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Roll The Cat Review


Ratalaika, Ratalaika, Ratalaika. What else can be said about them? Whereas some publishers struggle to even get one game out in a year, their current total to date is four for this month alone. One would think when you release games at such a click, you risk a lapse in quality control, but Ratalaika Games is unlike other publishers. Their goal is to find indie gems that are mostly stuck on the PC market and help bring them to consoles. One such game, Roll the Cat, has released into the Xbox ecosystem. Is it more satisfying than a cat’s purr, or does it belong in the litter box?

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Beginning with a brief overview, Roll the Cat is a puzzle game developed by a single developer named LeJunesArt. Initially released on Steam, it garnered a positive response from fans. The game, in essence, is a cat lover’s dream… and nightmare. You play as a young woman who needs to get her cats to sleep. How does she do it? By rolling their lazy behinds into bed!

The best aspect of the game, by far, is the aesthetic style. The visuals have a hand-drawn, pastel feel and it looks great. Every time you get a unique piece of art in between blocks of levels is a genuine treat. Moreover, the music is cozy and relaxing. There is an almost lo-fi vibe to the game that makes the experience on the surface relaxing.

However, to its credit or detriment (it depends on the player), Roll the Cat is not a walk in the park. The gameplay ultimately boils down to a take on the Sokoban genre. While you may not know these games by name, you’ve certainly played them. The goal in such titles is to slide a box (or in this case, roll a cat) into the right spot. Overstep your boundaries, and you risk getting stuck and having to start again. It’s deceptively simple, but do not be fooled.

The game itself consists of fifty levels. The first ten or so are very easy, but as more cats are added and more obstacles, the challenge rises very quickly. The game, I would argue, is well aware of this fact. Achieving 1000 GamerScore only takes until level twenty-five, and the subsequent levels are far more challenging. If you want your brain teased, this is certainly the game for you. However, if you just want a quick and easy 1000 Gamerscore, Roll the Cat does a good job accommodating your needs as well. Except level twenty-four… that one’s a toughie!

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Now, whether I liked this game or not is a tougher question. The late Roger Ebert once said (and I’m paraphrasing here): “I try to judge a film not on my overall personal level of enjoyment, but on how well it fits the needs of the audience who should love it.” I aspire to take a similar approach in my writing. As a genre, I am admittedly not a huge fan of puzzle games. There is the odd gem like Sinkr or Tetris Effect: Connected that truly connects with me (pun fully intended), but on the whole, my brain is not wired for these types of games. I tend to gravitate towards edge-of-your-seat action or slower-paced narratives. As such, there were times when Roll the Cat did get under my skin. Sometimes, the low-fi chill aesthetic was at odds with my frustration at a tough puzzle.

With this being said, does this make Roll the Cat a bad game? Absolutely. Freaking. Not! What is here is incredibly charming, well-designed and fiendishly clever. I just happen to not tend to gel with this sort of genre. I do not think it’s fair for my own preferences to bias such a review, so if you are a fan of puzzle games, I think you will absolutely love this. If you are a cat person, I think you will really like this too (It’s hard not to have even the coldest of hearts warmed by some of the adorable mews and meows in this game).

In terms of polish, the game is well optimized. The install size is under half a gigabit without compromising on graphics quality. The controls are simple and well realized, with both the d-pad and control stick available at your disposal. I encountered a sum total of zero glitches in my time. That’s not to say everything is perfect. Returning to the main menu, for instance, requires quitting and restarting. The walk cycle is very slow-paced and can make puzzles take longer than they should. However, these are very minor nitpicks.

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Finally, to touch briefly upon the price, the game only costs £4.99. Given the fifty levels in place, the charming aesthetic and the decent amount of replayability, I think this is more than fair.

To conclude, Roll the Cat is a very well-made game. The titular cats are adorable, the puzzles are challenging and the art direction is top-notch. There were some times when I was frustrated, but that was rarely the fault of the game. Just a symptom of never being too good at these types of puzzlers. I think if you are a cat lover or a puzzle master who wants a few hours of fun at a very reasonable price, this game will be right up your alley!

Roll the Cat is available on the Xbox Store

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