The world is full of weird and wonderful games, ideas that you never thought would work often do and the abstract and strangeness of some titles is a thing I really like and appreciate. I have played some great novel games that when I think about it, wonder how it ever came to be? What were the thoughts that led to its creation? Why does it work when it really shouldn’t? There does seem to be a market for odd games and I like that, I like that the industry can be very creative and especially in the indie game space, not be afraid to try something different and unusual. When I first saw a trailer for Neko Navy, that was the first thing that popped into my head, it’s one of those games.
Neko Navy is a classic style shoot ‘em up, or ‘shmup as it’s commonly referred to. You pilot a cat, yes you heard correctly, a cat, that shoots lasers out of its face. I told you it was one of those games. It’s your standard shoot ‘em up from there really, you navigate left to right through various levels of enemies that are all hell-bent on killing your adorable little cartoon cat. You have 3 different difficulty levels, 2 different game modes, a training mode and leaderboards for you to try and top if you are of the high score chasing persuasion. Also included is an achievement system, which I know will be welcomed as I know a lot of gamers in the Switch community are still calling for a system-wide Nintendo Switch achievement system.
As your blasting your way through each stage the enemies drop little cat collectables, these collectables build up your special meter which enables you to unleash your special ability, this is different for each of the characters you can pilot throughout the game. The collectables also act as an end of level bonus so it’s worth trying to collect as many as you can. Your special can also act as a get out of jail free card as it makes you invincible when it’s used, it often saved my life when I got trapped or the screen was too full of foes and projectiles. Your weapons are upgradeable by collecting power-ups, standard really for this game type, your projectiles get bigger and more powerful each time you collect one and each cat fires in a different style. There are bosses and the end of every level, ranging from the weird to the very weird, they are varied and nicely designed though and fun to tackle.
The levels themselves are nicely designed, vibrant and colourful. They range from a hospital where you shoot pills to a sausage factory where you fire at sausages and various other meaty products. All the enemies are also very vivid, varied and pleasantly designed. Even if some of them are very abstract and strange, I was at one point attacking mannequin torsos on sticks. I do like the art style to the title, it’s very cartoon-like and everything is very crisp, colourful and very charming to look at.
The music in this game is superb, it’s probably the games best feature. The music is very happy, catchy and fits the style of the game very well. It’s upbeat, bright and I enjoyed it. The whole package seems to fit together very nicely, bright colours, crisp cartoon graphics and a very lively soundtrack. Neko Navy also performed beautifully, no issues at all in that department. Everything ran smoothly, no crashing or freezing and no graphical issues or errors at all.
Even though I did enjoy what I played of this title it always felt like I was missing something, I tried to work out if there was a hidden meaning to everything but I don’t think there is. It’s a fun shoot ‘em up if not a little short and light on features or modes. Once you have played through the games 7 stages and topped the scoreboards, which is rather easy, there’s not much else to do really. Online scoreboards would have been a nice addition and perhaps added some replayability. The game’s graphics and sound are superb and really fit together beautifully, it’s the games saving grace as outside of this the game is just a standard shoot em up with little to make it stand out in the genre.
*Code kindly provided by the publisher for review*