The idea behind the TouchArcade Game of the Week is that every Friday afternoon we post the one game that came out this week that we think is worth giving a special nod to. Now, before anyone goes over-thinking this, it doesn't necessarily mean our Game of the Week pick is the highest scoring game in a review, the game with the best graphics, or really any other quantifiable "best" thing. Instead, it's more just us picking out the single game out of the week's releases that we think is the most noteworthy, surprising, interesting, or really any other hard to describe quality that makes it worth having if you were just going to pick up one.

These picks might be controversial, and that's OK. If you disagree with what we've chosen, let's try to use the comments of these articles to have conversations about what game is your game of the week and why.

Without further ado…

 

Cat Bird

Everyone knows I love cats, and everyone (probably) knows how much I love platformers. And birds are pretty cool too. So it should be no surprise to see that Ryan Carag's Cat Bird [Free] has managed to woo me into landing itself a Game of the Week recommendation. Ok, so pixel art "throwback" platformers are done to death nowadays, and it can be hard to stomach yet another one even if it's a genre you enjoy. That said, while Cat Bird doesn't necessarily break any new ground, it's rare amongst the flood of retro-style platformers to see one so well-realized with a fantastic control scheme and truly well-designed levels.

You play as the titular Cat Bird which is a hybrid of both cat and bird, but looks more like a white bat. Hey, maybe that's the joke, that bats are actually cats with wings? I always thought of bats as rats with wings, but that also describes New York City pigeons. There's a deep, philosophical debate that needs to happen about all this, but for now all you need to know is that being a Cat Bird means you can run, jump, and float by flapping your furry(?) wings. If you remember the old Ghosts 'n Goblins spinoff for the Game Boy called Gargoyle's Quest, or its sequels Gargoyle's Quest 2 and Demon's Crest, then this game feels like an homage to that floating style of gameplay.

One of the game's biggest strengths is its simple set of moves–run, jump, float–as it's simply a means to negotiate your way through more than 40 levels of extremely well-designed puzzle platforming. Rather than having your actual move set become more complex, the game throws increasingly complex challenges your way, oftentimes requiring the use of your unique floating ability in order to suss them out. It's a one hit and you're dead kind of game, but rather than having an allotment of lives Cat Bird actually counts your number of deaths instead. This opens up the bonus challenge of trying to go back and complete levels without dying, and coupled with a Time Trial mode and hidden Crowns to collect that are spread throughout many levels, there's a lot of replay value once you've made your way through the game the first time.

All of this is of course wrapped up in a very adorable package. Your Cat Bird itself is extremely cute, in a slightly creepy kind of way… but still cute! Let's just say I'd rather not run into that abomination of nature in real life anytime soon, but in pixel form it's quite adorbs. The environments are detailed and full of life with little creatures fluttering about, and the music is boppy and upbeat which fits the game well. I seemingly can't get enough of platforming games, but with so many on the market it takes more than even a "very good" one to hold my attention. Cat Bird is beyond very good, it's excellent in fact, and although it's not changing the face of retro platformers as we know them you'd be hard-pressed to find such a lovingly crafted and challenging one for the price of free with the option to pay $1.99 to remove ads and make it a fully premium experience.

  • Akantor

    Personally would have gone with Darkest Dungeon. I haven't felt the mood of a game like this ever. It just oozes ambience and uneasiness. So good. So horrifying.

  • Som Mace

    Surely this was one of the most obvious choices for game of the week for a while. Instead you choose a generic looking cat related platformer again.

    Darkest Dungeon feels like it was built for iOS and was already an absolutely brilliant game on PC. I encourage everyone to pick it up, it's a sin that it was overlooked here.

  • http://www.twitter.com/raiyum Raiyumi

    Woah, awesome. Thanks for the article!

  • paulkane

    I❤️🐱🐤!

    • 7lilwhitewolf7

      Dez liked this post ,wit his'Lord's Pailkane's choice of emojis

      • 7lilwhitewolf7

        Pleaze forgive me m'Lord Paulkane for i asked for help with this on correcting the misspelling of your name. I guess my asking for correction iz still being reviewed by the Moderators.

  • Zion

    Woah, awesome. Thanks for the article!

