Scram Kitty DX Review + Video Review

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Title: Scram Kitty DX
Developer: Dakko Dakko
Game Type: PlayStation Vita
Download: 112 MB
NA Availability: 
Digital Download

EU Availability: Digital Download
PSTV Support: Yes

For years, developers have been melding genres together in new games.  There are many games on the market that don’t have a single genre to classify them as.  Maybe a game has light RPG elements and light puzzle elements and light shooter elements.  What is it?  An RPG?  A Puzzler?  A shooter?  An RPG Puzzle-based Shooter?  The options can really be extensive at times.

Looking through the PS Vita’s library, we have some games like this.  The Firefly Diary can sort of classify as this.  It’s a platformer and a puzzler both.  The same can be said for the game Nihilumbra.  More games are coming out that take little bits and pieces of various genres to throw into the mix as well.  La Mulana EX could almost be counted as this, too, having puzzle and platforming elements.

Today, we take a look at a game that was once a Wii U exclusive, but now is not.  The developer dakko dakko thought of a unique way to blend a bunch of simple genres into a game that is both simple and complex at the same time.  Taking elements from three different genres, here is my official review of Scram Kitty DX!

Story

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The story of Scram Kitty DX revolves around a protagonist who receives a message from his long-lost kitty, known as Scram Kitty.  As you translate a crypted message of meows and purrs, you realize that your kitty has been lured and trapped in a large space laboratory that is orbiting the planet.

After an experiment went terribly wrong in this laboratory, a breed of genius and power-crazed lab rats were born, whom took over the lab and lured every cat in the entire world inside the laboratory.  It is then up to you and an anti-gravity spin-board to infiltrate the lab and rescue all of the cats from the hands of the mutated rats.

The plot of Scram Kitty isn’t something you’re told.  If you boot up the game, you’ll be taken straight to the main menu.  The only way you’ll know there’s a story to the game at all is by going into the game’s manual.  As you can see, there is a story.  But you have to search around just to find it and learn what’s going on.

Gameplay

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Scram Kitty DX is a game that is hard to define because the core gameplay is a mix of different genres.  The game is partially an anti-gravity platformer.  Another part is a shoot-em-up.  A third part is a puzzle game.  What you get is a mix of these three game types that can only actively be called an arcade platformer with shooting and puzzle elements.

When you first boot up the game, you have a few different game modes you can go into.  The Main Menu gives you the options of Adventure, Challenge, Options, and Cross-Save.  Adventure and Challenge are the actual gameplay modes.  Adventure is the main campaign and Challenge is exclusive to the DX version, where you can re-play the Adventure stages for various challenges, like speed runs.

Options and Cross-Save are more configuration additions to the game.  Options is where you can adjust the volume of the music and sound effects of the game.  Cross-Save is where you can synchronize or clear the save data that is shared between the PS Vita and PS4 versions of the game.  Not a lot to do there, but Cross-Save is something that also wasn’t in the original Wii U version of the game.

Playing the game’s 29 stages has you doing platforming along with a few other things.  When a stage starts, you are traversing walls on a spin-board, which has wheels that spin around allowing you to move around.  The goal of the game is to traverse through each stage to take down enemies as well as performing specific objectives to rescue cats and move onto the next stage.  Further stages unlock when you have certain numbers of cats

The four types of cats to rescue each require a specific objective.  The first is to reach the stage’s exit.  The second is to collect 100 coins in the stage.  The third is to take down a mini-boss that appears in certain areas of the stage.  The fourth is to find it and chase it around the stage with time limitations until it moves to the exit.  Not all stages have all 4 types to rescue, though.

Performing these objectives is done by exploring and learning each stage.  The stages have hazards as well as enemies for you to defeat and avoid.  Utilizing all aspects of your spin-board is key to this, notably different weapons you can find and doing double-jumps to enter your “Fire” invincible mode to traverse certain types of obstacles.  Some obstacles can only be cleared by certain weapons, for example.

The biggest annoyance in the game is when you run out of health.  When you’re doing a stage, it could take several minutes to do the separate requirements for each cat.  Then, you could get to the end of the stage and lose that last bar of health right before the exit.  You then get to re-do the entire stage.  There is a challenge and strategy aspect to it, so you should expect to play most stages at least a few times to get the hang of it before getting every cat.

While this can seem a little frustrating at times, the worst case scenario is you re-do a few minutes of gameplay.  This is much less frustrating than some of the same types of situations in other games, like Freedom Wars.  Replaying 5 minutes is nothing compared to re-doing an hour-long quest.  Though the other annoyance is that the game isn’t explained to you.  Unless you look at the manual, you’ll be figuring everything out as you go.

Past the game’s 29 stages, Scram Kitty DX will likely take you at least a few hours to clear.  If you don’t get into the system right away, you could easily double that.  It’s got a decent length for a game of its kind, but don’t expect something that’s going to take away 40 hours of your gaming time.

Controls

Scram Kitty DX is an easy game to control, though the controls aren’t explained to you outside of the game’s manual.  First thing to note is that the game does not have any touch-based controls.  Everything will be played with the buttons on the system.  Another thing to note is that all of the controls are the same on both the PS Vita and the PlayStation TV.

When you’re going through a stage, you will be using the Left Analog Stick and/or D-Pad to move around.  The L trigger can be used to switch weapons, but the face buttons are the stars of this game’s button setup.  You can jump with either the X or Circle buttons and you can fire off shots from your currently-selected weapon with the Square or Triangle buttons.  That’s all there is to the control scheme.  It cannot be changed, but it’s pretty simple, regardless.

Presentation

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As far as the presentation is concerned, Scram Kitty looks very well-done on the PS Vita’s screen.  The visuals mostly consist of 2D visuals with a few 3D renders thrown into the mix in certain areas of the game.  Everything about the presentation looks crisp and flawless.  From the environments to the battle effects, you won’t see a single jagged edge or imperfection from start to finish.

The way the game plays was also optimized very well.  Whether you’re playing on the Vita or the PSTV, there won’t be any lag to consider and the load times are nearly non-existent.  Dakko Dakko is one of the developers whom did a really nice job of optimizing their game for play on Sony’s handheld console.  It is rare to see a game without any technical problems from start to finish.

Summary

Scram Kitty DX is an enhanced version of the same game for the Wii U.  On the downside, the game doesn’t tell you what the story is or how to play the game, requiring you to look at the manual.  Outside of this is a cute and well-optimized arcade platformer that will keep the kitty fan busy for a good while. 

9/10

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