Street Cats Review
Street Cats: The Motherfluffin Game is the first iOS venture from First Commit. This action-packed swipe-and-slicer puts you in control of the rodent-murdering paws of a cat, tasked with slicing up hordes of vermin while trying to stay alive. Is Street Cats good enough to let into our homes? Or are we better off leaving it out on the streets to fend for itself?
What do you get when you swap Fruit Ninja's chunks of banana, kiwi and pomegranate out for blood, guts and rat viscera? Why, you get Street Cats: The Motherfluffin Game, of course! At its core, Street Cats is simple -- you take control of a rather rotund cast of cats in order to roll around levels, swiping away at legions of ravenous rats of all shapes and sizes.
Just as Street Cat's premise is simple, so are its controls. You'll swipe at your cat to get him or her to move forwards, backwards or jump up into the air. While your cat is airborne, you can swipe it down, which will cause it to perform a ground-pound attack. Sounds easy, right? Unfortunately, because Street Cats' physics engine, you'll find that moving your cat around with precision is near-impossible. The cats suffer from this strange sliding effects, so moving around can feel unwieldy, which is a big no-no, especially when you're trying to dodge obstacles like a giant ball of rats, a suicide-bomber rat and a flaming rat.
But once you've managed to work with the wonky physics engine and controls, you'll find that you can mostly gauge the trajectory of your cat and get it to move to where there are rats. Once within range, you can use your finger to swipe around at them. Some of these rodents require more than one hit to die, so you'll have to pass your fingers over them a few times. It may sound crude, but it's pretty satisfying to get into a group of five or more rats and then slice around erratically to produce a shower of blood and guts.
If you find yourself in a bind and get overrun with the furry little devils, you can activate the nuke (assuming you've acquired the power-up), and instantly kill all enemies on the screen, even the ones that show up as obstacles. Killing rats consecutively builds up your combo meter, which will in turn multiply your score. This is important because Street Cats' other modes and levels are only unlocked once you reach certain score milestones.
At the moment, the developer has admitted that the difficulty may have been a little too high and that not a lot of people are able to score high enough to unlock Street Cats' other content. I can attest that I've only been able to score around 2,000 points or so, which is pretty poor considering that the next game mode, Time Trial, is unlocked at 10,000 points. It also says a great deal about how difficult the game is when I'm ranked at No. 5 in the Game Center leaderboards with 21,555 other players. The top player is the developer at 50,589 points, but the second best player is only at 3,514 points, which is not all that much higher than mine. A fix should be coming out soon that will lower the point requirements for unlocking other game modes.
Besides the crippling difficulty and wonky physics, Street Cats also leaves a lot to be desired with its art. While it's impressive that all of the graphics are hand-drawn, the graphics themselves aren't very impressive. The main cat you control looks like a reskinned Garfield and there is a distinct lack of variety when it comes to the character designs of the rats. It also doesn't help that the action can feel somewhat static because the cat hardly moves his paws around to swipe at cats. You'll notice that your slices on the screen are disembodied claw marks, which is kind of weird, so more animations for the cat would have been appreciated.
Street Cats is an interesting, blood-soaked game that might have needed a little more time and planning to become something truly great. Right now, the crushing difficulty of its Survival Mode is keeping many players from enjoying its other content. Once a few fixes come rolling out, maybe we'll see something that is at least halfway decent. For now, it's got too many problems, but I'm looking forward to seeing if First Commit tightens everything up in the near future.