright, colourful and have a defined set of rules the game sticks too. It also has personality to boot.
You play as a rainbow cat who needs to collect his kidnapped friends and reach the exit for each level within a relatively generous time limit. Every level is build with square blocks and there’s a nice touch where you see the entire levels layout in the options before you dive in. These square blocks are often in motion though and have faces on them if they are going to hurt you. This means that you’ll be jumping around between these blocks but often need to time things as squares move in and out of view or swap between safe and dangerous spaces to be. Most of your deaths in the game will come from falling off squares that vanish or slide of of view back into view, thus crushing you. Each of the three worlds takes this idea further, making more complicated rhythmic mazes to survive.
The other cool mechanic is the entire world can be rotated on its axis. This is limited to certain switches but keeps the levels fresh. You’ll be collecting stars alongside your friends and often these are uncovered post world spin, beating up some enemies or by sliding down walls. Rainbow cat is very dexterous and this makes CATTCH an enjoyable experience. Stars are also useful because its your star count that unlocks more levels. Each world has around 16 or 17 levels each and in theory you can skip a couple in your playthrough as you barrel towards the end of the game. CATTCH is fun enough to not want to skip though.
Adding to the blocky charm are the colourful graphics and the playful soundtrack. It makes CATTCH approachable for all ages and as you have unlimited lives (but specific checkpoints to respawn from scattered across levels), it is what I’d call a mild challenge game. If you want to 100% it, collecting all your friends and stars, it’ll take a few goes on some of the later levels but perseverance and making sure you think before you act is key to success. I finished the game in about 4 hours but had not 100%’d it.
CATTCH reminds me of a time when a platformer could just be a simple move set, a well designed physics and movement engine and being a straightforward playable game was good enough. It is a joy to remove all the modern trappings sometimes and just enjoy something that is pure gameplay whilst benefiting from modern quality of life improvements. It’s not going to change your world but I enjoyed myself whilst playing it. A bit like a good licenced movie or TV show platformer!
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