Review #010: MagiCat (Nintendo Switch)
Reviewed By: Chad M.
Developed By: Kucing Rembes
Published By: Toge Productions
Category: Platformer, Puzzle, Action, Adventure
Release Date: 9.20.18
And meow it begins...
Retro side-scrolling platformers have that special warm cozy place in my heart. They have ever since back in 1985 when I’d sit at my uncles house watching my aunt speed run through Super Mario Bros. I was in pure amazement as she jumped through obstacles and avoided baddies along the way. Since then, platformers have evolved over the years, but almost always seem to come back to the roots tugging at our nostalgic heart strings. Magicat goes for that nostalgic tug, but also adds in a lot of new devices that give it that modern feel as well. But is it worth your time? Let’s find out right meow.
Harry Catter journeys onward
What can be better than a short Italian plumber to lead your platformer? How about a cute magical cat? Okay, so maybe not better. But what the lead lacks in charm, he makes up for in being cute as a button. In fact, the whole game has cuteness in spades. As a story, it’s pretty thin with no real dialogue or true direction. An ominous red monkey in a top hat steals a blue crystal artifact from the lead protagonist. Magicat can not stand for this so he leaps into action.
Wizard World of Feline Proportions
Magicat takes chase of the red monkey across 63 levels that are spread across seven worlds. Scattered in each level are all kinds of different enemies that look just as cute as Magicat himself, but are still very deadly. Each level has a mini-boss and each world has a world boss that pushes to step up the challenge to make sure your platformer abilities are tested. When first on the map you see all the worlds around you. As you jump in, you find a level of greenery and this almost seems too straight forward. That quickly changes in no times as you traverse caves, frozen ice worlds, cold harden steel levels and magical candy lands. But again don’t let the cute and fun level designs fool you, as danger is at every turn. Some levels even go further allowing you to interact with the environment by jumping on buttons to make platforms appear and even giving Magicat temporary telekinesis to move platforms.
As I moved through the levels, I saw this wasn’t a straight up side scrolling platformer. Magicat has special powers as most wizards do. He can shoot fireballs, power dash and has a high jump that when descending down, he wiggles his little legs and floats down slowly. As the story progresses, you will unlock items that can aid in the adventure like special hammers that can smash through the environment and secret reviving spells, just to name a few. Littered through the levels are blue magical potions and shiny silver coins that are also dropped when destroying an enemy. You use both these items as you move through the levels.
The blue potions can be used to activate check points throughout the levels. Also, the shiny coins are used to add cat lives to Magicat. Therefore, he can be revived throughout the level when in a tight spot and allowing you to not have to restart from the beginning. The amount of lives will increase if you die multiple times in the same level, so gathering both of these are key to survival. Each level also has three large red crystals that I had to work hard to attain. As I got deeper in, I had to skip them to finish the game. So going back to gather every single red crystal adds a large replayability as well as speed runs.
Controls & Gameplay
Magicat felt very tight in its controls as you jump, glide and dash around. You can shoot fireballs or jump on the head of enemies to take them out. All movements and commands were very crisp. Now saying that I breezed through the first five or so levels thinking this would be too easy and a little boring, oh my, was I wrong in so many ways! The level designs became more challenging, where I had to be very precise in my choices of how I moved through the obstacles. I can’t state enough how genius the level design is. Punishing, but genius.
The enemies never seemed to become any more aggressive than before, but they do come on stronger in numbers. Those blue potions I mentioned before can also be used for a super dash that helps you land on hard to reach areas. Magicat can also duck down low and crawl through tight areas. You’ll use all of these items and controls to maneuver through as it became very hard towards the end, almost feeling cheap in the way of deaths. All I have to say is I hated the “darkness” level. When I beat it, I never wanted to see it again.
Audio & Visuals
What Magicat has in leaps in bounds is that nostalgia that most retro side scrolling platformers bring or at least try to. The music and sounds feel very “old school” in a great way. I was tapping my feet to the music as I zipped through the levels. The visuals are crisp and very bright, but more than anything it’s so darn cute. Watching our main protagonist scurry around in his tiny wizard hat just oozes adorable sweetness. Enemies are cute in their own way too, as most felt like they were plucked from games like Pokémon. Each get reskins and new abilities to try and keep things fresh.
Wrapping up the whiskers
As stated before, I love side scrolling platformers and Magicat lands right in that wheelhouse. It does enough to make its own mark by changing and adding things to the gameplay and design. However, don’t let the very adorable look of the game and overly all around cuteness fool you. This is aimed for the hardcore platformer lovers. I highly recommend you pick up Magicat and help him get back the treasured relic.
Final Score: 9/10
Follow Toge Productions
*Review Code Provided by Plan of Attack