Pix the Cat sounded like my kind of game—there’s a cat involved, and ducklings, and the words “nostalgia” and “arcade” are used in reviews. I got excited thinking about old arcade games like Pac-Man and Donkey Kong, the smell of stale popcorn, and the feel of sticky joysticks that went with them. Unfortunately, I was the only one in my household who felt the same.
After trying it out for a week or so, my kids told me that they did not want to teach me the game this month because Pix the Cat was “horribly impossible.” Even my tech-savvy husband said he had trouble with it. This worried me because in my family of four I rank dead last in terms of coordination and gameplay savvy. So, you can imagine how glad I was that I found Pix the Cat neither horrible nor impossible, but kind of fun.
When I started up the game on our PlayStation 4, I had access to two of the game’s levels: Arcade and Arena. I, of course, chose Arcade because that sounded like my kind of jam. And it was. The game is set up like Pac-Man but works like Snake—you’re a rather evil-looking cat moving around a maze trying to collect ducklings that then follow you around until you can get them out of the grid by crossing over these little circle…things. Anyway, the trick is that you are racing the clock and if you end up hitting the back end of your trail of ducks as you wind your way through the maze, you lose the ones that came after the impact spot.
That is very, very tricky. I loved it.
I also loved the fact that when you complete a level, a portal opens up that leads you to the next level, and that level is another part of the same screen that the game then zooms in on. It’s like a Russian nesting doll made up of motivated, clumsy cats and dumb, innocent ducklings.
I played in Arcade for a while and really enjoyed it, especially after I figured out that it was much easier to move around by using the analog sticks instead of the arrow buttons (the former moves you easily and quickly through the maze, the latter gives you thumb cramps.) I then moved on to the Arena section of the game, in which you compete against other players. Since I was playing by myself, I set up a two-player game and just ignored the other remote.
I lost twice.
Needless to say, the Arena was not my favorite. It’s probably more fun with another person, because at least then you can say that you lost to a human being. But all in all, I can see how Pix the Cat can be dangerously addicting. My 8-year-olds found it too difficult, as did my husband, but I had a blast playing the Arcade. Look out for the non-corporeal entity in the Arena, though—that thing plays to win.