Not so super.
Super Phantom Cat is your typical platformer. Our hero is a cat, who, one day, is confronted by enemies. Luckily, another cat comes to our rescue and even grants us a power before saying goodbye.
From there, our adventure begins, and we meet another cat who serves as our mentor:
So yeah, there are a lot of cats involved. Your job is to go through each level collecting as much as possible. There are 3 stars in each level, and these stars are used to unlock new worlds. There are sprites that can give you a power-up: such as a ground smash, firing, traveling through bricks, etc. Each level has check points; if you die, you will respawn there but lose any power-up you had. However, if the power-up is necessary to complete the level, it will be there for you to pick up again.
Throughout the game, you also collect (and are sometimes given) data in the form of little lightning bolts. This data will allow you to transform into other characters, all of whom have their own special abilities
Once you unlock these, you can switch between them at any time while on the level-selection screen. Personally, I stuck with the original look because I’d rather be a cat. Power-ups be damned, the other characters just looked cheap and awkward to me.
As far as game mechanics, there are up to 4 buttons players can utilize within a level: left and right directional arrows, a jump button, and a button to use your sprite ability (if you have one). It’s been a while since I played a mobile platformer, and the button placement felt uncomfortable – specifically the directional arrows. But I was happy to see the developer accommodate the player’s needs by allowing us to modify the controller:
You can even opt for touch screen:
After trying a few things out, I decided to keep the original layout but move the directional arrow a bit more to the left.
In terms of gameplay, Super Phantom Cat provides a satisfying level of difficulty. It’s easy enough to finish each level with little to no effort, but for the completionist, the 3 stars provide a nice challenge – especially because many collectibles are hidden within walls that only appear once the player is close enough (similar to the hidden areas we see in Yoshi games). In total, Super Phantom Cat has 14 worlds: 7 sun worlds and 7 moon worlds, giving the player a good amount to experience here.
Super Phantom Cat’s artstyle is pleasing to the eye with its retro gaming aesthetic. While it has a few nice tracks, there are not as many as one would hope and some are a bit too noticeable (there’s one song where, I swear, I can hear where it “starts over”). Another flaw is that the tutorial elements feel disruptive to the flow of the game. The overall experience of the game is a solid one but nothing more. Super Phantom Cat is your run of the mill platformer, and if that’s what you’re looking for, by all means pick it up.
I admit there are some moments of novelty where the game really shines: such as the ability to travel through walls and being able to use creatures to propel yourself into the air.
But all too often it feels too Mario-esque from the 3 Stars you collect (see: Super Mario 3D Land/World) to some of the smaller details, such as these spiders:
Overall, Super Phantom Cat gets a passing grade. It’s an enjoyable time, but some of the contrived elements may be a bit of a turn off to seasoned gamers. They certainly were for me.