Skater Cat
| Skater Cat

Skater Cat is definitely fun, but at times it tries very hard to ruin any enjoyment you might be experiencing.

It's a platformer / auto-runner hybrid eShop downloadable for your 3DS, sporting a cutesy kitty visual style and excellent controls. However, the music will drive you insane, and a lot of the gameplay ideas almost rely on you having precognition (or a lot of time to practise) to truly excel at them.

While it's not exactly the most exciting release for the eShop, it is a solid one, and despite its many failings Skater Cat manages to keep things interesting and cheery enough to make for a cautious recommendation.

Hitting the spikes causes you to lose speed
Hitting the spikes causes you to lose speed

In Skater Cat you play as a cat who has a skateboard. Why? No idea. Does that matter? Not in the least.

Your job is not to think about the staggering implications of felines choosing skateboards as their primary means of transport. You just have to concentrate on leaping over chasms and jumping over spikes, collecting other cats along the way for an added burst of speed.

The more mogs that join you on the way to the finish line of each level the faster you speed through the streets. If you want a high score, you'll need to complete stages quickly, but spiky dogs often find a way to get in front of you, and if you knock into them you lose one of your collected kittehs.

Another way to earn points is to collect the small golden fish that are scattered throughout each stage. Sometimes you pass through a golden hoop, and golden fish rain down from the sky, giving you a nice bonus.

It can be quite exhilarating when everything's going well, and though you can get better at the game through hours of practice I generally found that it was luck and reflexes that got me through each stage.

Because of this, getting each medal of the three possible feels a little too hit-and-miss for my liking. There are a couple of fun ideas in play - such as the arrows that provide quick bursts of speed, and the lever that flips gravity so that you're skating on the ceiling - but I never quite felt in total control of my moggie.

Bounce on a rock to make nice colours come from them

It's nothing to do with the actual controls, as they're great. You hold right on the direction pad to keep advancing through the stage (though you can stop and reverse a little too), there's a button to jump and double-jump, and that's about it. They're responsive, and that's important in a game like this.

No, the real problem is that the game's camera is just too close to the 2D action, which means that you don't feel like you have quite enough time to react to what's ahead.

The characters are cute, but the presentation problems are detract from this good work. The landscapes across stages are cut-and-paste jobs, with bits of scenery in odd places, and everything lacks imagination in its design.

There's an odd bug that scrolls the backgrounds before the camera starts moving, too, making for a sloppy-looking zoetrope effect.

But it's the music that offends most. The same short tune, repeated over and over, on every level. It's surprisingly amateurish.

Skater Cat is an entertaining if flawed little downloadable, then, and one to play in bites rather than all in one go. If you're not tired of auto-runners yet, it's worth a look.

Skater Cat

It has some shocking flaws, but Skater Cat is still just about good enough to be worth a recommendation
Peter Willington
Peter Willington
Die hard Suda 51 fan and professed Cherry Coke addict, freelancer Peter Willington was initially set for a career in showbiz, training for half a decade to walk the boards. Realising that there's no money in acting, he decided instead to make his fortune in writing about video games. Peter never learns from his mistakes.