Poor Timmy is not having a good day. CB Labs’ The Adventures of Timmy: Run Kitty Run [99¢] starts off in the thick of Timmy’s misery: He’s a playground outcast in a cat costume whose only friend/probable true love, Kitty, gets snatched away and held prisoner in hulking bully Mitch’s tree house. Rather than accept this, however, Timmy puts his cat suit’s hood up and gets down to business—a rescue operation that spans 36 levels of 2D platforming awesomeness.
There’s a reason that some of our forum users compare Run Kitty Run to classics like Super Mario Bros. It shares a lot of elements, from the rescue angle to gathering coins. Probably the most important similarity, though, is the way you feel playing it. It’s challenging, sometimes frustrating, but often rewarding.
The story works because we’ve all felt like Timmy at some point. (Well, maybe not with the cat costume, but I’m not here to judge what you do in your free time.) It’s really refreshing for a platformer to have much of a story at all, much less a solid one like Run Kitty Run. The art style is also very nice, even if the levels can look a little repetitive at times. Since all the levels in a chapter share the same basic backdrop, you’re not going to notice much of a difference between, say, 1-1 and 1-9. However, it’s nice to look at, and it’s obvious that a lot of thought was put into the style and creative direction of the game.
As far as the gameplay itself goes, it’s a mixed (but mostly good!) bag. If you’re, um, not very good at platformers, you are going to find this game challenging to say the least. Most of these are good challenges like progressively more difficult jumps, timing, and techniques, with a compelling story and fun enemies to keep up the pace. Levels are short, which is good because the further you go, the more you are going to die. A lot. In like every conceivable way. Spike pit? Fireballs? Psychotic bunnies? Run Kitty Run has all that and more, baby.
Of course, it has its share of not-so-fun challenges, too. Like so many games, these challenges are mostly related to the way the controls handle. Run Kitty Run has a simple two-button floating setup; right thumb jumps, left thumb sends you forwards or backwards. Seems pretty basic, but it proved to be diabolically challenging as the game progressed. I often found that my pudgy thumbs were incapable of the finer aspects of platforming.
Sometimes it seemed like I had too much momentum from leaning forwards; other times I had none at all and poor Timmy plunged helpless into spike pit after spike pit. And of course, the more you progress, the more challenging the platforming gets, which sometimes made ledges just a little too precarious given the control scheme. As time went on I found I developed a bit of a rhythm and I stopped dying as much, but there were still plenty of moments where the controls failed me and I plummeted to my doom.
That said, the game is compelling enough that even the sometimes-imprecise controls can add to the overall sense of accomplishment when completing levels. With 36 levels and incentive to replay (you get stars and achievements based on how well you perform), it’s well worth the $.99. And besides, don’t you want to know whether or not Timmy gets the girl?
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