Meow Motors plays like a typical kart racer where you race fellow felines on lively tracks in order to win stars. The more stars you acquire, the more levels, vehicles, and cats you unlock. With 10 cats, cars, and weapons and 18 tracks, there's a lot of fun to be had.
The thing that I enjoy most in kart racers is the tracks and Meow Motors doesn't disappoint in this regard. They're vibrant and intricate with many twists and turns as well as shortcuts and hazards to keep you entertained. Holiday themes such as Christmas and Halloween make an appearance, too, and there are tracks based on autumn scenery, medieval towns, and many more. A ton of care has gone into making these tracks jump off the screen; I dare say even more so than some Mario Kart tracks; excluding those that venture into flying and underwater driving as these are sadly not included in this indie title. It's also fun unlocking new cats to play as with each one having their own personality yet they all look equally adorable when they do a little dance in their car after winning a race.
The cars have plenty of variety and you can change their colour if you like. However, there are no stats presented about how the cars handle and I didn't notice any differences between them. It would have been great to see some extra customization options available but getting to choose from 10 is still appreciated and adds to the fun of unlocking everything.
The racing is pretty tight although not as refined as some AAA racing games. You'll feel like you're sliding every now and then like you don't have complete control of the vehicle but overall, it doesn't detract from the fun to be had. Other than the simple racing levels, there are also drift and strike levels. In drift, you must drift for as long as you can to rack up points while trying to maintain your multiplier as you avoid hazards. In strike, you get points for taking out your opponents with an item or a well-aimed boost into their rear end. All three modes are fun to play but drift gets a little dull seeing as it only lasts a couple of minutes and you're the only one on the track the whole time. However, I still applaud the developer for including a few different ways to enjoy their tracks.
Items can give you abilities such as a freeze gun, a shockwave, or a major boost. One thing that bugged me a little was the fact that the items don't seem to have any impact on the scenery itself. If I have a shield, I would expect that bumping into a boulder would mean that I wouldn't get hurt but I do. The same goes for shooting a projectile at a road hazard as it doesn't seem to affect anything other than your opponents. If you could use items in these ways, it would provide another welcome layer of strategy.
Other than boulders, logs, giant stone monsters, and swinging rocks, you also have to avoid oil that's spilled on the road. When you do tricks such as drifting, you amass energy that you can spend on either a boost or some oil. If you're far ahead of your opponents, you might want to focus on using oil so that you can slow down those behind you. I quite enjoyed this mechanic and often found myself trying to decide whether to use boost or oil, especially in the strike matches. The oil is very detrimental to the control of your vehicle as it forces you to keep sliding until you clear the patch. It must be avoided at all cost!
Another aspect of Meow Motors is the repair system. Your vehicle gets damaged every time you're hit, causing you to slow down slightly. In strike levels, if you destroy your vehicle, you also lose a point. In order to repair your vehicle, you must drive into a wrench and they're sparse enough that you'll often find yourself wishing for the next one soon then cursing if you accidentally miss it.
Unfortunately, Meow Motors doesn't have online multiplayer but it does have local for up to 4 players. You can select your track and configure powers and settings such as number of laps, time, and opponents. That's right; contrary to their website, there actually is multiplayer. The terrible and confusing grammar on their website is also prevalent in the game; so much so that it had me laughing on multiple occasions. It baffles me how such a fun and good quality game could be released without someone proofreading it.
Kart racer enthusiasts and cat fanciers alike owe it to themselves to pick up a copy of Meow Motors. It's an exhilarating and fun game even if it doesn't tick all the boxes of a typical AAA racing game.
- + Well executed and enjoyable racing
- + 18 beautiful and entertaining tracks
- + Lots of variety in weaponry and racers
- - Lacks customization features
- - No online multiplayer
- - Rough around the edges when it comes to localization and using items