Like any arcade game worthy of your time, Pix the Cat is a game that is simple to pick up and play – yet difficult to master. This indie title from a small French studio called Pastagames released on both PlayStation Vita and PlayStation 4 as part of October’s PlayStation Plus Instant Game Collection.

Explaining Pix the Cat is just as difficult as it is to master the game. Playing as Pix your objective in each level is to collect the ducklings that are in their eggs and take them to the safety of the circles that are located in each stage. Once all of the ducklings have reached their safe haven a portal to the next stage unlocks where you will repeat the process and so on.

The effect when moving from one stage to the next is fantastic, with each stage appearing within the one that came before it, like a picture within a picture. You can move back and forth freely between the stages, ducklings and all, if you need to get out of a sticky situation or use the previous stage as a sneaky shortcut through the stage you are tackling.

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Pix the Cat starts you off at a reasonable pace where you will find yourself manoeuvring through levels and dropping off our ducklings with relative ease. Attaining a high score in Pix the Cat’s Arcade mode is done by raising your combo meter and attaining a ‘Perfect’ stage. To perfect a stage you must collect all ducklings without depositing any of them and then drop them all off in their individual circles once they are all following you.

As you rack up the Perfect stages and the combo meter grows, the game will pick up speed. You will find that the game really does test you when the pace picks up and it does become a challenge to stop the Cat from careering into the tailing ducklings. As you delve deeper into the game’s Arcade stages, you will come across enemies in the form of Skulls and spike obstacles that will halt your combo and will cause you to lose any ducklings that you are ferrying about.

To achieve the highest scores in Pix the Cat you will need to fill your combo meter to activate ‘Fever Time’. In this state you will be travelling at fast speeds and collecting a lot of points for continuing your combo. In Fever Time you can crash into the skulls that litter the later levels to earn 10k points per skull to really boost your total score.

When this all clicked into place for me and I was perfecting multiple stages in a row, I felt unstoppable. The game’s visuals and audio draw you in and I was soon hooked in a trance like state, ploughing through the stages until I inevitably crashed into my own tail of ducklings and lost a chunk of my combo meter.

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The various stages that you will play through are designed to perfection, the only thing to blame for failure will be yourself, and I often beat myself up for daft mistakes rather than blaming poor design. The only complaint that I can aim towards Pix the Cat is that at times the controls do feel a little unresponsive and this can leave you powerless to preventing a perfect run from ending.

Alongside the Arcade mode, Pix the Cat has two additional modes – Laboratory and Nostalgia mode. Laboratory mode sees you tasked with getting the ducklings to the exit circles in a set number of moves. The twist here is that whichever direction you chose to move in, your character will slide in that direction until a wall halts your move. This mode does not match the pace of the Arcade mode but it does offer a more cerebral challenge, one to really get you planning out the perfect path.

Nostalgia mode is another brain-teaser. With a fantastic aesthetic look that is reminiscent of early black and white Walt Disney cartoons this mode will task you with collecting a set number of eggs within a certain timeframe. This mode starts off relatively simple but it soon escalates to levels that feel nigh on impossible. The sense of achievement when you do succeed in these stages matches the feeling of relief from knowing that the stage can be beaten and that the game is not trolling you!

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It is testament to Pastagames’ design that Pix the Cat rarely frustrated me as I played through the game. I found myself constantly picking up my PlayStation Vita to try and better my previous score, unlocking the aforementioned game modes, additional characters and voiceovers as I did so.

With the game being free for PlayStation Plus members, it is inexcusable for those that have access to this gem for free to not play it. For those that do not have the luxury of PlayStation Plus, I would highly recommend this game. It is great for short burst of play but be warned, I often found myself playing for well over an hour after I picked up my Vita with the intentions of a quick 5 minute game.

I must admit that when I first saw this game it wasn’t one that I really paid much attention to, I wasn’t too fussed about whether I would play it or not. Now, after spending a good amount of time playing this, I am glad that I did take a chance on this title and can safely say that Pix is a cat that got the cream!

REVIEW OVERVIEW
Presentation
Gameplay
Lasting Appeal
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Charlie Large is the Deputy Editor of The Vita Lounge and has been a part of the site for over 2 years! A fan of all things PlayStation, he spends most of his time playing, writing, talking or thinking about games! You will find him currently splitting his time between his PS4 and Vita trying to work through an ever-rising backlog of brilliant titles!
  • Lester Paredes

    this game is so much fun! YES! I just wish the load times were a bit better. Oh well.

    • Robert Backland

      While the load times were a little rough, I had a hard time with the controls on the Vita. I never got the hang of it.

      • Lester Paredes

        Really? I mean, yes, there’s a slight learning curve (cuz it’s been a while since I last played a pac man game) but it didn’t take long gone until I was back in the groove.

  • Matt

    I’ve only played this for the PS4, but it has daily challenges! After you get a high enough score in arcade mode (1,000,000, I think) you can play them. They’re like the main arcade mode but no randomization (which the arcade mode features a little of).

    Really cool game!

  • Risarovi

    Great review.

    I agree, I did expect nothing from this game. But it feels like old-school arcade: the time goes by and you do not realize at all.

    I wish all the little games that are coming to Vita have this quality and amount of fun.

  • Buckybuckster

    One of the best pure arcade styled games I’ve ever played on the Vita. 100% fun and equally as challenging. Coming from such a small studio, Pix will really impress you with it’s high production values. The visuals, sound FX, and BGM are of the highest quality and are a testament to Pastagames’ programming prowess.

    I do agree with Robert that (especially at higher speeds) the Vita controls can be a bit of a stickler. But with practice, you should find yourself winning that battle with ever more frequency. I haven’t checked, but I’ve read that Pasta has plans to improve the game, so maybe a manual sensitivity adjustment can be added in the future.

    Really wish I knew how earn more time on the clock.. or even if it is possible. I’ve seen demo vids with timers that have over 270secs. on them. Thanx for another great review Charlie!