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Hands-On With ‘Burger Cat’

A lot of studios are turning to the casual market to expand their base and diversify portfolios speckled in viscera and splatters of crimson. League of Evil studio Ravenous Games is doing just that with its side-scrolling puzzle game Burger Cat. The result is unique: Ravenous is undoubtedly delivering something that feels like a Ravenous joint, but it’s appropriate for our little ones and game-challenged family members.

It accomplishes this by removing the barrier of entry, while maintaining the vibe and the high-level production we expect from a Ravenous product. In the game, you play as a cat on a quest to find hamburgers. Functionally, this adventures boils down to a bunch of instanced quests where you, as a maestro of landscaping, have to alter the 2D world the cat inhabits in order to get him to a burger. The movement is automatic, but your ability to add and remove blocks of land or introduce an item that changes the way the cat interacts with its world is manual.

For example, in the game’s first level, you’ll need to add a block of land to the corner of a hill so the cat can scramble up the hill as if it were a stairway. In the next, you actually build a similar stairway with three blocks of land, two of which will need to be stacked on top of each other. As the game progresses, you’ll get much more imaginative items: a mouse that re-directs the cat’s attention, a spring that rockets the cat into the air, a pick-axe that removes pieces of the environment, and so on. Actual obstacles that add repercussions, like spinning cogs with blades, are added steadily. The items you’ll receive have a hard cap in each level, and I had the most fun really playing with what I could do with the least amount of stuff, though creating conga lines of items has its simple pleasures, too. In fact, Burger Cat seems to encourage experimentation, as it often gives you way too much.

It’s a different game from the folks who made League of Evil, but it feels similar from a production standpoint. The art is bright and bubbly like the new visuals in League of Evil 2, and the animation work is on par. Music, on the other hand, is exceedingly epic. It almost rewards you before you do anything. Excuse me, but I want my Ode To Joy when I get my hamburger, and not before.

If this looks familiar by the way, it’s because it existed on Flash before. Burger Cat is a new-look port of a WobblyWare title you can play for free right now. In this shot of the original below, take note of how smooth this new iteration looks: no more grids, a less clumsy UI, and less mess in general.

“We updated the graphics to be more cartoony and made some design changes to make another one of our polished iOS releases," Ravenous told TouchArcade. “The game just felt more suited to touch screen controls and has a lot of potential with the casual market." And it does play exceedingly better. This game is a breeze to control with your fingers. I’ve zero complaints with what I’ve played so far.

And that’s the thing: we haven’t seen everything Burger Cat has to offer, so stay tuned as we obtain a final build and deliver our final thoughts. My gut says, though, that this is something we’ll be pretty happy with, even though we’re not its market. Look for this to hit April 12 across iPhone and iPad.