If I told you that there existed a game that combined the art style and customisation of Alpha Bear with the refined platforming of Super Mario, and every character in the game was a cat, would you believe me? Well, get ready for Super Phantom Cat – a delightfully wholesome platformer, that will more than itch the platforming craving I know we all have.
Let’s start with what is, perhaps, the most inconsequential aspect of games like these: the plot. As with the games it has taken inspiration on, Super Phantom Cat’s plot is paper thin – and that’s okay. You play as Ari, a courageous and fearless feline, who is on a quest to rescue his sister Ina after they accidental reactivated an army of evil robots. It’s your standard ‘princess is in another castle’ type scenario, that sees you traverse across a multitude of different levels and environment.
Super Phantom Cat very much follows the ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ mentally – everything that it sets out to achieve is done superbly because it doesn’t try to do too much. That platforming is satisfying and never feels unfair, or too difficult. Stomping on enemies or solving puzzles feels just as good as it ever has. If anything, Super Phantom Cat improves upon what has come before.
Funnily enough, a key part of Super Phantom Cat is the ‘phantom’ aspect – there exists a class (or breed, I guess) of kitty that can harness and channel their phantom powers, giving them a range of abilities. The ability I predominantly used was the first ability gained: It gives you the ability to grow plants and vines, and also transform bricks into destructible ethereal cubes – but many more abilities are teased in the very first cutscene.
The platforming is perfectly refined, harkening back to the days of the original Super Mario – and the ability aspect of the game only adds more enjoyment and ways to play. In many ways, it’s like Super Mario and Megaman were put into a blender, with a splash of Alpha Bear for its art style and customisation, resulting in a crisp and delicious platforming smoothie that you just can’t stop drinking (I’m not sure where this analogy is going either)
On the topic of the art style: the looks of this game is absolutely gorgeous. Using a relatively simple 2D art style, Veewo games manage to create an adorable and bright universe in which you can easily lose yourself. If the levels themselves are cute and loveable, then it’s nothing compared to the character design. You start as Ari, but along your journey, you can collect character parts, which allow you to unlock new characters and kitties – each more unique and interesting than the last. It’s a small change, that manages to encourage the player to explore every nook and cranny that the game has to offer, of which there are many.
The only downside to this game that I can think of, is its music. The music starts out as cute and whimsical, but after playing through each level a few times the music can become repetitive and grating – a small downside, to an otherwise flawless game.
If you haven’t played this game before, then you’re missing out majorly. And you have the perfect opportunity since the game has now been released on the Nintendo Switch, meaning you can play this adorable kitty Mario game wherever and whenever you please – I can’t recommend this game enough.
*Code kindly provided by the publisher for review*