Author Topic: Felix the Cat (Switch) Review  (Read 1073 times)

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Offline riskman64

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Felix the Cat (Switch) Review
« on: March 26, 2024, 11:00:00 PM »

Cats may have nine lives, but you won’t need more than a few of them here.

Felix the Cat is a collection of two games of the same name originally released on the NES and Game Boy in 1992 and 1993, respectively. The compilation includes a few quality-of-life enhancements that we’ve become accustomed to seeing in retro re-releases, including a single save state, a rewind feature, and a CRT filter. There’s also an unreleased Famicom version here (for some reason). While Felix may have been around for 100 years, there’s a reason these two titles have not: they offer little in the way of unique or above-average gameplay. They are almost as barebones as a platformer can be.

The NES game consists of about 10 worlds, and most of these have 3 separate stages to complete. The levels are generally quite short; the ones that do have a bit more length are largely just repetitive. You’ll come across the same basic enemies for most of the game’s abbreviated runtime, and even the boss fights feel more like palette swaps than handcrafted challenges. One feather in Felix’s fur-covered cap is the different transformations that he undergoes in certain stages, like those where he takes to the sky or goes underwater. Collecting Felix tokens, like coins, award hearts that imbue you with new magic devices and vehicles, almost like power-ups in a Mario game. They typically give you projectiles to launch or added maneuverability, but also allow you to take damage at the cost of dropping down to the previous power-up level. All in all, though, the playthrough is still a brief and largely forgettable one, and for some reason, my high score didn’t even save after finishing the game.

Felix the Cat on Game Boy is essentially the same experience but with fewer worlds and stages and less of the interstitial content from the NES original. All of the transformations are present here, but what does unfortunately get added to this portable iteration is a hefty dose of slowdown, making some of the jumps and other obstacles more frustrating to navigate. That said, it's still kind of impressive how faithful the game is when shrunk down to Game Boy proportions.

While neither part of the package is all that eye-catching, the upbeat soundtrack from the NES game in particular is quite pleasant and complements the playthrough well. The sound effects, though–like the one for Felix’s jump–can be a little on the grating side, so I was happy to reach segments of the game where less jumping was required. There is a neat visual flair to the rewind function that I did appreciate, but that's one of the few interesting presentation elements.

Felix the Cat may have been a bit more of a novelty on the ‘90s platforms it arrived on, but time hasn’t been kind to this comic feline’s pixel-based adventures. Despite starring a cat with a magical bag, these two games have almost no tricks up their sleeves. The addition of the Famicom version yields very little in terms of noticeable gameplay differences, so its inclusion is a bit of a mystery. I know the answer, but why couldn’t these two games have just been added to NSO instead? What's more, the overall challenge will be markedly light for anyone with platforming experience, and there’s no shortage of extra lives to earn and power-ups to keep you from danger and propel you through the largely pedestrian level design. If this 2024 collection had a few more interesting extras thrown in, it may be worth a pick up, but as it stands, this is just another black cat you don’t want crossing your path.