At first glance, Bubbles the Cat looks like any other auto-running, retro-styled platformer. But dig a bit deeper and you'll find some of the best leaping that mobile gaming has had to offer for a while.

There are a few new ideas here, and a bunch of interesting mechanics that keep things fresh. Double jumps, wall jumps, and more are all here, but they're each given their own little twist, which makes the game even more interesting than it should be.

Throw in a decent level of challenge, some masterful design choices, and slick controls, and you're left with a brilliant game that's familiar and new at the same time.

Cat-ch the bubbles

You're playing the titular cat, who isn't just an adorable feline friend, it's also capable of creating bubbles. Those bubbles give you a handful of extra jumps while you're in the air, and they're the key to the game's successes.

You'll find different kinds of bubbles as you play - some of them turn your in-air jumps into explosions that rocket you high into the air, others will create a wall where there wasn't one before, letting you get past spikes with clever timing.

There are a lot of spikes to get past. And massive gaps, lasers, bouncing critters, and much more. Levels roll by at a pretty blinding pace, but the controls are slick enough that you never feel like they're to blame for your mistakes - that's super important in mobile platformers especially.

Bubbles the Cat iOS screenshot - Using the wall jump power-up

The shortness of the levels is padded out a little with a star rating system. Get to the end of a level and you get one star, get there before a clock runs out and you get another. Grabbing all of the fish-coins on a level gets you the final star, but doing all three in one go is pretty much impossible the deeper you get into the experience.

There's no back-tracking here to get more stars to open content gates though - the challenges are simply there if you fancy testing out your skills. And to be honest, you probably will. That's just the sort of game that Bubbles the Cat is, and the sort of player that it's likely to entice.

No, there's not a lot here you haven't seen before, but Bubbles the Cat deals with those ideas and mechanics in new ways. Sure, it's a game filled with spikes and jumping, but it's always happy to throw something slightly skewed into the mix to keep you on your toes.

Nine lives

Bubbles the Cat is the sort of smart blend of old and new that can resonate brilliantly when it's done well. It's old fashioned enough to make you feel at home, but without any of the cruelty that some retro platformers seem desperate to fill themselves up with.

If you're on the lookout for a challenging, mobile-sized platformer that never rests on its laurels and isn't afraid to try out new things, then you should definitely be considering picking this one up.

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