Felix the Cat Review (Switch eShop)


Captured on Nintendo Switch (docked)

As one of the earliest animated characters of the silent film era, Felix the Cat's popularity has waxed and waned over the past few decades. However, his charm persists even after his century. He may be the only cartoon mascot older than Mickey Mouse who has also tried his hand at the Super Mario Bros. formula in a side-scrolling platformer.

Originally published by Hudson Software in 1992, Felix's entry into video games came relatively late in the lifespan of the heavily condensed port on the Game Boy as well as the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). The titles are well-remembered by those who played them, but they have fallen into relative obscurity and now fetch eye-watering sums on the second-hand market.

You are tasked with guiding the smiling black cat through nine worlds and several stages to rescue a girl in trouble, Kitty, from a deranged mad scientist, the Professor, and his subordinates, from the 1958-60 television show All characters also appeared in the 1991 direct-to-video movie around which the game appears to be based.

Felix the Cat Review – Screenshots 2 of 5
Captured on Nintendo Switch (handheld/undocked)

In a boon for game preservation, the console and handheld versions of Felix the Cat have both come to the Switch as a collection developed by Limited Run Games and published by Hudson and Konami, the current owners of its IP. Equipped with save state and rewind features, this is the surefire way to revisit these games. But with the cost of entry at $24.99 MSRP, it's a hard sell.

Hindsight also shows that Felix the Cat falls short of the lauded heights of its inspirations. It liberally incorporates tropes from the Super Mario Bros. series, but lacks the platforming finesse, and is eclipsed by 1993's Kirby's Adventure, with both games built around a beginner-friendly approach and the fun of exploring character transformations. Are.

With a bag of tricks in hand, Felix is ​​able to create vehicles such as tanks, planes and submarines, and even ride a dolphin. Levels are built on dry land, some in the air, and some above or below water. Despite the tweaked gameplay mechanics such different environments will typically characterize each level of Felix the Cat feels Relatively similar and recycled.

Felix the Cat Review – 3 out of 5 Screenshots
Captured on Nintendo Switch (handheld/undocked)

Felix's speed is not as desired and may not be accurate in some vehicles. As you progress, the level design and boss fights become repetitive with little added challenge or more clever enemy behavior. Some stages offer verticality with balloon fight-style controls, requiring you to maneuver and mash the jump button to stay afloat.

As a game primarily designed for children, it features a particularly low level of difficulty, even in its latter half. You can easily get rid of cooker-cutter enemies with a single blow of a spring-loaded boxing glove. Hearts appear when Felix collects ten of the generously allotted coins decorated with his face in the stages, powering up his abilities for a limited time.

In its most basic form, Felix has limited range and a single touch from an enemy can kill him. But at heart, he dons a top hat and emits a deadly glare in all directions. Further Hearts put him in a vehicle that changes depending on the stage, providing a much wider attack range. Any enemy contact results in Felix returning to his previous form and abilities.

Felix the Cat Review – 4 out of 5 Screenshots
Captured on Nintendo Switch (docked)

Collecting one hundred Felix Faces grants an extra life, with the Bag of Tricks themselves serving as stand-ins for the green warp pipes that bring you to hidden rooms with loot. Despite changing environments, abilities, and methods of maneuvering, somehow Felix the Cat manages to offer more than just that over the course of its short and easy campaign.

Despite being serviceable from start to finish, its level design lacked invention, lacked serious challenge, and repetitive gameplay began to wear off around the halfway point. That said, the NES campaign can be beaten in an hour, while the Game Boy version plays the same: a simplified monochromatic port with more than half the levels cut.

To its credit, the colorful 8-bit environments and clear attention to detail – if the controller is left idle in an area, the titular cat falls asleep – Are Dear. There's a clear reverence for the source material that shines through, and the convenient rewind feature in this package eliminates a fatal jump or enemy encounter and saves you any unnecessary frustration.

Felix the Cat Review – 5 out of 5 screenshots
Captured on Nintendo Switch (handheld/undocked)

Holding down the 'ZL' trigger reverses the gameplay with a black-and-white overlay in a thoughtful nod to Felix's pioneering animations of the 1920s. Game progress can be saved immediately from the pause menu, although there is only one save state per title at a time. There is an optional yellow border and no others to choose from.

conclusion

NES enthusiasts, parents looking for an accessible retro game for their kids, and anyone with nostalgic feelings towards Felix the Cat will find something to enjoy here – even better if it's on sale. . This relatively sparse package boasts nothing more than two versions of the same hour-long, three-decade-old game, making it difficult to justify it at its full price.




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