Indie developers love making 2D platformers so when one is exceptionally good, it's sure to stand out. Thankfully, MagiCat provides tight and enjoyable gameplay and it's super-cute, too!
MagiCat has you play as a cat who doesn't speak English because... it's a cat. Therefore, all of the cutscenes are narrated with dialogue consisting of various meows which is something that I've never seen in a game before. It's incredibly funny and charming and let's face it; if you're playing a 2D platformer then you probably don't care about its story anyway, right?
To go along with this goofy premise, MagiCat's visuals are full of colourful pixels that make for a vibrant and delightful journey. Watching our feline hero pounce through the various environments while taking on dozens of blob-like entities is a joy. Meanwhile, the simplistic chiptunes make the presentation even more charming although there aren't any particularly catchy or memorable tracks. The effects are satisfying as you jump around and attack enemies and overall, MagiCat will definitely make you smile as you play.
MagiCat's gameplay involves running, jumping, dashing, and attacking. I'm not sure what the attack actually is but it's a projectile that travels in an arc before hopefully landing on a foe. As you progress through the stages, more mechanics get introduced that make the platforming much more challenging. There is a strong puzzle component as well where you have to figure out how to advance in certain sections. In the end, the tight controls combine with these cleverly designed stages to make one enjoyable adventure.
Speaking of stages, there is a ton of them in MagiCat's campaign. Each one of the 63 levels features its own boss as well, believe it or not. These stages take place in different environments such as forests, caves, ice plains, deserts, and even levels made of chocolate! Every stage has optional collectibles including rubies as well as awards for completing it without taking damage, reviving, or dashing. The lives system is unique in that you spend more of them the more you die in a stage. For example, you may only pay two lives for continuing but if you keep perishing then you may end up paying 64. I thought cats only had 9 lives...
Although MagiCat is a very good platformer that I thoroughly enjoyed, it does have its downsides. For starters, I would have liked to see extra abilities become unlocked as you progress but all this kitty's capable of is running, jumping, dashing, and attacking. Along the same lines, it would have been cool to see some sort of character growth but there is none. Next, how to defeat the bosses isn't always clear so you may find yourself scratching your head mid-battle while wondering how to break the boss's shield, etc. Finally, MagiCat could use additional modes because I felt that the campaign simply wasn't enough on its own. If there were 2 player mini-games, a list of challenges, and such then that would have pushed the overall experience to a whole new level of quality.
If you love 2D platformers then MagiCat is definitely one that you don't want to miss. Its tight gameplay and charming world make it one of the most enjoyable indie experiences on the Switch.
- + Tight 2D platforming gameplay with plenty of cleverly designed stages
- + Adorable presentation and "story"
- + Lots of levels to master
- - No character growth or extra abilities make the overall campaign less varied
- - Could use more modes (like mini-games)
- - How to beat bosses isn't always clear