Cat Bird – retro-inspired platformers on mobile
Cat Bird is the latest in a long line of retro-inspired platformers on mobile. It’s got the usual (though admittedly gorgeous) pixel visuals, chiptune soundtrack, and minimal three buttons to tap.
We don’t mean to complain – it’s a formula that works a treat on mobile. But it is starting to feel a little tired at this point. Do we really need another one?
More like Cat Bat
Cat Bird takes most of its cues from Super Meat Boy. Each level is dotted with traps to avoid, difficult platforming segments to navigate, and hidden items to collect.
It’s very precise, requiring pinpoint jumps and perfect timing to avoid the worst each level has to offer.
It’s good, then, that the controls are completely reliable. I can’t recall a single time I died because of control issues. It always felt completely my fault, which eased the frustration when dying over and over.
The one unique mechanic also helps a lot. As the title suggests, you’re part cat, part bird, which means you can hold the jump button to glide at any point.
That gives you a little extra time to ensure you’ll land successfully and avoid that thing. And it’s a godsend. The touch controls might be excellent, but they’ll never compare to a real controller. This mechanic takes away that problem entirely.
It’s also completely gorgeous, with pixel visuals rivalling even that of Fez. There are some lovely lighting effects, awe-inspiring animations, and a nice variety to the different worlds.
Then there’s the lovely chiptune soundtrack. This is a game that you’re going to want to pop your headphones in just to soak up the atmosphere.
But there’s one weird issue I can’t escape – the title character looks way more like a bat than a cat bird hybrid. Cat Bat is even a much catchier title – what’s that all about!
Cat Bird or Cat Bat – you decide
Daft complaints aside though, Cat Bird is a wonderful little slice of retro platforming goodness. Sure, the genre may be a little tired at this point, but it’s hard to complain when it’s this good.
And that’s all thanks to solid touch controls, a glide mechanic that allows for tough platforming segments while giving you the tools to navigate them safely, and those lovely aesthetics.
The only real complaints are that the title character looks more like a bat and that the ads are a tad intrusive. But the first is perhaps too daft to even register as a complaint, and the second can be alleviated with a cheap IAP.
Whether you love this genre or not, Cat Bird is well worth at least checking out. It doesn’t break any new ground, but it’s a solid and beautiful example of the genre.