I don’t understand why some developers decide to put a thousand flashing images into their games. Do they aim to subvert our attention from subpar gameplay mechanics? Do they believe players need constant streams of pretty colors to hold our attention? Or do they simply have no restraint and throw every idea in their head into their creations? Whatever the case, results can be disastrous if not properly balanced with some creative gameplay.

Normally, most of our feline-based reviews immediately go to Eric, but as he is otherwise occupied I stepped up to give this one a shot. Iron Cat from Chinese developer Nine Key Interactive hits on what I find most annoying and pointless in the mobile market, but due to some solid gameplay, I actually enjoyed this one. It’s a mix between a third-person shooter and tower defense starring (of course) a cat. This kitty is packing heat in the form of a rifle and attempts to take down alien invaders before they reach the other end of the screen. Kill enemies and gain coins; let them through and lose health. It’s about as easy a concept as there is to understand in gaming, a tried and true model all gamers are familiar with… if not fans of.

Note: You probably want to mute the following video, unless you want to hear a child speaking way too loud over Who Let the Dogs Out while outside. You have been warned.

If you bothered to watch that, the first word that should come to mind is “busy.” There is a ton going on in this game, with ten clickable options on the opening menu alone, all of which flash and gyrate to draw your attention. There’s next to no empty space on the screen, as if the devs decided to give gamers anything they could possibly want and plenty that they don’t. There’s no need for all of these icons to overload my senses as soon as I log in. Couldn’t they have put all of the upgrades under one icon with multiple tabs, as they do with the store icon? This game’s sparkly clutter doesn’t come anywhere close to that of my nemesis, Dr. Monto – just finding and clicking on that old review nearly gave me a seizure – but it far exceeds what I consider to be necessary for a mobile game. All of these options are easy to navigate so you won’t get lost on the crowded main menu, but this could still really use some restraint.

(See Also: Is Super Phantom Cat the best iOS platformer available?)

The child in that video also had a preposterous amount of in-game currency that says either we have found the greatest mobile game grinder the world has ever known or that the security code to mommy’s credit card isn’t a secret. You don’t start off broke though; in fact I appreciate that players start out with a fair amount of both fish and coins, which you’ll use to buy much appreciated power-ups early on. These include bombs, shields, new guns, and upgrades for your existing weapons. The one upgrade you should get first, however, is for your “pet.” Every time you embark in battle, a small creature floats around you and fires at enemies who get too close (look, another small flashing on-screen thing!). The starting pet is practically useless, but the highest upgrade does chain damage and slows down approaching baddies. It’s absolutely the best upgrade you’ll make early on, but only by exploring every option in the menu will you see just how dynamic a difference the little fella can make. Rest assured, you’ll need all the help you can get.

In the early levels, simple aliens in ships cruise towards you, firing single bullets. Then come larger enemies with triple shots, enemies that turn transparent every few seconds, shielded enemies… the list goes on and on. The most obnoxious of the villains are giant fireballs that come rolling your way in waves of three, which would not be too annoying if not for the giant WARNING sign flashing across the top of your screen every damn time. There are boss ships as well, and also floating cat statues that drop power-ups or currency. When all of these factors combine in a single level, things do get a bit overwhelming visually. That being said, as a player it can leave you scrambling to switch between one of your three equipped weapons, debating on whether to pull the trigger on one of your pricey power-ups, and reloading as quickly as possible. Basically, you’re going to have to work if you want to win… or pay lots of money for all the fish and coins you can afford.

Plenty of games in this model leave players on the lurch, desperate to pay cash in order to progress. With Iron Cat, you can feel yourself understanding the patterns of your enemies and the effectiveness of each gun with every level you play. There’s no need to spend money on boatloads of in-game currency when you’re rewarded daily and prize missions pop up on a semi-regular basis. The amount of strategy you put in won’t rival Starcraft or anything like that, but it isn’t exclusively a point-and-shoot game either. That middle ground feels like the sweet spot for a mobile game of this nature, and it managed to help me block out some of the flashing absurdity. That’s saying a lot given my predilection towards minimalism.

If you are a big fan of games that light up your phone with mismatched razzle-dazzle like you’re on the Vegas strip, this game is absolutely for you. If you despise it with a ruthless passion as I usually do, I’d still ask you to check this game out. It’s a nice time killer with enough decent gameplay and creative baddies to help you ignore some of the more egregious visual affronts.

Iron Cat is available for iOS devices here and Android devices here.

[ Source: www.HaoGamers.com ]

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