Earlier this year, Pixel Chat Games and publisher The Secret Service Inc. released a charming endless runner/platformer for Windows Phone called The Adventures of SlingCat. Windows Central's own George Ponder was impressed with the game's cartoon-like graphics and array of distinct levels (always a plus in endless runners).
Fast forward to today and SlingCat is back, this time on Windows 8 and RT. Not only has the Adventures of SlingCat recently prowled onto tablets and PCs, it's also a universal purchase. Buy the Windows Phone or Windows 8 version and you'll get the other version at no additional cost. The game runs great on my Surface Pro, its large screen showing off the hand-drawn artwork and variety of animal characters. Read on for full impressions and hands-on video!
Cartoon cats on an adventure
The game starts out with a fully animated introduction. SlingCat and his overly eager pink cat companion are in the midst of a treasure hunt on a tropical isle. Suddenly an evil pirate wolf or something swoops down, riding on the back of a bird. The villain grabs half of the map as well as the unnamed companion cat. Now SlingCat must catch up with him to get his map piece and partner back.
The introduction has some fairly impressive animation that nearly rivals a low-budget television cartoon. You rarely see so much hand-drawn animation in a game, let alone a smaller indie game like this. That attention to detail carriers over to the game itself. SlingCat has a fair variety of animations, including some very expressive ones in which he growls at enemies, etc.
I don't care for the actual art style, which is a little on the homely side. The character designs are a bit off, and the backgrounds need more detail. But the backgrounds do have plenty of parallax scrolling, so this still looks better than many indie games.
As you'd expect from an endless runner, SlingCat has simple and intuitive controls. The heroic blue cat automatically runs from left to right. Just tap the screen to make him jump, avoiding enemies or collecting coins. Tap again to double jump. If playing on PC, you have to use the mouse for control – no keyboard option, unfortunately.
After running through a level filled with platforms, traps, and bad guy animals, you'll reach a safe at the end. Now SlingCat must shoot the safe open and fend of hordes of oncoming bird bombers. To fire SlingCat's bow and arrow, drag on him and aim. It's your standard Angry birds-style aiming mechanism.
During these defense sequences, SlingCat can pick up special arrows dropped by the enemies. I've seen Shark arrows and Double arrows so far. The Shark arrow goes through multiple enemies, chomping them along the way. Double arrows have a weird arc and aren't quite as useful as you'd think.
The defense sections are a good idea, but they go on way too long. Watch our gameplay video and you'll see – the enemies keep coming and coming and coming, long after the player has seen all there is to see from that portion of the level. The developers would do well to limit the segments to thirty seconds or so, and maybe find a way to add more variety while they're at it.
Get that treasure!
I feared SlingCat would be another uninspired endless runner, with no real objective or goal. But Pixel Chat Games has done me one better, giving the game a real bit of story and lots of levels to conquer. The cartoon-style graphics should appeal to kids, and the simple controls make the game easy to get into.
If you're looking for a quality indie platformer, SlingCat might be the purrfect choice to scratch your itch. It even has a free trial, so download it meow.
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