Naught 2 sees Blue Shadow Games bravely take several steps away from its original template. The temptation to knock out a quick sequel must have been great and the studio should be lauded for attempting something a little different.
Where the first game felt more like a platformer, your feline avatar encountering plenty of environmental hazards, its follow-up is more of an explorative adventure with enemies as its primary danger.
Unfortunately, both games suffer from the same fundamental flaws: a distinct lack of inspiration, an art style that aims for 'stylish' but hits 'bland and generic', and a control scheme that never quite feels fit for purpose.
Its setup mirrors a great many iOS games - collect three shiny doodads and head for the exit - though rather than completing single-screen puzzles you're travelling through intricate worlds, whose secrets are carefully squirrelled away, rewarding the patient explorer.
Rather than guiding the titular hero, your job is instead to move the world around him, either rotating your iOS device or tapping onscreen buttons to queasily swing it left and right.
A tree spirit joins you on your quest, pointing you in the right direction, and occasionally highlighting suspicious environmental features. In the early stages, you'll fall through plenty of hidden floors and jump upon fragile rocks to open up new areas, which are usually hiding one of three diamonds for you to retrieve.
Later you'll get access to a second playable character, as Naught steps on pieces of crystallised amber, transferring control to the tree spirit, which can zoom down narrow passageways, breaking up obstacles like Samus Aran's morph ball and bombs.
Of course, no dark and murky world is worth its salt without an element of danger, and so there are tentacles, thorny tangles of vines, goo-spewing nasties, and patrolling serpents waiting to gobble up Naught.
They're mostly easily avoided, however, and with fairly regular checkpoints and plentiful lives (earned by collecting blue seeds scattered throughout the levels) you shouldn't have too many problems reaching the exit.
Tilt to live
That said, there are occasions when the controls let you down. Using the accelerometer doesn't give you enough fine control, and no matter how vigorously you jerk your phone or tablet in the opposite direction, steering away from danger can be difficult at times.
Meanwhile, the button controls are far too skittish, making fine adjustments a real challenge. This reaches its nadir during the first boss battle, an awkward and tedious encounter that's easy in principle but frustratingly fiddly in practice.
Besides those issues, there's precious little sense of progression. The difficulty escalates slightly, with more hazards and enemies introduced throughout, but each level plays almost identically to the last.
49 shades of grey
Even its silhouetted art style feels a little tired - this may be a slicker, better-looking production than the original, but the monochrome aesthetic has been done better elsewhere, notably in Limbo and Contre Jour.
One or two highlights aside, Naught 2 is an insipid sequel, lacking a worthwhile hook and meandering towards its conclusion in a rather rudderless manner. Some solid art and music isn't enough to save this from being one of the most forgettable games we've seen all year.