There’s a bit a few minutes into Super Cat Tales 2 where you realise it’s going to be superb.
The feline hero has by this point bounded about a bit, grabbed some bling, and therefore cemented their retro-infused platform-gaming credentials. But then they clamber into a bloody great yellow tank and blow hordes of doddering clockwork enemy robots into piles of scrap metal.
Somehow, this cute-as-anything platformer briefly decides to become Metal Slug. It’s a brilliant moment; but then you soon realise that Super Cat Tales 2 is a game packed full of brilliant moments – a true labour of love that’s one of the finest platform game experiences you’ll find on a smartphone.
The game begins with a mysterious army of tin soldiers invading Neko Land for nefarious reasons. It’s up to a band of moggie heroes – which you collect one by one – to save the day. Each has different capabilities, and you can switch between cats on the fly.
For example, default cat Alex is a dab hand at scrabbling up walls, whereas the first cat you find – an old warhorse – can sprint through non-spiky enemies unscathed. As you work your way through the game, you’ll spot impossible to reach areas; but then on acquiring a kitty with specific powers, you’ll realise you can go back and poke around a bit more.
Doing so isn’t so much a means of uncovering secrets – although the game has several – but a necessity, in order to find bells. These are a kind of currency for unlocking later levels. The only shortcut around these gates is to dig into your pocket (99p per section), which feels a bit like a cheat – and cheap.
This locking mechanism was the only time I felt the game hacked up a hairball, and even then it was a tiny one.
Everything else is just about spot-on. The game looks superb, with varied, imaginative levels rendered in chunky retro fashion. There are pyramids and woods full of crazed wildlife. Underground, eyes glint in the dark – which you soon realise are ravenous bats to avoid. There’s an adorable yet deadly dragon – and a trip atop a speeding train.
Super Cat Tales 2 nails the controls, too, only requiring the use of two thumbs – one on each edge of your device. Hold left or right and your cat tootles along. A double tap makes it break into a dash. Run off of the end of a platform and it leaps into the air. Prod in the opposite direction of a wall the cat’s clinging to, and it wall-jumps like a feline ninja.
With such smart design, the only reason to not install this one is if you hate platform games featuring cats. In which case, that’s a very specific gripe that makes me wonder how you read over 400 words into this very review.