PUSS! is a game that feels like it was conceived by an AI that spent a thousand hours studying memes and internet culture. That of course isn’t to say it feels contrived or low effort by any means. PUSS! uses its vibrant and over-the-top goofy aesthetic as a backdrop for what is an extremely difficult and challenging arcade adventure game. Previously only available on PC, PUSS! has made its way to consoles.
Cat and mouse
The core gameplay in PUSS! sees players going through a series of levels trying to get from point A to B, with increasingly difficult obstacles as they progress. Level’s are grouped together in a traditional “world” format, each offering new themes and visual patterns. I found the levels to be difficult, but in a way that encouraged me to try over and over again. It reminded me a lot of the games I’d play on CoolMath or AddictingGames back in middle school.
Making the jump to consoles means that a controller is the primary way to play PUSS! I found the vibration feedback in the PS5’s DualSense to be a nice touch when playing through the game. That said, it feels objectively harder to play on a controller than on PC. The game can only be controlled with the analog sticks, not the d-pad, upping the challenge. This is done deliberately, as it makes it much harder to avoid walls and hazards. However I find it far easier to control the cursor on a mouse over an analog stick on a controller.
I also found the limited lives mechanic to be frustrating. For each world, you’ve got 9 lives to complete all of the levels included (get it, because you’re a cat?). After your ninth death, you’re forced to start from the beginning of the world. This is a bummer because the game features some truly intense levels, ones that force players to memorize patterns and get into a rhythm. Forcing the player to start from the beginning of the world after running out of lives simply kills that rhythm.
PUSS! would benefit from just allowing players to go for broke and attempt a level hundreds of times if they need to. It would also encourage players to go for record times on the leaderboard and beat out their friends.
Boss battles happen once the player reaches the end of the world, and are appropriately the toughest challenges in the game. PUSS! goes full bullet hell, with a million different things going on at once, as the players must be constantly weary of limited lives.
Glitch in the system
From a gameplay standard, we’ve seen titles just like PUSS! in the past (Scary Maze Game, The World's Hardest Game, etc.), but it’s the presentation that really makes PUSS! unique. The colorful vaporwave aesthetic makes the game visually pleasing, and the glitched out theme just ups the absurdity. There’s cool pieces of detail in here, too. For example, glitched out clumps of pixels on the screen to indicate where you previously died on a level.
The sound design in PUSS! is superb as well. From the abstract music that plays over the different levels, to the retro arcade sound effects, to the weird voices and animal noises, it’s all executed quite well.
Cat’s got your tongue
PUSS! is a game that’s distinctly unique, if nothing else. The visual presentation and art style are oozing with weirdness and have no shortage of absurdity. The levels themselves are also quite well done, though it’s a shame the experience is bogged down by unnecessary roguelike elements. Despite those issues, PUSS! is still quite the challenge for any hardened player looking to test their skills.
This review is based on on a digital PS4 code provided by the publisher. PUSS! is available now on PC, PlayStation, Xbox, and Switch for $11.99.
- Exciting, challenging levels
- One-of-a-kind aesthetic
- Sound design is superb
- Roguelike elements bog down the experience
Donovan Erskine posted a new article, PUSS! review - The whole kitten caboodle
I'm guessing it's a top down? Do you have a jump or roll or attack? Or is it all just ground movement? Is there a walk/run?