I watched the Nintendo Direct that happened several days ago. One of the games featured in Nintendo’s sort of… “Indie Sizzle Reel” was a little gem called Scram Kitty and his Buddy on Rails. This is probably a game very few of you have heard of before. Tonight, I aim to give this game and its developers the coverage they deserve. I’m actually so impressed with what I experienced that I’m going to include a trailer and fact sheet from the Nintendo Press site after my impressions, something I haven’t done for anything else I’ve written up for E3 this year. Please do seek out more information if what I’m about to describe catches your interest, even a little. Without further ado:
It’s hard for me to describe the type of gameplay found in Scram Kitty and his Buddy on Rails. You control a character who can ride along walls using an anti-gravity hover-board. You slide to the left or right shooting stuff. You can shoot in both directions horizontally and diagonally, as well as aim above to take out enemies. You also shoot to remove obstructions from your way. Shoot to kill, shoot to continue. In the stage I played, there was also a blade power-up that removed otherwise impenetrable barriers.
Rhodri Broadbent, one of the developers of the game, instructed me as best he could how to progress. I learned about collecting green gems and purple gems in effort to unlock doors that could lead to the end of the stage. I learned the best way to defeat enemies wasn’t just shooting blindly, but to carefully aim behind them instead. And I died… a lot. And I struggled, even more. Scott was watching me while waiting in line to play Ducktales Remastered right next to the booth. He called it “almost embarrassing”. Broadbent seemed to think I’d get the hang of it after a while.
Even though it was a struggle for me, I had a lot of fun. There are plenty of arcade-style shooters out there that may have come to mind when I described the game initially, but I promise: Scram Kitty and his Buddy on Rails takes the conventional arcade-style shooter a few steps further, beyond normal conventions.
I kept my eye on the Gamepad, unaware that the green and purple items I was collecting were keys to the exits at the end of the stage. When Scott played, I finally saw, and it occurred to me what Broadbent had been trying to say for a while. Scram Kitty has plenty of gameplay options. You can reach the blue exit door of each stage by collecting blue keys, which are “speedrun keys” that appear at the beginning of the level and disappear very quickly over time. There are green keys to a green exit as well, which don’t leave you in a time crunch and give you plenty of incentive to explore the stage fully (they’re cleverly hidden, in my opinion). Finally, there are purple keys hidden inside certain enemies. So… advance quickly, explore slowly, or destroy everything. Mix and match these gameplay styles all you like, reach different exits… surely you see the replay value of this game starting to come together.
Give me a game with a ton of replay value, a decent challenge, and that’s actually fun to play, and I’ll give you my next “rising star” pick coming to a Nintendo platform. I can’t wait to see the finished product from Dakko Dakko Ltd. The few minutes I played pave a way to innovation.
After a few months away, your missing pet cat has – somehow – sent you a video message! From
his gestures and sounds, you have worked out that Scram Kitty and hundreds of other cats from
Earth have been trapped on the world’s biggest orbiting space laboratory!
An experiment has gone horribly wrong, and the Council of Great Scientists has been overrun by
the intelligent, power-crazed lab rats and mice they’ve accidentally created! This rodent army has
already taken control of the space station, and is now hell-bent on taking over Planet Earth. In
order to do that, of course, they ﬁrst plan to get rid of their eternal enemies, the one thing that has
always stood in their way – cats!
There’s nothing else for it, you’re going to have to grab your anti-grav spinboard, get up to that
space lab, defeat the super-rodent menace and ﬁnd Scram Kitty!
Take control of a rail-riding, laser-shooting young hero on a perilous quest to ﬁnd his kidnapped pet
cat! With a unique control system that allows for 360 degree platforming action and exciting 2D
shooting, Scram Kitty and his Buddy on Rails pits players against an army of intelligent,
mechanized rodents. Glide along glowing rails, leap across chasms and leave arcing streams of
shots as you rid each stage of the rodent aggressors and locate the keys to the numerous cat
cages. Keys are attached to speciﬁc objectives, adding a multi-layered design to stages and
adding replay value for completionists who won’t rest until every cat is free!
With frenetic gameplay viewed from above and a striking blend of 2D and 3D graphics, Scram Kitty
and his Buddy on Rails is a shoot-em-up platform game with a character all of its own.