At heart, Catball Eats It All [Free] does not have a unique premise. At all. At heart, all you do is battle physics with your thumbs to keep a fat cat rolling around big shapes and eating stuff. Sounds a bit boring, doesn't it?
However, great execution is all about a clever take and excellent design, as fans of standout iOS titles will tell you. And if Catball Eats It All has anything nailed, it's in presenting a title that looks so wacky that you can't help but be drawn to its inherent weirdness and wonder what the gameplay will be like. It's actually like someone chopped up a bunch of weird photos of animals on the internet and made playable levels out of them. And you get to play one too. You're sold, right?
The game is very easy to pick up and play, with a basic tutorial that has you using your thumbs on the screen to move Catball left and right. Designed by Philadelphia artist NoseGo, the levels are surreal, each made up of what looks like a series of images cut out of a magazine and coddled together for the weirdest results. You will roll over the surface of this hodgepodge object, collecting items and bouncing about (a simple press with one thumb while holding down the other button will make Catball inflate and fly around).
As you proceed, a small icon in the top right corner of the world will show you how much time you have left and how much eating you're doing. If you don't eat fast enough, a giant dog will appear and try to eat you. It's a lot of fun to maneuver around these unique levels, and my only complaint was that the game didn't offer motion control as an option, as I found myself tilting the phone when I went rolling this way or that reflexively, as if it would help me make it to that next platform.
Once or twice, Catball got stuck in a narrow passage. Could be a bug, I'm not sure, but each time I had to restart the level as I couldn't seem to move. Mostly, the controls seems just fine, but it's worth noting that it may happen to you too.
Especially considering it's a free download at the time of this review, I'd say this title is a must-get for fans of platformers or something that looks a bit different from all the other ultra-cute stuff on the App store. It has that Katamari Damacy feel to it when it comes to eating everything, and I love that. I had a great deal of fun with it, and the Facebook and Game Center compatibility are a plus if you like social sharing when it comes to your scores.
The developers promise us new levels in the future (called "Courses, heh), and I have to say I am looking forward to the chance to spend more time with this unique title.
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