Pix the Cat is both a serious evolution and a sincere eulogy. For everything that is evolutionary about it – like the ultra clever level design – there is an equal measure of eulogistic components – the wealth of unlockable modes, music and emcees – that pay homage to the gold old days when games used to be feature-complete and mysterious.
You control Pix (understandably), Pix is a cat (obviously) and Pix must gather eggs and harbor them to safety (because why not!). And that’s how far the premise needs explaining, because it’s all about the puzzles from there.
The influences (Pac-Man and Snake) are obvious but it’s the innovation upon those maze mechanics that take the center stage. For instance, there are diverse game modes like time-trials (Arcade), puzzles (Laboratory), collect-x-number-of-eggs-to-win (Nostalgia). Each level has perfect bonuses that require careful strategy, heightened concentration and most importantly: speed.
In Arcade, you build up a combo upon successful harboring, which not only intensifies the accompanying music it also speeds up the gameplay. The way the action builds is utterly exhilarating. And as soon as you hit the climax: Fever Time, your attention is arrested. A single wrong turn could break the flow entirely however a sudden surge of twitchy finesse could almost always lead to a highscore.
All of this is complemented by controls that are responsive to a fault and excellent audio-visual feedback. For instance, levels change colors upon ‘combo-ups’ and ‘combo-breakers’ all accompanied by excellent voice-overs. Furthermore, whenever you happen to face a wall and risk a potential death/combo-breaker, the screen enters a halting, climactic animation that mimics a car crash, indicating the need for your reaction, a lifesaver.
The only complaint is the scale of the larger levels that are not zoomed-in enough and makes it difficult to keep track of Pix and maintain continuity, which is the essence of the game’s scoring system. But the game offers such variety and formats of maze puzzles that you would be spoilt for choice. Having sunk a shameful amount of hours I am only 61% through and I don’t intend to stop. Also the menu music is the best.