There are those who dismiss indie games as “real” games because they think that if there isn’t a huge publishing company behind it or millions of dollars thrown into development, there’s no way it could be any good. That to me is just a crock of bull. By dismissing indie games, you are missing out on some of the most fun and unique games out there. Indie developers aren’t afraid to try new gameplay mechanics or pursue story ideas that might be way out there. That’s why I for one support indie games. Some of the best games I’ve played this year have been indie games and especially on the PS Vita. One of the latest games I’m checking out is Scram Kitty DX by Dakko Dakko. Scram Kitty DX is a fast-paced action platform shooting game with a 360-degree twist.
Scram Kitty is at the mercy of an ever-expanding army of maniacal mechanized mice! You must use your magnetic Spinboard to ride energy rails deeper and deeper into the station and defeat the twisted mouse creations of a science experiment gone terribly wrong.
Scram Kitty DX is a game that you have to pretty much figure out on your own. The point of the game is to rescue these space cats from the evil space rodents. Mainly it just seems like you pilot your vehicle to the end of the level, rescue one cat, and you’re done. There’s so much more to the game than that though. Here’s where the “figuring it out own” part comes in. Without any instruction, you must figure out how to rescue the remaining cats. For instance, a cat can be rescued if you collect all the coins or if you destroy all the enemies. It’s never quite clear how to do it, you just have to do it. In this respect, the game also acts a bit like a platform puzzler as well.
The first level does its best to acclimate you to the gameplay. You’re riding around on a vehicle called the Spinboard which can only travel along magnetic rails attached to the walls. These rails circumnavigate the whole level and you’re able to travel most of the border with it. The Spinboard isn’t entirely stuck to these rails though as you’re able to jump and double jump off them either to attach yourself to other rails or to grab objects. There is “gravity” of sorts and your Spinboard will try to attach itself back to which ever rail you originally jumped from unless you actually grab onto a new rail.
Your Spinboard also has the ability to fire weapons, but only in the direction that your guns are facing. You can not independently control fire direction. The only way to change the direction of your weapons is to change the direction of your Spinboard via whatever rails your are attached to. Another weapon at your disposal is if you double jump, it turns the Spinboard into something like a fireball that can destroy enemies and objects.
Because there are enemies and objects that can cause damage to you, there is a health bar you must keep an eye on. If the health bar goes down, you explode. You can replenish health by picking up these little health packs scattered around most levels.
Levels are unlocked based on the number of cats you’ve rescued. With that said, this is a game where you will have to rescue all cats from a given level in order to progress much farther in the game. There are 29 levels present which may seem like a little, but trust me when I say that will take some time before you ever finish them all.
- Multi-objective stages
- Distinctive weapons for ultimate destruction
- Thousands of miserable mice minions to defeat
- Gorgeous pixel graphics mixed into 3D worlds
- A blistering original electro-synth soundtrack
- Fiendish PlayStation Trophies to test your mettle!
- A completely overhauled Challenge Mode, with online ranking!
Scram Kitty DX has a really nice visual style to it. It reminds me a lot of later generation Japanese platform games with all the bright colors and lighting effects. What I like about the game is that despite it being a very 2D game, the visuals, mainly the levels themselves, are done in 3D. The blending of 2D and 3D is quite nice and really adds to the overall look and feel of the game. It gives an otherwise flat game a real feeling of depth.
There’s also a lot going on in the game at once. Rarely will you encounter a part that is completely empty, except for some of the earlier levels and at the very start of the game and the game is a real visual treat. Is it going to blow your mind? Probably not, but you’ll be quite satisfied with it nonetheless. It looks great on the PS Vita but I have not seen what it looks like on the PS4.
Like the visuals, the audio portion of the game is also quite well done. The soundtrack is so good and again, reminiscent of traditional Japanese shooters. Same goes for all the sound effects used. This really is a good looking and sounding shooter that has great gameplay to back it up.
Scram Kitty DX has a lot going for it. It’s visually pretty and an auditory joy to play. I like how the levels are laid out in such a way where you can choose to play the game in short spurts or marathons. You can choose to try and unlock as many levels as you can with the number of cats you’ve saved or obsess over each and every level trying to save all the cats in each before moving on.
What I like though is the challenge. It’s a fun game, but one that requires a lot of skill and tactics in order to overcome those challenges. I like how the game doesn’t spoon feed you what you’re supposed to do and instead you have to just figure it out on your own. There are some games that require tutorials, this one doesn’t.
If there’s one negative that Scram Kitty DX has, I surely can’t find it. You could maybe nitpick that there are only 29 levels, but to me, they are so challenging that it will take you a while to beat all 29 anyways. Plus after completing those, you still have the challenge mode to tackle.
Scram Kitty DX is a game that I feel all PS Vita owners should definitely check out. It makes a fantastic portable game and because it’s also a cross-buy title, you’ll be able to download it to your PS4 and play on a march larger screen if you choose to do so. Not only that, it’s cross-save enabled so you sync your saves between devices.
Review code provided to us by the publisher/developer.
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