When I first read that there was a cat-based Metroidvania that’s inspired by Slavic mythology, I knew I had to check it out.
If you’re like me, you have an appreciation for well-crafted pixel art video games. So when I saw Cotton Fantasy coming to the Nintendo Switch, I was immediately intrigued, given the genre and cat-based storyline. It turned out to be my second favorite teenage witch-based game of 2022, and it’s worth picking up for any pixel lover. Here’s why I love this game so much…
The player enters the maze as Alesta, a teenage witch who finds her life turned upside down after a rather hapless experience. Wanting to bring her mother back from the world of the dead, Alesta soon enlists the help of cats that form the link between the world of the living and the dead, also known as Yavi and Navi.
The player explores a number of different settings and locations as they progress through the Catmaze world. In Metroidvania fashion, new upgrades and new abilities become available that allow Alesa to unlock different locations. Want to get witchy on a broomstick? There’s an upgrade for that. Want to ride a wolf and put your canine/feline discontent behind you? Saddle up and let’s get busy!
Enemy and gameplay variety keeps the experience fresh. Spells, hidden rooms, and interesting enemies keep thing spooky along your way through the Catmaze world. Ghosts, evil mermaids, bad mushrooms, and ghosts of all sizes test your witchiness. Classic platforming enemy behavior provides a fairly intuitive experience for a casual witchthrough.
Catmaze is fairly fast-paced and spooky. Areas hit the tropey notes you’d expect, and levels range from predictable and simple to frenetic and fun to clear as enemies continually fill the screen. Things move fast, and thanks to the variety of level design, different challenges feel reminiscent of Metroidvania classics.
Graphics & Sound
One of Catmaze’s strongest features is its elegant pixel art. It’s not flashy or lo-fi, and scratches the pitch of continuity. It is dynamic, detailed, and contains sweeping set-pieces and spooky shifts around the player characters. Enemies can range from striking and scary to cute and humorous.
Boss battles are full of character, and bring attack variety to keep things Twitchable. Playing at the default 'Normal' difficulty, the boss battles can feel short at times. Turning the difficulty up remedies that, if you're up to the challenge.
The soundtrack is fun without being overpowering, and complements the retro packaging nicely.
This release lives up to a cat-based pixel art game enthusiast’s quality standards. The variety and depth of gameplay checks the boxes of a fun game night treat. The variety of gameplay keeps something elegant feeling fresh, and I believe more cat based games will only improve my Switch home screen.
It should come as no surprise that Catmaze is recommended, and the fun is easy to find.