Undeniably a bit different in how it approaches platforming and death, in this case with it often being a necessity, but overall it’s a bit of a mess
Going into playing Cat Souls I didn’t know quite what to expect, and since when you start it really doesn’t explain anything at all it took a few runs to really get what was going on. While normally you’d be hyper-focused on trying to stay alive and do everything you can to avoid death, with Cat Souls (I suppose somewhat befitting the 9 lives saying) death is part of the plan. If you die on spikes or something in the environment a platform will actually be created there, and this is often critical to crossing spans you would have no chance of clearing otherwise. So it becomes an exercise in knowing where you need to die and how to use the game’s rules to your advantage. Now, hitting enemies the wrong way (some you can kill, some you can’t) is different, as that will be a final death, and it turns out moving enemies will also knock out your platforms created from dying, and this is the space where most of the game’s challenge comes from. To an extent it works, and can be satisfying in its degree of difficulty being high enough but not too high. What lets the experience down a bit is how abruptly you’ll die and then pop up back on a platform. It’s so quick that I would often kill myself multiple times in a row trying to get through a section. I’m not sure whether a brief pause or something else would solve the issue but I think some mechanism, even if optional, would improve the experience by helping you to get that timing right and not needlessly die. It’s by no means perfect, but if you like a challenge it manages to deliver that on a budget, just be ready for some potential frustrations.
Justin Nation, Score: