What is a NekoBuro? It is Japanese for CatsBlock. So let’s take a look at CatsBlock CatsBlock, and see if it is not the greatest puzzle game ever created.
CatsBlock is basically an isometric Columns, but with a few twists:
- There are cats
- The cats are from outer space
- The cats are in fact entities known as “square cats”
So with that in mind, maybe this really is the best puzzle game ever? The last time I played a game with space cats, I got ChuChu Rocket–and I definitely won’t say no to a title that reminds me in any way of ChuChu Rocket.
Square cats have landed on Earth, and via a random girl’s TV set they play a puzzle game that somehow allows them to find their lost comrades scattered in the electromagnetic stratosphere (or something). And as I mentioned before, said puzzle game is basically Columns. Three cats march down at a time, and you make them disintegrate by having three of the same color bunch together–horizontally, vertically, or diagonally.
There is a little more to the game though, fortunately. You have a power up bar that fills up as you clear out the cats, giving you better special abilities the further you level up: clear a horizontal line, clear a nine-square block, clear a vertical line, clear all cats of a specific color, and clear the whole board (by clearing out a shiny cube you place in the field). The story mode spices things up further by having each of its levels give you a specific goal in order to win, be it using 10 of the level two power up, surviving a fast-paced match for a minute, or simply clearing out a specific number of various colored cats.
All in all, it’s good clean space cat fun that I’ll go ahead and say is worth the eight bucks it costs to download. The story mode isn’t very long to play through, and there doesn’t appear to be any online or ad-hoc multiplayer modes. However, there is a ranking system that encourages playing again to get high scores, as well as a survival mode if you just want to disintegrate a bunch of cats for a while. There is also your room where you can play with the cats, which is a pleasant distraction cat-lovers will potentially get a kick out of, maybe, I don’t know. Your real-life cat will never play with that feather on a stick with you? You can easily do so in CatsBlock, and finally have that special cat bond you have always wanted. You can also shoot the cats with a Nerf gun, or even pick the cats up and chuck them across the room. At last we have a true successor to the cat-raising mini-game from Shenmue.
I suppose I should also mention the sound and music in this game. There is a new song every ten levels, and they’re all very bright and cheerful tunes. The cats themselves are a bit annoying to hear all throughout your match though, and may get on your nerves pretty quickly. One cat in particular is super obnoxious… Most of the cats go “nya” or “mreow?” when they disintegrate, but one of them goes “NYAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA” every time it bites the dust–which, while understandable, nonetheless gets old fast.
Regardless, if you are a fan of cats, Columns, or both, you should at least find this an amusing diversion for a little while.