Quick Look – PuzzlePet – Feed Your Cat (#JustOnePercent 16/100)

Developer: Tribus Games Indie
Release Date: March 26, 2021
MSRP: $0.99

Puzzle games of various flavors have, so far, been over-represented as a genre for this project, and I expect that trend to continue. There are a few reasons for this. First off, I like puzzle games; they’re typically low commitment, easy to learn, and satisfying to play. Secondly, puzzle games tend to be shorter, and they tend to be less expensive to produce, and therefore are frequently released at a really reasonable price point, meaning they’re a low-risk financially speaking. I would also guess – although never having attempted game design myself, I really would just be guessing – that puzzle games are easier to actually put together than a lot of other genres, making them a good starter choice for a new developer.

PuzzlePet – Feed Your Cat is a fairly basic minimalist puzzle game. There’s no story, and there are very few mechanics. The first five levels are brain numbingly simple, serving as a text-free tutorial. If you’re not enjoying what the game is doing by level 10, it’s probably not going to impress you with the next 40 levels.

All you need to do it make sure that every cat on every level gets the food they require. Most cats need a single can, with some needing two (as indicated by the number 2 in a box over their head). You cannot pass a cat without feeding them, so you must make sure to hold enough food to get by the cats blocking other cans.

Although it would never be an extraordinary game concept, a few ease-of-play upgrades might have flipped the switch over from tedious (which it was for me) to an enjoyable low-investment puzzle game. Needing to click each and every box along your route, even when there were no directional options available meant you spent far longer on each puzzle than you needed to figure out the proper pathing. I could see this working much better on a touch screen, or with click-and-drag enabled, but having to click, and then wait for your player marker to make the journey, and then click again wasn’t enjoyable, especially given just how much backtracking there was in most levels. It slowed down a game that really didn’t need to be any slower.

Halfway through the included levels, when I had pretty much given up on any additional mechanics making an appearance, one way paths (indicated by the orange arrows) began to show up. However, instead of feeling like a natural progression of challenge, I felt like it just added a need for even more backtracking, rather than a greater difficulty. I was finding that the ratio of satisfaction to actual enjoyable game play wasn’t landing in an acceptable range for me. Figuring it out felt good, actually implementing it did not.

I will say, however, that the graphical style is nice and clean, meaning you didn’t feel like a text-based tutorial was lacking in any way. The music was pleasant, and not at all grating, and the sound effects of the cat’s meowing and purring were lovely. Being able to one-click reset the puzzle when I made an error was a great feature, but the longer I played, the more likely I was to fully plot out my route before making a single move. If you like the aesthetic, and appreciate a puzzle game that doesn’t expect too much from the player, you might enjoy this one for the hour to hour and a half it would take to complete all 50 levels.

Disclaimer: While I won’t say I disliked PuzzlePet – Feed Your Cat, I also did not make it the full hour. I completed 27/50 levels in 42 minutes, and by that point, I not only felt that I had an adequate picture of what the game had to offer, but the small irritations had left me disinterested in continuing.

While I might have found this title a little difficult to recommend, it would seem the majority of players who left reviews wouldn’t agree.

SteamDB estimates that PuzzlePet – Feed Your Cat has sold somewhere between 700 and 2000 copies. Most reviewers gave it a thumbs up, and it is ranked 1277 out of 10,967 games released in 2021.

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