Cat Stack has a good name, I'll give it that. It's quick, it tells us exactly what we're getting, and it's just kinda fun to say. This streamlined approach to creation carries over to the gameplay itself, although I'd be inclined to say that Full Fat Productions' effort is, ironically, a little too slim for its own good.
You might have already guessed that Cat Stack sees you stacking some cats. These feline friends are often grossly misshapen, whether in size or bone structure, and all too happy to be dropped onto a precarious tower of other malformed moggies.
The stack building is pitched somewhere between Jenga and Tetris, which - to me at least - sounds like a pretty good time. Sadly, it exhibits neither the tension of the former nor the demanding gameplay of the latter.
Your primary challenge would initially appear to be selecting the right cat, or cat paraphernalia, for each drop. However, you're only ever given two options at a time, and this basically limits your input to angling the position at which the cat/item will fall.
You might be thinking "that sounds just like Tetris, so why are you having a moan?" – well, that's because, in Cat Stack, there is zero punishment for taking your sweet time. There is nothing driving you forward, and it's not like there's much room for slow and tactical thought with each drop.
As a result of this, not even my most successful run felt like a gratifying show of skill. Instead, I chalked up my more impressive towers to me having been particularly lucky with the randomly selected cats. Honestly, for having such a simple concept, the game's core feels woefully undercooked.
And, with only one mode currently available, it's far too light a package to warrant paying £2.99 to remove the abundant ads. For sure, there's plenty of potential here for a couple half-decent modes, and so maybe it'll be worth trying out in a few months. But, in its current state, Cat Stack is almost devoid of compelling gameplay.
I suppose I'm not really sure who the ideal player is for this. I'd imagine that children will likely get bored or overly distracted by the frequent ads, and the stacking is far too basic for us oldies.
It's a shame, then, that the game never fully embraces its unique elements of cat-based body horror. Sure, that would likely rule out marketing this to kids, but I'd certainly be more engaged.
Thankfully, it's all presented well enough. The colourful visuals and contorted cats are ok to look at for a bit; the music, while not particularly catchy or memorable, never became an overt irritation, and the menus are simple and neatly organised.
Your rewards for extended play are cats, cats, and more cats – 51 in total. Each of them has their own little bio, which will give you some insight into their likes and dislikes. This is purely to instil them with some personality, and so don't expect to be unlocking gameplay altering pussies as you progress.
In the end, slowly amassing a gargantuan collection of cats wasn't enough for me to keep playing, nor will it likely hold the attention of even the biggest feline-fanatics out there.
Frankly, there are better stacking games, better cat games, and probably better cat-stacking games already on mobile stores, so this one should only be picked up if you've somehow managed to exhaust that bottomless pit.
The game just sort of exists - lying there without anything resembling a pulse, much like my beloved childhood moggie on Christmas morning. And if that description isn't enough to discourage you, then I don't know what is.