Every puzzle game needs a schtick nowadays. You need a cool theme, good characters or some sort of plot to put it all together. Molecats put together a puzzle game like if Danny Ocean tried to rob Las Vegas with nine guys. Enough to be effective, but you feel like it would have been a bit better with another guy, and also you have one team member who is REALLY annoying and you're cheering on them to die even though it's rated PG.
I never figured out what the story was for Molecats. You are molecats, literally a cross between moles and cats, who navigate tiles to be to the next door or ending. Like, I got, through weird still animation, that you're supposed to get mushrooms and things to traverse shifting tunnel systems, but that's it. Seeing how this is a puzzle game, not too much story is expected here, but still, it would be good to have something to shoot for besides more difficult levels/new challenges.
Controls through steam were fine. There's few things you need to press – really, all you need to do is shift tunnels in just the right times and maybe activate moves and things. That's it. In that regard, controls worked just fine.
Graphics were surprisingly good. I man, the graphics for the molecats are a little nightmare-inducing. They're supposed to look cute but....they're not.. But the ground and tunnels look fine. A little cartoonish, but they're well detailed, with things like lighting pulsing well. I didn't like two different art styles – for example, one way of going down is between these bamboo logs, which are differently illustrated than the backgrounds. It's not the end of the world, but it WAS noticeable. It was pretty solid otherwise.
Gameplay comes down to timing and what you collect. You're in a 2D tunnel system with a bunch of tunnels that either stay the same or can be spun around for you to keep going. Ever play those pipe and ball games for other puzzle games, where you need to keep the ball going through the tubes you can change the direction of? Same principle, but now with weird cat monsters. They're fun games that take strategy, so I can't hate them, and it's a unique spin on it here, with mushrooms and things waiting inside some. It's fun.
Sound and music is a low point. Music I guess is ok – it's this subdued ukulele/guitar music that plucks along in an almost dreamlike fashion with a light brushed drum beat to go along with it. Compared to pulse pounding or creepy or fantasy scores everything else has, it's cool to hear and I rather liked it. Music is fine. What gives the low point is the sound. The molecats don't make any, but when they do it's always this same annoying sound of “Ohhhhhhh”, like it just discovered something. I dreaded hearing this after 2 times. And since it says that at the end of missions where it opens a door, when it discovers something or during other little moments, it grates on you. The serenity of the core is ruined by these things talking saying that same thing over and over. You may think I'm overreacting, but trying hearing them say that for ten minutes too and you'll secretly wish there was a way to kill them too.
The frame rate was fine. There's a lot of moving pieces here, like turning tiles that also have you moving about, but it never slowed down once. There were no glitches either. It ran without a hitch the entire time.
Molecats is a pretty fun puzzle game. Like I said, same principle as the rolling ball/pipe game, but there's a reason why that's used a lot too – it's fun. And here it's packaged in a pleasing and fun way. If you like puzzle games or are looking for a nice little addictive game that helps your brain, this is the one to go with. But Jesus, try and find a way to mute those molecats.
Final Score: 8 out of 10
A copy of this game was provided for the purpose of review.