Review: Scram Kitty and his Buddy on Rails

In my history of playing games, I’ve come across many different types. Some have caused reactions than I didn’t expect. I haven’t been brought to tears, but I’ve been saddened. I’ve been uplifted when I’ve liberated places under an enemies boot… and I’ve been so frustrated that I’ve actually bitten my NES controllers out of pure frustration/rage. It has been a long while since I’ve visited those days. Scram Kitty and his Buddy on Rails pulls me back to those days with ease. Scram Kitty won’t like me when I’m angry…

Lasers, creepy mice, and crazy timing jumps included. Those with a lack of determination need not apply.

Lasers, creepy mice, and crazy timing jumps included. Those with a lack of determination need not apply.

At first glance you’ll think to yourself that the game design is solid and quite easy. Within the first few levels you’ll come to realize that there is no tutorial (which seems to be a theme with me lately…) Like I’ve said before, this isn’t always necessary and there are definitely times where a tutorial can drag a game down pretty quick. However, while most of the controls in Scram Kitty are directional keys and a jump button, the main factor is placement, angles and timing. It’s all well and good until you need to do some pretty acrobatic junk to beat a time or make some crazy jump.

Along with crazy jumps is the weird use of your TV and the Gamepad. While you may switch what each screen shows, so does the data. You’ve got to watch the screen with the HUD on it because the other screen will randomly jump around showing you different tips and locations of the cats. It can also give you hints on what it takes to unlock certain cats in the level. The worst part is that you have to look away real quick while the action happens on the other screen. It’s neat, but it is admittedly awkward. I can’t think of another way to do it better, so this may be┬áthe conclusion they came to as well.

While you are navigating the level you’ll be attacked by some crazy looking mice. You’ve got two options on how to take them down. There’s this timing jump that puts your cat into a spin and lights you on fire. Don’t worry, it’s apparently the good kind of fire that only hurts others so it’s fine. You also have twin blasters on the “front” of your … rolly-craft thingy (yes, that is a technical term.) Sometimes it’s just easier to shoot things and the meaner rats don’t like to be touched by your spinny fireball. Go figure.

Like I said, spinny fireball move.

Like I said, spinny fireball.

To achieve greatness in Scram Kitty, one will have to endure failure. You main have to die a lot of times to save just one cat. That cat may just be the difference of being stuck in the game and progressing forward. I’m usually a “leave no man(kitten) behind” kind of guy, but let me tell you… there are kittens that I’ve just wanted to give the bird and leave them in the cold recesses of space to wallow in their lonely pixelated lives. On the positive side, you can only pick up one or two cats a level and keep going if you have enough to unlock another section of the map. Also, let’s say you only got the first cat out of four for just getting to the end (raises hand), well then you can come back for just the lucky cat that comes out when you collect 100 coins and then finish. Then you can come back in a third time for the cat that teleports a few times when you touch him making you run around on the map all crazy like (inevitably forcing me to abandon him and move onto other cats). I like having the option!

Scram Kitty is tough, this much is true. I can't fault them for it, that's the game they decided to go for. It can get frustrating and obviously so. However, I recommend playing this game with friends and trading turns watching others fail where you did and possibly noting a hint of how to do something better. They say a lot of things are better with friends. Scram Kitty and his Buddy on Rails is that game. Played by myself, I didn't fully enjoy it. I played it again with some friends and the enjoyment factor went up considerably. I guess misery loves company and I now move to call this game Gewd.

Scram Kitty is tough, this much is true. I can’t fault them for it, that’s the game they decided to go for. It can get frustrating and obviously so. However, I recommend playing this game with friends and trading turns watching others fail where you did and possibly noting a hint of how to do something better. They say a lot of things are better with friends. Scram Kitty and his Buddy on Rails is that game. Played by myself, I didn’t fully enjoy it. I played it again with some friends and the enjoyment factor went up considerably. I guess misery loves company and I now move to call this game Gewd.

The older rating right after being kicked in the teeth and written in the heat of the moment is below. I thought it only fair to share this with you as well.

While Scram Kitty and his Buddy on Rails achieves what it, no doubt, heads out to do to in making a difficult game, maybe they tried a little too hard to make it so. I think that if they simply included a tutorial to show you how to play with the physics other than just throwing you into the trenches and chuck you a rifle, it would have alleviated some of the pain. I'm not saying that I want all games to have the option to have me walk all over them, but I was having difficulty on level five. Maybe if they would have waited until level ten and puffed up my ego a bit more while teaching me the basics. I'm all for a challenge, but while the game is solidly enough made, I fear they've blurred the line between a challenging game and a frustrating one. Some people may dig a challenge, I think I've found my limit.

While Scram Kitty and his Buddy on Rails achieves what it, no doubt, heads out to do to in making a difficult game, maybe they tried a little too hard to make it so. I think that if they simply included a tutorial to show you how to play with the physics other than just throwing you into the trenches and chuck you a rifle, it would have alleviated some of the pain. I’m not saying that I want all games to have the option to have me walk all over them, but I was having difficulty on level five. Maybe if they would have waited until level ten and puffed up my ego a bit more while teaching me the basics. I’m all for a challenge, but while the game is solidly enough made, I fear they’ve blurred the line between a challenging game and a frustrating one. Some people may dig a challenge, I think I’ve found my limit.

Jonathan Amarelo Sig

Here's what I was talking about. It's also not about the size of my under ten year old teeth marks, but the fact that a game drove me to the point of doing such a thing. Luckily, even as a child I never thought to throw my toys at a TV...

Here’s what I was talking about. It’s also not about the size of my under ten year old teeth marks, but the fact that a game drove me to the point of doing such a thing. Luckily, even as a child I never thought to throw my toys at a TV…


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