HOOKED! Battle Cats

Tower defence games are about as old as the Internet itself; in fact I remember many lost hours spent defending my castle during what passed for IT lessons in the UK about 10 years ago. I could have been forgiven for assuming that little more could be added to this particular genre and never really wanting to play another. Then a friend recommended Battle Cats to me a couple of weeks ago… HOOKED is definitely the word!

Developed by Ponos, Battle Cats has a ridiculous sense of humour and an utterly unique self-aware quality that seems to toe the line between genius and insanity. The game begins with a hideously translated story in purest Engrish and continuously breaks the 4th wall:

“In 2012, USA launched a secret proejct. To wake up Japanese people from being too peaceful, their new weapon was sent into Japan. Code name “Battle Cats” Japanese people are too kind and nice to use cruelty weapons to the Battle Cats… By the way, I Saw the developer of the Battle Cats was interviewed on TV… I know, it’s insane.”

The game itself is a relatively straightforward tower defence game: your tower sits at the right hand side of the screen, with an enemy tower on the left. The enemy tower spits out a stream of enemies to which you can counter with your collection of cat warriors. Currency to deploy cats rises every second and also comes in chunks when you defeat an enemy in the field. In standard tower defence mechanics, how you balance your expenditure is up to you and different levels will require different tactics (although many will involve just unleashing as many of the feline WMDs as quickly as you possibly can).

The art style of Battle Cats is minimalistic but very effective. The sprites are drawn almost exclusively in black and white but every cat and enemy has a personality that shines through in the animation. The enemy towers are also each meticulously drawn, the whole package looks like it could be hand painted and hung on a wall.

Completing a level gains experience which can be used to purchase new types of cats, upgrade the ones in your roster (with special forms when fully upgraded), and increase support such as how fast currency is obtained, the total amount that can be held, power and range of your cat cannon (on top of the tower) and how much HP the tower has. 

The enemy gallery is an example of the off the wall humour and this may not be to everyone’s taste (the image to the left is a sample..) however the whole thing is clearly meant to be taken with a pinch of salt and is designed to be poking fun at itself; one enemy that apparently speaks terrible English is reported to have taught the designers the language.

Microtransactions appear in Battle Cats however they are only presented as an option to progress through the game faster should you wish; I think the balance is just about right here with the energy required to attempt missions regenerating relatively quickly and prompting you to jump in for say 15-20 minutes at a time, perfect for mobile gaming.

Pros

Utterly ridiculous comedy value

Difficulty curve and procedural progress is very well designed

Cats. Lots of cats.

Cons

Level completion treasures are random drops

Later levels require lots of energy to attempt

Replaying old levels for experience can become repetitive

Verdict

Battle Cats is a slice of uniqueness in a mobile gaming space that is increasingly filled with clones and short term fads. It may not be the newest game but the charm and simplicity will keep you coming back for more

8/10

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p>Available on Android (2.2 and up) and iOS

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About Josh Bethell

Josh joined Clove part time a few years ago whilst studying Computing at Bournemouth University. Since finishing his studies he has remained at Clove in a full time position, involved in sales, returns and social media.

Involved with both consumer electronics and software since the mid 2000s, keeping up to date with industry developments is as much a hobby as it is a job.

Easy going but never afraid to share an opinion, Josh can often be found in his spare time listening to some heavy rock or at a local gig as well as playing with the latest gadgets and video games.

Comments

  1. Bugblatter says:

    I’ve played a couple of games in this genre, and I don’t mind them but I much prefer what I call ‘proper’ tower defence games.

    To me this is a different genre and needs a different name.

    A similar game with an odd sense of humour is: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.twotribes.sns

    I played that to the end, the first game of this sub-genre that I’ve bothered to do that with. It has some depth with resource management (digging for gold, increasing mana produciton for extra spell casting) and a choice of soldier-types and weapons to spend money to enable.

    Thanks for the review; when I get the urge to play more of this gametype I’ll check it out.

  2. Ray Fletcher says:

    For those of you still trying to get Moneko, try this out.

    1) play past level 18 on stage 1
    2) exit the game, then restart it
    3) enter the following Moneko code:
    1mpxy8

    The 1 and 8 seem to be related to the level 18, I suppose there must be other codes for other levels, if anybody has any ideas please post here.

    Let me know how you fared below!