PC Reviews

Magicat Review: Catnip & Cantrips

Magicat follows the adventure of a magical cat seeking to reclaim a powerful crystal that has been stolen by a naughty monkey. Despite the cute aesthetic, players will find Magicat to be a challenging game. Each stage is separated into three rooms. Within each room is a red gem hidden behind a puzzle or challenge, sometimes even both! Players can use these gems to purchase items from the shop that can make future stages easier or give access to hidden zones, rewarding players for finding these. An additional point bonus is given for collecting the gem in a room without using the hero’s dash mechanic. The dash mechanic along with other skills — most notably healing magic — cost mana to use. Mana pots are scattered throughout the stage and are also used to attune to a checkpoint in each room and before each boss — which is another way that Magicat rewards skilled gameplay.

With few exceptions, each boss fight in Magicat is a more powerful version of a common enemy, but this doesn’t mean the fights are simple or boring. Most stages introduce a new concept or gimmick that’s emphasized in the final boss fight. A stage where there’s blowing winds that make moving difficult will emphasize this mechanic in its boss fight, or a stage that’s filled with bounce pads. Every stage feels carefully designed and manages to shake things up to create new and exciting enemies and puzzles.

The art direction and graphics of Magicat are simple, but this is intentional and to its credit. The game never breaks from its retro aesthetic and accomplishes its goal of evoking nostalgia from players, despite the game’s recent release date. Each world’s tileset is thematic and small details like candy-shaped clouds are appreciated in filling the background. Magicat’s soundtrack is repetitive, which is appropriate for the game’s aesthetic, but it suffers from a lack of noteworthy tracks. While the music never really becomes grating or annoying, it never manages to stand out as anything but background sound. This isn’t a bad thing for a retro style game since the songs can be catchy, but they’re not memorable.

As mentioned before, with each stage possessing three gems that can be gathered without dashing for extra points, similarly there are bonuses for defeating a boss without taking damage or reviving after death. Magicat can be an engrossing game for hardcore players with its difficulty and optional time trial mode for stages. After completing the game, players will unlock the option for a New Game Plus to continue their adventure anew with all items already unlocked. This gives players all the tools to discover every secret and answer every puzzle.

There was only one noticeable bug during play. Toge Productions has a Discord server where players can report bugs and technical issues directly to the publisher and devs. Toge Productions and the dev of Magicat were quick to fix the bug after receiving feedback. The quick response of Toge Productions to a bug report is appreciated and marks them as a company that cares about the quality of the games they produce.

Magicat is a deceptively long game which easily takes over eight hours to complete if not more. In addition to the time players can spend solving every puzzle, perfecting every boss, practicing their timed runs or running through New Game Plus, Magicat offers a lot of value compared to other indie platformers.

Magicat is available on Steam and the Nintendo Switch eShop for $4.99

DISCLAIMER: Indie Ranger received a free copy of Magicat for review purposes. This does not affect the outcome or final score of the review. For a full breakdown on how we review games at Indie Ranger, click here.

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