Cat Cave: Attack of the Batworms, is a quirky endless runner created by Astire Games, an independent company based in Texas, focusing on making mobile, Web and Virtual Reality games. They started 2016 with the aim to make a game a month, their first few games were created in 30 days or less. Their games include: Splashdash Bones, Color Bounce, Ice Breakout and Cat Cave. These games are either available for Android or on the Web (Color Bounce is available for both). In Cat Cave you play as a cat, running through a cave, you can either avoid or eat (by dashing through or jumping on top of) the batworms, and you collect hearts to get extra points towards your score. The objective is to get a high score, either try to beat your personal best or compete with friends.
Cat Cave is a simple game, and is unique compared to most endless runners. This is because your view is like a side scroller, compared to other endless runners like Subway Surfers which give you a 3rd person perspective of your character. Also ‘batworms’ is definitely a new enemy I haven’t come across in any other game in my life. During my time of playing various endless runners I have noticed that you always run away from something that is chasing you, however in Cat Cave you are running towards the batworms and you can eat them, rather than having to avoid them.
Visually, Cat Cave is pleasing as it is easy to look at and it uses simple but effective colours, such as darker colours for the background and for the cat vibrant colours are used for it to stand out. The background stays the same throughout with slight animation on shining objects, and what appears to be snow in the background if you look carefully. Batworms are green which makes them easier to see, for me a game with contrasting colours like this is great, because the important features stand out to the background so they don’t blend in with it. Cat Cave for a simple mobile game honestly looks aesthetically amazing, also not forgetting all of the colours are subtle even though the cat has vibrant colours they aren’t ’ ‘in your face’, which if they were could distract you from your environment in the game. Even though it would be better if the background changed, for example the cave could change shape or maybe go to darker colours as you progress.
Unfortunately, Cat Cave lacks any background music, you obviously have sound effects for the actions you do and faintly you can hear footsteps on the ground. But generally there is no background music, which gives an atmosphere-less effect, because if you are just running across the ground you don’t really have any music to keep you entertained other than watching a cat run across the floor. Preferably, I would rather have background music to any mobile game because it gives an atmosphere and it is slightly more entertaining rather than listening to footsteps. However, moving on from the background music, the sound effects put into the game are actually really loud and clear, you have sound effects when you jump and dash, as well as when you collect hearts and die. These sound effects all fit their purpose, so when you dash it sounds the same as it does when you move an object quickly through the air in real life, which makes it as realistic as it could possibly be considering you are playing as a cat in a cave of batworms.
Cat Cave does have some issues with it which do affect the game itself, for starters there is not really any tutorial. At the start you get given two hints which are ‘tap to jump’ and ‘swipe right to dash in air’. Personally, there should have been more of a tutorial so you get a full understanding of the features, I found myself playing the game and having to discover features such as double jump by accident. I also wasn’t aware at the start that you could dash through the batworms to eat them, so I only thought I could jump on them to kill them. Unfortunately, when you jump on one it sends you higher in the air, so I jumped on a high batworm, then discovered that it sent me higher in the air, this lead to me dying when I was about to beat my highscore. I found that sometimes you can die near the stalactites and stalagmites (for anyone with little knowledge on caves these are the spikes from the floor and ceilings), so rather than me making contact with them and dying, I died hovering above or below them when I wasn’t visibly making contact with them. Finally, when I try to dash right sometimes the cat will double jump rather than dash, this like the other issues can cause death, which is more than frustrating and can make the game un-playable when it repeatedly does it. I have cleaned the screen of my phone and have had multiple tests of the game, either way this problem can still occur randomly when you play and as I have said already, it is more than frustrating. These problems make the game un-playable sometimes and make it considerably less enjoyable.
Cat Cave does include a feature which for endless runners is crucial. Randomly generated features, now the only feature in this game that it randomly generated is the enemies. This makes it more challenging to play and also more enjoyable because you can’t learn where the enemies will spawn, it will be random. I have encountered one problem with this, sometimes they will spawn when you come close to a stalagmite/stalactite and you don’t have enough time to react and you will die from it. Apart from that little mishap, the fact they randomly spawn is wonderful and it provides a challenge and it makes Cat Cave more exciting and it definitely puts your reaction time to the test if you want to avoid them or grab some extra points to improve your score.
Cat Cave is definitely a one of a kind endless runner and is a very creative approach to this genre for a mobile game. For a game that had been created within a month it definitely beats some of the endless runners I have played before and the concept of playing as a cat and eating batworms adds a humorous tone. The game would be great for younger people as well as older because it is more of a family-friendly game and once you get passed learning all of the features can be enjoyable. Obviously, the factors which I mentioned earlier about the problems do make the game unbearable to play at times and can frustrate even the most patient of people. These factors for me bring down what could be potentially be a really good game and even though it is better than some of the endless runners I have played, for me it isn’t a particularly astounding game with these issues.