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…
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 the 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.
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!
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.