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Meow Meow Happy Fight

For: iPhone

Quite good twin-stick special joy game

Product: Meow Meow Happy Fight | Publisher: RocketCat Games | Developer: Big Pixel Studios | Format: iPhone | Genre: Shooter | Players: 1 | Networking: wireless (network) | Version: Europe | App version: 1.0
Meow Meow Happy Fight iPhone, thumbnail 1
There’s a popular cookery show here in the UK called Master Chef. It’s been going for several seasons now, to the point where the contestants know all about the two judges’ specific likes and dislikes.

You can spot the contestants who have slyly calculated their menu to appeal to those tastes. Although it’s a little cynical, you have to hand it to them for being clever enough to maximise their chances.

In the same way, Big Pixel Studios knows how to hit the sweet spots of us critics. Following Piyo Blocks 2, Meow Meow Happy Fight is the biggest demonstration of the studio's catering skills.

Just how I like it

It’s got vibrant sprite work influenced by anime and games of yesteryear. It’s full of knowing references to gaming culture. It's even set in the gaming Mecca of Tokyo. It couldn’t be more up our alley if it tried.

Like Piyo Blocks before it, the game's captivating presentation hides a fairly traditional experience – this time a twin-stick shooter.

Rather than endless hordes of Minigore or the linear levels of Guerrilla Bob, Meow Meow Happy Fight focuses on arena combat. Indeed, it’s got as much in common with first-person deathmatch shooters like Archetype as the aforementioned twin-stick shooters.

Having picked a wacky character – whether it be a hamster or a cup of noodles – you set off around each district of Tokyo, shooting your opponents, picking up power-ups (freeze bombs, damage multipliers, invisibility cloaks) and collecting the knick-knacks that spill from downed enemies.

Combat fatigue

One obvious glaring omission is multiplayer – if it plays like an online deathmatch game, why not offer that facility?

But there’s a more fundamental issue here: the combat isn’t as much fun as it should be.

While there’s a nicely pitched degree of escalation in the introduction of new weapons, characters and tactics, the shooting itself is sluggish and lacks punch. It seems like you’re bringing a pea shooter to a gun fight, such is the time it takes to down an opponent.

Speedier characters are almost disadvantaged because moving quickly sideways (a vital tactic) serves to thin out your shots, making aiming a bit of a chore. It all adds up to a slightly scrappy experience, where keeping your health topped up and grabbing bonus weapons is more important than being skillful with your shots.

Still, the environments, characters, and deranged storyline inject enough personality to see you through. It's a war of attrition, but an absorbing one, and while Big Pixel hasn’t quite managed to ace the twin-stick shooter genre as well as it did the match-three puzzler, Meow Meow Happy Fight retains that vital sense of charm.
Meow Meow Happy Fight
Reviewer photo
Jon Mundy | 10 August 2010
A wacky, attractive and challenging twin-stick shooter that doesn’t quite pack enough punch in the combat stakes
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