XBLIG Review: Monster Katz – You’re gonna need nine lives to play

Monster Katz, published by Tiny’s Fury Studio, is a feline frenzied tower defense game where your life hangs in the balance. The quirky game is a great rendition of the tower defense genre and rekindles one’s hatred for cats.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pzTFig-QvLg

 

The overall feel of the game is Plants vs. Zombies with a grittier look. The similarity in mechanics and the general flow is uncanny, and Katz is clearly modeled off the Popcap hit. That being said, Plants vs. Zombies is an excellent game, and Katz does its best to emulate the experience.

You have a field you need to protect and you must use the tools you have available to provide that protection. In Katz, you get an array of water fueled weapons including a squirt gun and a slingshot. As the game levels progress more and more enemy cats appear with increasing difficulty, requiring specialized weapons and strategy. The game has a mix of water powered and non-water powered weapons that can hurt or distract the furious felines. You will need to have a good balance of the two as levels progress.

Every one knows cats hate water, so to power all the weapons you need the kryptonite-like liquid. To accomplish the task of gathering water, a windmill becomes a staple of your arsenal. The windmill needs to be placed on squares with water, so strategic placing becomes much harder. The windmill requires you to collect wind as it passes by to be placed on the mill. The windmills collect water and put it in a holding tank that water based weapons draw from. As the tank fills up and drains, it produces Whisper energy that fills up weapons you can use. For example, once you place a windmill, you need the Whisper energy to refill the windmill meter before you can place another windmill.

Despite the never-ending onslaught of crazed cats, the cats are not the only hurdle you need to cross as the water mills burn out after a set amount of time and need to be replaced. The only way to remove the mill is to reclaim the spot with a bomb, so cleverly called dabomb. The addition of decaying energy-gathering equipment is an intriguing mechanic and seems to work quite well. The mill failure adds a sense of difficulty all of its own to the later levels. It also requires you to keep focus on them to ensure steady power flow near the mid to final stretch of a particular level.

 

In addition to decaying windmills, the water holding tank can fill up. If this happens, the player can no longer collect whisper energy which would stop the ability to produce new units. On the other hand, if the water holding tank runs out, all water-based weapons become obsolete.

With the death of each cat, you can pick-up some coin to finance R&D in new weapons to stave off the cat invasion. The new toys are built to help protect your field, but you will need to choose wisely which power-ups you want because you can only take a select few with you on any given mission.

The music fits the game and the grunts and witch laughs are nice overlays during game play. The option to change the background music is a nice bonus, as all too often the same tune can become monotonous after a while. Also, the game does have the option to turn off the music and sounds altogether as well.

The visuals of Katz are not as crisp as other games, but the imagination put into each enemy cat is clearly present. The wide array of cats from the regular black cat to the mummy cat and the ghost cat give homage to the morbid affection Tiny’s Fury has toward its feline foes. The game is likely to cement your hatred in cats and their nine lives as the hordes of cats is unceasing and relentless in later levels.

At the time of review, survival and arcade mode were not yet available. However, both additions look extremely promising and could add many more hours of entertainment to the game.

The premise is not new, nor is the mechanics; however, Tiny’s Fury does a good job of recasting the premise of Plants vs. Zombies in a new light with different power-ups and enemies. Katz has a lot of game play, with a lot more on the way. It has its moments with clever bits, but do not expect any in-depth story or dialog, because it is not there. The game has enough to keep you busy for a while, so the extra fluff isn’t necessary anyway.

 

Final Rating: 9/10

 

CBR Break Down:
Console Played On
: XBLIG
Time to completion: 3-5 hours with many more on the way
Gamer Score Earned: N/A
Price Bought at: N/A – Copy provided by Tiny’s Fury Studio
Current Price: 80 Microsoft Points ($1)
Recommend Purchase Price: 80 Microsoft Points ($1)
Why you should buy it: This game is a great PvZ clone with its own unique flavor and feel. It utilizes cats instead of zombies because cats are a lot scarier, especially zombie cats.
Why you shouldn’t buy it: If you hate PvZ  or love cats to the point of the thought of hurting one makes you physically ill, stay away and leave this gem alone for the rest of us.

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About Steve Lesniewski

Steve lives in Chicago and recently graduated from the University of Illinois. He has been fascinated with video games since his ninth birthday when he received a Gameboy Color and Pokemon Blue. He loves following sports and cheers win or lose for the Bears, Bulls and the Fighting Illini, who include the 2012 men’s gymnastic national champs as well as the 2011 women’s volleyball national runner-up.