Modern Review - Aqua Kitty (Xbox LIVE Indie Version)

Aqua-KittyOld is most definitely the new new – and the retro gaming world is no exception. The Independent scene in particular is rife with pixelated perfection, so we decided to take a closer look at some of the titles available on the Xbox LIVE Arcade – starting with Tikipod’s Aqua Kitty.

The Independent scene on Xbox LIVE Arcade has seen a slew of quality titles of late, many of which are sadly overlooked in favour of triple-A Holllywood blockbusters. That’s not to say that Aqua Kitty is exclusive to xbox – the game is available on PlayStation Mobile and is currently awaiting Greenlight status on Steam (we took a look at the Xbox version due to the recently added 2-player option).

So apparently the world’s supply of milk has run out. We’re not entirely sure how, but the cats have discovered a seemingly unlimited supply of moo-juice beneath the sea bed, and have begun mining it. The milk must flow – however there is an army of mechanical sea creatures intent on thwarting your milky plans!

That’s the mostly bonkers story that forms the base of Aqua Kitty (and we do like bonkers), but it’s the way the game presents itself that really puts it apart. It’s retrotastic from the outset. The opening “logo” screens have a hefty slice of Ocean Loader slapped across them – from the text fonts to the frankly wonderful soundtrack (and we haven’t even pressed start yet). Even just from the start screen you can tell a lot of retro love has gone into Aqua Kitty – each pixel has been lovingly placed to create a gloriously colourful start to our milky adventures.

The first thing that comes to mind upon entering the map screen is how reminiscent of classic NES titles it is (Super Mario Bros. 3 springs to mind). There are several worlds to explore (each with their own themes) including Buttermilk Bay, Creamy Cove and Kitty Rock, and a set path through each in order to progress. Each world comprises around six stages that can be attempted in any order, though completion of all is required before accessing the next.


The actual gameplay itself will be instantly familiar to even the most casual of retro gamers, and draws on such classics as choplifter for its inspiration. You pilot a submarine-type sea-vehicle, and must protect the miners on the ocean floor from harm. To begin with this will be relatively simple (one miner per stage) but believe me – it will soon become hair-tearingly difficult. There is only actually one enemy type (that I’ve come across) that will actively target the miners (they kind of resemble jellyfish-strawberries, and will grab the miner and slowly raise him to the surface) but as enemies attack in waves, there are often tens of them between you and your distressed miner. These waves start simple, with just a couple of grunts to deal with, but pretty soon you will have explosive enemies, ridiculously evasive ones and some that almost entirely obscure your path with just their shape (three of them end to end will block the whole screen). Thankfully you do have some trick at your disposal. You have access to a variety of power-ups (dual attacking clones, large cluster-like explosions, etc) provided by a goldfish (as you do) and the fact that the screen wraps round is an absolute Godsend (if you can’t get to one of the miners from one direction, travelling in the opposite will bring you to the other side. Think exiting the screen as Pac-Man).

The action soon ramps up to face-meltingly tough, as more and more miners are required for 100% completion – and the sickeningly cute visuals soon become the only thing keeping you from murdering your console in frustration. But you can’t stay mad at a kitten. You just can’t.

Fantasticly retro visuals, an awesome chiptunes soundtrack and a pricepoint of 240 Microsoft Points (about £1.90) makes this one of the best Xbox LIVE Indie games in ages. It’s a lot of fun, and in two-player mode it’s utter chaos – and of the very best kind.

Aqua Kitty (Trailer)

Aqua Kitty is available right now for Xbox 360 and PlayStation Mobile.  Visit Tikipod's website for more information.

Last Updated ( 07 July 2013 )  


(Link to this comment) Blast123 2013-07-08 00:15
Inspired by Choplifter? LOL.

More like SeaQuest, Defender, and In The Hunt

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