Copying ideas is one of the hallmarks of gaming, whether it be the Doom-like FPS genre, the Minecraft-like sandbox genre, or the infamous Rogue-like roguelike genre. Yet, for every game that introduced a concept that was copied by others, there are many other games that introduced concepts that rose and fell with their own popularity. One of those games was Snake.
Snake was one of those cheap games that was often included on your computer right alongside Minesweep and Solitaire. As its name suggests, in Snake you played as a snake. But this snake had problems… serious problems. This snake had to continually eat any pixel that appeared on-screen, and every time it ate a pixel, it grew in length by another pixel.
The whole instant growth thing may have been easy to deal with if it wasn’t for the fact that any time the snake encountered its body, well, it just had to start eating itself. If you collided with your body, it was game over (man).
Pix the Cat delightfully picks up this concept. Only, instead of being a snake that creepily grows and eventually kills itself, you play as a cat that just feels like hatching chickens and leading them to safety.
Here’s a video of someone playing Snake:
And here’s a video of Pix the Cat with its newfangled soundtrack and fancy graphics:
In Pix the Cat, there are two basic elements on each map: eggs and targets. If you run over the eggs, they hatch into chicks which then follow you in however long of a trail you create through your addiction to egg-hatching. You’ll then need to run over the targets, which will evacuate the chicks from the freaky techno-party-land you’re in.
The game is based on speed. As you liberate chicks, the cat you play as will move faster. If you rescue a ton of chicks, you’ll start to get speed bonuses, the color of everything changes, and the game will get progressively more difficult. And there are a few things that will break this rhythm, with one of the biggest being that as your trail of chicks grows longer, you’ll have a harder time not crashing into them, and that will eliminate the whole line. The beat dies down, and you’ll need to shamefully walk to the next area.
Pix the Cat also has a great puzzle element to it. As you enter each level, you’re presented with a challenge to find the quickest route to hatching all the eggs, and making it to all the targets without crashing into the trail of chicks you’ll form. If you hit a target before you have all the eggs, then the remaining eggs will crack and you’ll get fewer points.
One cool factor in the game is that levels are built inside each-other. When you clear a map, a portal to the next area opens up, and you’ll get sucked into a miniaturized world-within-a-world. Sometimes multiple portals open to the next world, and you’ll at times need to strategically move in and out of these dimensional vortexes to find the quickest route possible.
All around, Pix the Cat is a casual game that’s nice for a quick run. A full run can be completed in just a few minutes, and if you get enough points in the allotted time, you’ll be rewarded with new maps, new game modes, and new features which differ enough to keep you coming back.
Pix the Cat isn’t something you’d want to sit around and play for hours at a time, but it’s nice if you have a 10-minute break. The game has enough strategy to keep itself interesting, enough challenge to keep you wanting to go back and beat your previous scores, and enough unlocks to keep you trying out its new features.
Pix the Cat is available for PC, Apple, and and Linux. It’s on Steam for $9.99.