Pix the Cat

I don’t often like to make goofy comparisons or analogies, but while I was playing Pix the Cat I couldn’t help but compare it to a plate of food. Pix the Cat is much like a sampler platter of food items. On the plate are several tasty items in small portions. Each piece of food is good in its own right but it’s not a meal by any means. Pix the Cat, a fun action/puzzle game from Pasta Games is much like that. Each piece of the title is just a sample of something tasty but when it comes time to elaborate on that idea, it stops. There are actually several other games within Pix the Cat (outside of the main title the game is named after) and each add a different spin on the overall similar design. At the end of the day though, Pix the Cat ends up being a fun bite-sized time killer that never really progresses to anything substantial.

It’s clear with the presentation, art style, and gameplay that Pasta Games was inspired by past arcade titles. With Pix the Cat they’re able to take that inspiration and implement their own ideas for a unique, but short-lived, title. As Pix, the TV watching cat, players will progress through levels by collecting eggs. These eggs will hatch into ducks after collection and players will then traverse across the level to drop them off at specific points. The goal is to collect all of the eggs in the stage first, then drop them off at the collection points. Pix will start off very slow but as points are collected and stages are completed, combo and speed bonuses will quicken up the gameplay. Messing up an egg collection will result in a combo breaker (another nod to older arcade games) and players will be slowed back down to a more manageable speed.

Each stage connects with one another as Pix delves deeper into the levels of the television. There is a time limit that holds the action together and a really enthusiastic announcer lets players know about certain in-game events. I was very happy to learn that I could change the announcer because the original one that the game utilizes was a little annoying. I was much happier with the female robot voice.

While Pix the Cat has catchy music and bright and colorful graphics, some of the animations make it tough to continue the combination of points. The stage doesn’t take up the full screen and instead is centered on the television. The next stage appears as a smaller one on the outside of the current stage and a portal unlocks that sucks the player into the next level. Once in that level, the stage expands but still doesn’t use the full screen you’re playing on. When the speed really picks up traveling into the next level can be really difficult when you need the extra precision. Also, some of the stages remain small when you enter them and even on my 47” HDTV it was extremely difficult to see the action and control my character. Gaining bonuses and entering fever mode can also be tough to control due to flashes of lights and other elements of that nature. The biggest reason this is an issue though is the controls.

The controls in Pix the Cat just don’t feel completely accurate. You can use the analog stick or the dpad to control the action but both input mechanisms have their advantages and disadvantages. The analog stick is smooth when the action is a little slower, but the dpad is much better when you need to turn quickly and often. It felt like the controls for both of them needed to be combined together to feel complete. When I first began playing Pix the Cat, I was reminded of Pac-Man Championship Edition and ChuChu Rocket. The art style, music, and the announcer reminded me of the quirky and forgotten Sega Dreamcast title. The frantic action reminded me of the newer take on the Pac-Man series with Championship Edition. Pix the Cat matches Pac-Man CE in terms of the action on screen, but it fails to match the near-perfect controls. For a title that relies on rewarding players for uninterrupted scoring and precision, It was a shame the controls weren’t a little better.

Pix the Cat is a fun action title that features some quick gameplay, catchy music, and a vivid art style. The different games that make up the full package all feel like bit sized snacks instead of a full meal however, and the controls aren’t as accurate for what is expected out of a title that requires precision. Still, Pix the Cat is full of love for the games that have come before and inspired the developers. Arcade fans will get a kick out of the Easter eggs within the title, and the various stages and modes will keep gamers busy in-between the larger titles in the fall.