Review: Scram Kitty and His Buddy on Rails (Wii U)
In all the games I have ever played I don’t think I have encountered one quite with a name like this. Some of you probably don’t even believe me that this game exists, yet if you search for it on your Wii U you will find that it most certainly does. While the name is perhaps reason enough to try it / stay away depending on how odd you like your game names (never judge a book by its cover and all that), one thing is for sure, you won’t play many games quite like it.
Scram Kitty is a platformer (I think) of sorts and unlike other games which are considered “on rails” due to their linear structure, Scram Kitty actually takes place on rails. What I mean by this is that you take control of a character who sits in a little cart, attached to rails like a roller coaster track, armed with two guns.
If that’s not quite odd enough, you also have to go around the level rescuing little kitty cats who are floating around the stage. Doing this while collecting little orbs, jumping from different rails to other rails and avoiding enemies which look like little sheep, some who attack back and others who do not.
This formula does not alter very much throughout the games levels, only it gets quite a bit more difficult and rather fast. Some levels are straight-forward, where you just need to get to the end and save one cat. Others are a bit more elaborate where you will need to collect all the little orbs to find a cat, or take out a ‘boss’ enemy to free a cat, or locate a cat in a stage and have to chase it around the stage in different areas in a set amount of time to free it.
These objectives are done with a couple of tools at hand. Firstly you use your characters weapons to take out enemies of course. You then have the ability to almost act as a sling shot to jump from one rail to the next and swing around it, if needed, to get to places faster or seemingly out of reach, and lastly you can get a jump boost by collecting battery-like objects.
It’s with the latter two that the game becomes a bit annoying. At no point do you actually feel quite in control of your character and his little cart. Sometimes you try to jump and the way you should direct your character doesn’t quite happen purely because the controls are just far too clunky and you end up having to do the same thing over and over again in order to progress.
Now I understand that this is the case often with platformers but Scram Kitty is kind of like getting a gun to shoot someone in the head but all you really have is a water pistol which is annoying more than anything.
It’s a pity because the level design and gameplay is quite unique and cleverly thought out, but the movement just isn’t in sync with the ideas behind it. To go with that, it has very little variety in terms of objectives which means it gets a little stale if you play for long periods.
It’s still a fun game, far more than I expected in any case, but its limitations prevent it from actually being a great, or even a good game. The only variety comes in the form of time-based challenges where you play through the same levels but try to finish them in a specific amount of time. It’s just more of the same though really.
Even the visuals and music change little during the game and while the level design is creative there is nothing about it that really stands out and catches the eye. Sound effects are limited to background music and the occasional ‘pew pew’ from enemies or yourself. It’s Barely even worth mentioning.
For something considered ‘on rails’ Scram Kitty just seems to lack a bit of direction. It will definitely keep you busy for a while considering you need to save as many of the cats as possible to progress, but that will only keep you busy if you have the patience and frustration tolerance of a Monk. There might even be a story in there somewhere, but that will be dependent on how much drinking you have done before playing.