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.
Better than the original – and that was already an excellent platform game for phones and tablets. So snap this one up meow
Inventive and colourful
Superb control system
Plenty of secrets to find
Level gating might frustrate