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‘Cat on a Diet’ for iOS game review

We all like to see console-quality games on the mobile platform. But while these games look great in demos, they often don’t play very well on a touchscreen due to the lack of physical controls. I have personally been more fond of simple, casual games on mobile that manage to be fun without being too heavy on graphics and employ a simple control scheme that takes advantage of a touchscreen rather than be crippled by it.

Cat on a Diet on a diet is a new casual title from Chillingo, the people who brought us games like Cut the Rope in the past. This one is along similar lines, but features a new character and gameplay elements that are different enough to warrant a new game. Let’s take a closer look and see how this one fares.

Title
Cat on a Diet
Developer
Chillingo Ltd
Platform
iOS
Release Date
September, 2013
Content Reating
4+
Size
44.5MB
Price
$0.99

Gameplay

In Cat on a Diet, your objective is to guide the cat to a jar of cookies by manipulating the environment and also collecting the three cupcakes in each level. Manipulating the environment involves things such as cutting wooden boards, unscrewing metal blocks, turning gears to move planks around, operating trolleys, magnets, and a lot more. As with Cut the Rope, getting the three cupcakes is optional and reaching the cookies is a lot easier if you avoid them but then what’s the fun in that?

The game starts with some very easy levels to the point where it almost starts boring you but a few levels in the pace picks up and things get more interesting. By the end of the first level pack, you realize the game is a lot more difficult than the cute animations suggest.

The cupcakes appear half-eaten because they have been collected before when the level was first completed.

Despite that Cat on a Diet is never too difficult. Some puzzles will have you spending a lot more time than others but at no point does the game feel impossibly difficult. Unlike some other games, there is a fair amount of room for trial and error here. There is the ideal way to complete the level where you get all the cupcakes but you can improvise and find other ways to achieve the same goal.

The cat physics, that is the way the character bounces around, are never the same so in some cases it won’t fall exactly where you want it to so you have to device an alternate strategy or restart and try again. The restart button is going to be your best friend in this game and in most levels you are going to be pressing it at least half a dozen times before you complete it properly.

There are a lot of levels in this game. You have three level packs in three environments and unique gameplay elements to each along with a few common ones. There are 24 levels in each pack and there is also a bonus level pack with another 24 levels that get unlocked as you collect more cupcakes. For the price, there is a lot to play here.

Graphics and Sound

Cat on a Diet has a cute, animated visual design with a rather plump and bouncy cat. It’s not the most visually appealing game I’ve seen but the animations are nice and not far from some of the better 2D games out there. The visual design is clearly geared towards appealing to children and from that point of view it’s perfectly fine.

Sound-wise, again, there is not much to say. Neither the music nor the sound effects (save for the sound of cookie chomping) particularly stand out but don’t give much reason to complain, either.

Verdict

Cat on a Diet is the quintessential casual game. You don’t need to be supremely skillful to play it and the puzzles are complicated enough to give you a challenge without giving you a hard time. It’s the kind of game you play on a lazy afternoon or give your kids to play, if you have any. It’s particularly suited to kids, who would find the visual design far more amusing and puzzles will give them a good mental exercise as well. For the one dollar asking price, there is a lot of fun to be had here, which makes it very easy to recommend.

Rating: 8/10
Pros: Plenty of fun and challenging levels
Cons: None in particular

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