Pix the Cat Review: Purring on the Nintendo Switch
It's nice to cleanse the gaming palette once in a while with a fun and quick game, rather than something narrative-driven, riddled with side quests, or full of complex character creation.
Back in 2014, the team at Pastagames created a game for that specific moment. Originally released on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita, Pix the Cat is a mash-up of two of the most iconic video games ever created: Pac-Man and Snake.
You play as Pix and in each puzzle, you are tasked with collecting ducklings and bringing them to certain spots in the puzzle. You collect them in a similar way to how Pac-Man picks up orbs, but imagine if those orbs lined up behind you and created a long tail kind of like a snake.
Sounds simple, but that's because it is. Pix the Cat is a game that is quick, and easy to grasp so you can just run with it. As you play through its four different game modes, that initially easy concept transforms to bring you a challenging puzzle game that is good in short sessions or for a fun game-night with friends.
In the game's Arcade Mode, you are given 300 seconds to get as far as you possibly can. There are no loading screens; you move from one puzzle to the next as you complete them. You start off with a simple puzzle while moving at the slowest speed, but that speed dramatically increases as you progress, ramping up the difficulty as you go.
As you play through the puzzles, you must maneuver your way around objects and sometimes enemies. This includes making sharp turns and trying not to have your tail of ducks surround you (which ends the puzzle immediately).
If you can't handle the increasing speed and find yourself not able to make the quick turns necessary to bring the ducks to the right location, the puzzle will end. If you can handle the speed, you will start building up a combo score, which will carry through all the puzzles.
One of the best parts of the game's Arcade Mode is the background music. It goes perfectly with the speed of the game and will make you feel the pressure to deliver the ducks.
In Arena mode, you and up to three friends take to the battleground and compete against each other. In this mode, you collect the eggs that will form your tail, and what will be the ammo you use to take down the other players.
If you don't want to use the eggs to destroy your friends, you can eat the eggs instead and perform a dash ability that can also hurt your opponents.
You can also activate the ghost feature, adding a new wrinkle to the game. When your Pix turns into a ghost, you can go after your friends. If your ghost hits a friend's living Pix, you will come back to life and your friends Pix will become a ghost instead.
While I didn't spend too much time in this mode, I can already see that it can make for a fun and relationship-ending game night next time I have people over.
Laboratory and Nostalgia Modes
While Arcade and Arena are the most polished game modes, the game has two more to try your hand at.
The first of the two modes is called Laboratory. In this mode, you are tasked with picking up cells and taking them to the marked spots on the puzzle. The trick with this mode is that you are given a Par score to match, like in golf. You can, of course, go over.
What differentiates this from the Arcade mode is that when you complete the puzzle, it doesn't immediately send you into the next one. You will go back to the mode screen and choose the next level.
The other difference is that if you forget to pick up a cell and already dropped off the other ones, the puzzle will end.
I didn't find this mode that entertaining or fun to play. The basic gameplay is pretty much identical to the Arcade mode, which is much more entertaining.
The final mode is Nostalgia, where you have to collect all the eggs on the screen before the flower gets eaten by the goat. It sounds strange, and it is.
If you visualize the horse-racing carnival game, it is similar to that. Collecting all the eggs before the goat eats the flower will give you a perfect score for that round.
- Arcade and Arena mode are fantastic.
- The soundtrack is motivating and keeps you moving.
- The other game modes (Nostalgia and Laboratory) don't add much to the game.
- Very fast-paced (Only a con if you have slow reflexes)
Pix the Cat is a quick and fun palette cleanser to play before you go to bed or in between intense gaming sessions.
While the Nostalgia and Laboratory modes don't have much to offer, the Arcade and Arena sections of the game carry the load to make this a fun game to pick up.
The Arcade mode is fun to play alone and with friends. Once your 300 seconds are up, you can easily pass the Switch to your friend and see if they can beat your high score. Or you can take it to Arena mode and go head to head to see who is better.
While the game has been on the other major platforms for a few years, it just arrived on Switch this past week and is priced at $9.99. If you love arcade games and love the rush and intensity of games getting faster as you go, this could be the game for you.