  • PSquared

    It is really difficult, sometimes, to take Toucharcade seriously. I know TA likes to support small Indy developers and I applaud that. I know the editors enjoy cats, I do also. To choose this game over Darkest Dungeon is just an insult though... both to the developer and the readers. I'm sure catbird is enjoyable, and needs more publicity than DD, but to choose it as the recommended game of the week over DD, which is nearly universally beloved and well reviewed on a plethora of platforms, just screams ulterior motives.

    How can we take TA serious as 'professionals' when they make choices like this that are motivated purely by personal bias instead of accurately and honestly suggesting and reviewing games on their merits?

    • lboldham

      It feels like some people misinterpret TA's Game of the Week article. At the beginning of each Game of the Week article, there is a disclaimer. I feel like TA makes it clear that their game of the Week selection may not necessarily be the best game of the week, the most recommended, the most popular, etc. Whether it turns out to be the best (subjective opinion for all humans) game, or is an interesting game that popped out of nowhere, an expected port, an indie or not, it is a game that TA has elected to emphasize and share more information about. This can be for any or none of the reasons I mentioned above. Their lack of bias is quite clear to me.

      • Som Mace

        You are correct that we may be misinterpreting it, but they do state that it is a game that was surprising, interesting and noteworthy. I don't think that this game is any of those things, especially considering that a cat rpg won the award two weeks ago, and a bird platformer one week before that. I agree with OP that a bias clearly shows and I feel like games to do with cats are becoming so common now that it's getting boring, a bit like the zombie genre a few years back.

      • lboldham

        Thanks for your thoughtful response, Som Mace. And yes, I agree with you that there is a bias in the selection for the Game of the Week. Unless the article contains only facts, there has to be bias based on what the author finds interesting, surprising, and noteworthy. What's interesting or boring to one will likely be different for another. I feel TA has been fairly straight up about that. But bias as suggested by PSquared related to ulterior motives or that TA are not professionals based on a game that Jared was particularly drawn to, while acknowledging that GOW selections may not be the best or most popular of the week, I found to be unwarranted and inappropriate. PSquared has a right to that opinion, but it feels negative and unnecessary for this forum.

      • Som Mace

        Fair enough, and thank you for your equally thoughtful response. I was actually going to say in my original reply that it is a matter of personal preference, and in all honesty I'm not really a cat person so there may be some bias on my side (ha). It is just a bit galling when a game as good as Darkest Dungeon misses out. Maybe I'l have to check out cat bird then so I can form my own opinion...

    • Far_Out

      It's not a review! It happens to be what Jared is digging right now. TA has the best iOS reviews around, and they are clearly marked as "REVIEW". I've been reading TA for years and years, and they are nothing but professionals, while remaining independent. I don't know where you are coming from.

  • yachris

    JARED! How dare you have an opinion! And how DARE you choose a game that's fun to play over another game that's fun to play! THIS SITE, AMIRITE??!?!?!!1111!

    🙂

  • yachris

    And, by the way, I'm loving Cat Bird!

  • rhinofinger

    Fun game!

  • DrlRage

    For the people who want Darkest Dungeon to get some clout, you can politely lobby for it's review. I'm sure DD is a great game based on its accolades but this is TA's game of the week. It's supposed to be a fun thing so don't kill it with all the shenanigans! Let Catbird get it's shine, and maybe give it a try.

  • lonestarcarper

    Darkest Dungeon probably should have won.

  • robyto

    Dez liked this post ,wit his'Lord's Pailkane's choice of emojis

  • Qvothe1331

    How is darkest dungeon not only not game of the week, or at the top of the 'hottest games' sidebar, but it's not even on the sidebar. Oh, just remembered, iPad only.

  • jabbasoft

    I think the recent feline successes are to encourage Maglor to come back with ascii art.

    But seriously I thinks it's useful to see something other than the expected (and maybe best) game in the GOTW article - the reviews, forums and discord channel provide ways to validate anticipated and expected AAA games as being good/great, this is just to bring attention to a game that may otherwise have fallen through the cracks.

  • korossyl

    There was literally an entire article about why TA gives out so many fives, and why doing it differently would be doing it wrong.

  • rafael

    Fair enough, and thank you for your equally thoughtful response. I was actually going to say in my original reply that it is a matter of personal preference, and in all honesty I'm not really a cat person so there may be some bias on my side (ha). It is just a bit galling when a game as good as Darkest Dungeon misses out. Maybe I'l have to check out cat bird so I can form my own opinion...

  • James Cameron

    Amazing game

  • Gary

    Dez liked this post ,wit his'Lord's Pailkane's choice of emojis