Fly Catbug Fly
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Posted 4/16/14 , edited 4/17/14
Personally, I think all phones are pocketable versions of Hal 9,000 which makes smart phones PCs

It seems that the rising trend in modern games is to forego conjuring up nightmarish baddies, and instead, pit the hero against matter itself, having walls, ceilings, and the players’ momentum as the main causes of death. It’s a decent concept that makes for good time killers like the million and one skins of “Robot Unicorn Attack” as well as the latest excuse for young adults to form suicide pacts, “Flappy Bird”. With the latter purged from the app store faster than a faulty Toyota and the former being lost to memory, humanity’s mobile devices are in need of a new materially challenged protagonist. Enter Catbug!

Catbug is a side character from animation studio, Frederator’s online cartoon “Bravest Warriors”. It’s a simply drawn blue cat with dead white eyes and a ladybug shell with the same voice and level of intelligence as a predatory toddler. It makes for some fun antics in the show, but Catbug’s ties to the show just boil down to backgrounds from different episodes and unlockable items that pay homage to the show itself. That being said there’s pretty much no story other than what players might make up to explain why Catbug’s collecting things as well as its sudden allergy to existence. I know it’s what the genre is known for, but maybe something like “Catbug is trapped in the holojohn” could’ve been worked in.

I suppose since the developers skipped the story that could’ve been, they could focus all their efforts on making Catbug’s gameplay feel like “Robot Unicorn Attack” Meets “Flappy Bird”. I say this because like in Flappy bird, all surfaces will bring Catbug to its adorable demise, and like in Robot Unicorn attack, there are items to find for point collecting while the game continues to go faster and faster. Players start out with three lives too, but that’s about where similarities start to fade out. In the holojohn, a futuristic bathroom that creates different holographic fantasies, Catbug must beat its little wings across the winding caverns to collect items referencing the show that are turned into cash via random portals. The money earned goes towards unlockable characters and items from useless things like extra health and protective layer of jelly fish to the absolutely important Wizard’s Beard. The unlocks to be found are all welcome buffer zones against the impending demise of Catbug by the hand of poor reflexes that fared no better in Flappy Bird’s tubular purgatory. However, if you’re anything like me, you’ll find that items toward the betterment of gameplay don’t mean shit when faced with a torrent of esthetic items taken from different parts of the show. Dual rocket launcher Beth can gather dust on that shelf for the rest of eternity for all I care- just as long as I can get enough for a top hat and matching monocle.

The visuals consist of randomly swapping 16 bit backgrounds that range from the rolling grassy plains from the start of pretty much every 2-D side scroller to a VIP lounge bathed in Male unicorn strippers flailing heads of lettuce around under dancing laser lights. I’m not even joking about that last part. This game has male unicorn strippers. I should stop the review right there shouldn’t I? What more incentive do you need to spend a dollar on other than unicorn strippers? Sure there are probably some other interesting backgrounds like the purple tiles and majestic glowy pink rivers of the see-through zone, but I haven’t made it that far.

Now, unlike many mobile games of this genre, there are actually bits to go into your ear hole; most of them being tolerable. The opening theme is this sort of late eighties to early nineties synth music with Marinas deep lyrics consisting of a drawn out “Bravest Warriors” that’s been flanged to the max. Most of the themes in game however, fit more along the lines of retro games, heavy on the beeps with a side of blorps. The music is never distracting as should be the case with all games, but there is one stage with no music at all. It is quite possibly the worst aspect of the game. It changes the theme from fun on the precipice of the universe to flying about in purgatory. As far as little effects go, Catbug will say a line or two at random with only that line or two in its voice bank.

What I really like about this game though is how much weight player death holds once those three or five hearts are all burned out. When Catbug dies, he becomes a singularity, ripping the caverns that killed you to pieces as his vengeful radiation spews forth. This would be like Mario dying and taking bowser’s castle with him. It’s great because in pretty much every game where death is a possibility, you’re just another meaningless pile of flesh dropping to the dirt like everyone else when you die. Not Catbug. He believes that if he can’t exist, no one can, and he goes out with the best agonizing death scream I’ve ever heard. That being said though, I was kind of hoping that the first game based off of “Bravest warriors” to come out would be a bit more creative, like an adventure game taking place in the unicorn stripper zone, but I digress. The game is good for those times when you find yourself spending more time in a regular john than you expected, or if you’re waiting a while in an airport terminal. I’d say pick it up from the app store. Even if you end up hating it for the soul-crushing warp zone, I doubt that dollar could’ve served any greater purpose than for seeing unicorn strippers.
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Posted 12/25/15
"Year-end cleanup. Closing threads with no activity since 2014."
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