Get out your scratching posts and prepare for a mouth-full of hair on your pillow. The cats are here and they’re milk-starved and about to invade your PS4 and PS Vita. Rumour has it, there is a world milk shortage and the cats, who are absolutely gagging for it, are prepared to resort to desperate measures. You see, the only sources of milk left on the planet are in mines deep underground, deep under the ocean. It’s time for the cats to get over their fear of water and learn how to operate a submarine – obviously. It’s time for the cats to go deep sea hardcore. It’s time for … AQUA KITTY!
Aqua kitty is a colourful and playful 2D shoot ‘em up. Pootling about in your little submarine, you must defend your feline milk miners from the terrors of the ocean. Blast away at the Paleofish, Nautilus and Angelfishies and keep a close eye on the Jellygrabs because those little sons-of-a-female-dog will snatch up your little miner kitty and carry him away. Save all the kitties – imagine Resogun with cats and a jolly C64 soundtrack and that’s Aqua Kitty. It’s a tiny little piece of inspiration.
Crossbuy and cute as hell, Aqua Kitty has solid controls and frantic gameplay. Distressed mewing will alert you when a catnapping has taken place and you’ll only have a short amount of time to dodge and blast the multitude of enemies around you to find and rescue your kitty comrade. You have a powerful secondary weapon, but use this tactically; it’s powerful but can only be used for a short amount of time and will need to be charged back up. Believe me, there will be times when you’ll be willing to sell your actual cat for that weapon. But instead of such scandalous behaviour, shoot the semi-frequent ‘friendlies’ and receive power-ups that will temporarily modify your normal weapon into something a little more up to scratch. Also pick up hearts to extend your short life (you really don’t have nine of them) and bombs to wipe the screen of the deadly pests swimming between you and your beloved ginger toms.
This is a tricky game. Anyone who has played Resogun or Defender will know the score, but there is an easier setting to make Aqua Kitty more accessible to younger or more casual players. More skilled players can crank up the difficulty with the Arcade mode. Aqua Kitty plays like an old classic. The underwater scenery reminded me of Sea Quest on the Atari 2600, but Aqua Kitty’s graphics are updated for the PS4 and Vita, giving it that attractive fake retro look we’re all so fond of. The old-school music fits the game purrfectly (sorry) and I would recommend headphones so you can get full and loud appreciation.
Aqua Kitty’s gameplay is a simple and already well-used concept, but its cute humour gives it a burst of charisma that other Defender clones don’t have. When things get serious and the enemies are flooding you, the warning meows will systematically add to the charm and increase your panic. No need to get into a complete cat flap, though, as you don’t need to save all the kitties to win a level, but who in their right mind could let even one little ball of fur be snatched up out of the ocean? At one time, I was owned by three cats. The almost constant meowing of distressed Aqua Kitty kittens gave me five-o’clock-in-the-morning-feed-me-flashbacks. I admit I may have shouted ‘FEED YOUR BLOODY-SELVES!’ at my Vita before I came to my senses and died trying to heroically save my kitties from the jaws of the jellygrabs.
While Aqua Kitty has lots of levels to keep players going for a while, there wasn’t quite enough variety to hold my attention for particularly long. I would have liked bigger and better power-ups, more difference between the levels and more enemy types. In the end, I felt like I was on a bit of a lather, rinse, repeat cycle. However, this is still a fun game. It’s a 2D shooter with good humour, cute graphics and firm controls. It doesn’t claim to be anything else. If that’s your thing, this is a damn good buy.
Aqua Kitty is a simple and solid little game that, despite a disappointing lack of variety, will still give hours of underwater feline fun. Fans of Defender clones will rejoice. Fans of cats will be clawing their way to the PSN Store. Put down those buggy AAA games for just a moment, and lap up this furry little treat.
S J Hollis Rating – 7/10