Family Video Game Review – MagiCat

MAGICAT-Title

MagiCat by Toge Productions is, as described on the Nintendo eShop, a Platform, Puzzle, Action, Adventure game.  Originally released on Steam, it has now been released on the Switch.  I hope to see it find a good following among the retro indie game fans.  As a retro gamer who focuses on platform games from the NES and SNES era, this game caught my attention after I saw it in a Facebook ad, and with a $4.99 price tag, I figured I couldn’t go wrong.  I’ve been very pleased.

MagiCat is insanely cute; almost irresistibly so.  This had my ten year old daughter fawning over the cat in the magic hat on the Switch dashboard. Even my 2 year old son quite earnestly pointed out “CAT DADDY CAT”!  The game does not fail to deliver on the cutesie promise it makes. Each of the 68 stages has been filled with colorful plushy enemies and rich environments to jump across.  The individual sprites make cute expressions and pretty much everything is reminiscent of Hello Kitty or other similar chibi anime.

Mechanically, the game plays like the baby child of a Mario or Yoshi game. It has just the hint of the flavors of a platform shooter, and has surprisingly tight controls. MagiCat plays very smoothly, and feels great to simply move the cat around the stage.  MagiCat only has a handful of abilities, though. However, there are shops further into the game, so it is possible to acquire more. In the beginning you can run, jump, pounce (dash), and shoot little fireballs that are the shape of paw prints.  The fireballs can be aimed, and holding the jump button lets you air hover while doing an adorable mid air dance reminiscent of the Yoshi’s World games.

Enemies range in difficulty, but defeating them (bosses included) comes down to either shooting them or bouncing on their heads.   Collecting blue bottles throughout each stage is critical. If you have collected them then the pounce does damage as well and consumes one bottle. The blue bottles can also be used to activate checkpoints at the cost of ten bottles.  This is also the only way to heal mid-level. MagiCat only has four health so it’s very important not to take damage, especially if you are aiming to collect the minor achievements earned at the end of each stage.

The only other main goal of each stage is to collect three rubies.  These can actually be rather challenging to acquire, and remind me of the three stars one collects in the recent Mario World games.

The game has an odd learning curve, so I will be curious to see how well my daughter does when she plays it.  It’s not difficult to make it through the stages, and acquiring lives is very easy. However, there is a boss at the end of every stage and they can be very tricky if you are not used to reacting quickly.  

That said these boss fights are really fun for an old gamer, reminding me of Mega Man and Super Mario Brothers all at the same time. Collecting the red rubies is where the game is the most challenging. The puzzles in the level to gain access to these range from very simple to ridiculously trick, so if you are a “100%-er” be prepared to retry stages quite a few times.

Overall this game is a solid buy, and very enjoyable for its genre.  There isn’t anything innovative here, but it’s just fun to play. If I had to make one criticism the only thing I might say is that the music could have been a lot better.  Given how nicely it follows the old 8 bit format, I wish it had a more classic 8-bit soundtrack, as nothing about the music really stands out. No way that’s a deal breaker, but it would have taken it from an A to an A+.

By: Jeremy Davis

FCC Disclosure – A code was provided by the developer for the purposes of this review.

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