One of the things I love about gaming is you can have experiences that just aren’t possible in real life. Obviously, I can’t speak for you but I am not a genetically enhanced super-soldier from the future. Neither am I a professional racing driver, NBA player, or Premier League footballer. However, these experiences seem pretty normal in comparison to Captain Cat. After all, how else are you going to know what it’s like to be a cat, captaining a fishing boat with fishing lines that defy the laws of physics?
As I have alluded to, you play as the eponymous Captain Cat. Your aim is to catch a fish at the bottom of the sea. To do this, you position your fishing boat and then drop a line to catch the fish. This isn’t any old fishing line, though. No, this line allows you to change its directions. This is essential as you will need to weave your way around rocks, avoid enemies, and to collect treasure along the way. This is the puzzle element of the game. Each level has three stars available. One is for collecting a certain amount of treasure (usually all of it). Another is for completing the level without changing the direction of your line too many times. The final star is for completing the level within a time limit. You don’t have to get all three stars at once, though, it is usually possible.
Like any puzzler, the game starts you off easily. In fact, the difficulty level is pretty expertly judged throughout the levels. I didn’t notice any difficulty spikes at all. It gradually gets more complex and challenging in a very satisfactory way. This is particularly impressive for an indie title that doesn’t have the budget that most games do for play-testing. While the levels do manage their difficulty really well, there aren’t that many of them. There are only 50 standard levels. This may not sound too bad but when you can complete a level in about 20 seconds, it does make the game feel a little short. There are two other modes, Perfect and Infinite. Perfect only gives you one chance at catching a fish, with no option to change the angle of your line. Infinite is all about how deep you can get the fishing line.
The mobile roots of Captain Cat are on clear display in the visuals and controls department. Visually, the game’s pretty basic. It’s not bad, as the various elements are all stylised in a fun cartoon style. However, the animation is limited and there’s never too much happening on-screen. The controls are also extremely basic. This matters even less as it just keeps the gameplay pure. At the start of each level, you use the left thumbstick to position your boat. After that, you just use the ‘A’ button. Once you drop your line in the water (with ‘A’), it will rotate. When it’s facing the direction you want it to go, you hit ‘A’ and it will go in that direction. You then hold ‘A’ for as long as you want the line to go in that direction. Once you let go, the line stops and it will rotate again.
Captain Cat may be a pretty simple and basic game but it’s also quite good fun, while it lasts. If you’re reasonably proficient at puzzle games you can probably get through the game in a couple of hours. This is very short but excusable when it costs less than $7. If you’re a fan of puzzle games then it’s worth a little of your time and money. However, if you’re not into puzzlers, this is not the game that is going to change your mind.