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For: iPad   Also on: iPhone

Curiosity kicked the cat

Product: Hackycat | Developer: Kenneth Wong | Publisher: Kenneth Wong | Format: iPad | Genre: Casual | Players: 1 | Version: Europe
Hackycat iPad, thumbnail 1
You want to see a real video game nasty? Forget murder sims like Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto, and check out the premise of Hackycat.

The goal is to boot a number of cute cats into the air. When the time is right, your bonus power is the ability to launch said cats into the distance with an almighty Gareth Bale-like hoof.

As if that wasn't bad enough, you also have to force-feed these moggies dozens of cheeseburgers. Someone call the Daily Mail!

Hungry cats

Of course, in practice Hackycat is about as offensive as, well, any other fantastical game where you lob animals around for pleasure. It's all rendered with so much charm and warm humour that the somewhat anti-social premise is soon forgotten.

In order to keep your cats airborne you simply need to tap on them. The lower to the ground they are when you tap them, the higher the points score, and you can also build up a combo by tapping them repeatedly as they rise.

Soon you're juggling multiple cats, which is tricky, as just a single dropped kitty means Game Over.

In order to buy yourself some breathing room you can execute the aforementioned cat-obliterating super-kick, once enough cheeseburgers have been collected by your kitties.

No mews is good news

IAPs explained
Cheeseburgers are the currency of this game, but it'll take you a while to earn the thousands needed to unlock all of the cats, locations, athletes, and power-ups in the game.

Of course, you can short-cut the process by buying up a job-lot of burgers with real money.

69p / 99c gets you 1,500 burgers, which is enough for a whole new stage. While at the other end of the scale, £6.99 will get you a whopping 25,000 burgers. That's a lot of horse meat.
It might not surprise you to learn that Hackycat isn't particularly deep or clever. You kick cats into the air. That's about as nuanced as it gets.

It manages to hold your attention in two ways. One is its presentation, which is like something lifted from a Saturday morning Cartoon Network show.

Hackycat is lovely to look at, and when you purchase a grumpy-looking cat with a handlebar moustache you'll know you're among friends.

Dodging the sack

More important to Hackycat's lasting appeal is the sheer amount of stuff it throws at you. There are more cats to unlock, new bonus power-ups to obtain, new athletes to discover, new stages to reveal.

This is all partly funded by a familiar but effective achievement system that sets you continuous tasks to carry out, from taking out multiple cats with a single super-kick to initiating a massive combo.

Of course, underneath it all you can't get around the fact that Hackycat is a pretty shallow screen-tapper.

But when it's done with this much style, fun, and attention to detail, we can forgive almost any game an excessive focus on novelty value. Even if it does involve the outrageous abuse of felines.
Reviewer photo
Jon Mundy | 22 February 2013
Bouncy and fun yet inescapably facile, Hackycat wins our favour through an abundance of rewards and an irrepressible joie de vivre
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