I have to imagine that, for anyone new to reading Grinding Down, this blog is a bit all over the map. In the past few posts alone, I’ve talked about an old PlayStation 1 car combat-limned racer, a game all things DLC, my latest progress on replaying Suikoden II, finally getting around to Botanicula, with a few additional posts about tiny, indie, very far off the radar titles that are more about exploration than gameplay mechanics. In many ways, I’m kind of a cat; I move about the gaming industry at my own pace and course, taking great interest in various things along the way while ignoring others. Sometimes it’s a stuffed mouse to chase, and other times it’s a piece of food I carried over by the couch and forgot to previously eat. This analogy got weird.
Which brings us to Meowgical Tower, created by Neon Deity Games for GameBoy Jam 3, a happening that happened back in August 2014. The rules for the jam were simple though I couldn’t even make a sandwich out of these guidelines, but then again I’m no coder:
- The aim of GBJam is to create a GameBoy themed game
- All assets must be created during the duration of the Jam
- Keep in the original GameBoy screen resolution of 160px x 144px
- Use only 4 colors in your game
I think Meowgical Tower covers all those requirements. It stars Catte, an intrepid, inquisitive cat. While out adventuring one evening, Catte must take shelter inside a rather ominous tower to avoid getting wet from a sudden rainstorm. Unfortunately, this tower holds secrets, as well as danger, behind every door.
You use the arrow keys to move in four directions, the X key to inspect or advance text, Z to attack or meow if you are weaponless, and Space to paws…er, pause the game. Pretty simple stuff, and you’ll explore rooms that feel ripped right from a Legend of Zelda dungeon of old. What I found neat is that the key or levers you pick up act like weapons, but only until you use them; then it’s back to being a meowy, defenseless kitty cat.
All this exploration eventually leads to a single, three-step final boss fight. With who, you ask? The Labradoom Deceiver, naturally, which is accompanied by an amusing Borderlands style title card. There’s a pattern to learn with this boss, and it took me a few tries before I realized I had to be patient with my attacks, because trying to rush him for damage after gaining a key/lever meant instant death for the bold, brave Catte. After you take down the Labradoom Deceiver, you get a short cutscene that seems to say this was all done for…well, I’ll let you decide on that.
My two biggest gripes for Meowgical Tower are that you can’t attack diagonally, but your enemies can, which means you have to position yourself just right to make contact. Also, to enter a door, you really have to go at it square-on, otherwise you’ll hit its doorframe and get locked in the “push” animation, often taking damage from an enemy following up behind Catte. Knowing those two critiques is important when viewing my final statistics:
Game Time: 21:48
Right. This is just one of many, many entries for GameBoy Jam 3. You can play it online so long as you have Unity installed, for zero dollars. I’d like to check out some other creations from the jam, but with around 240 in total out there, it just might not ever happen. After all, I am a cat, and cats do what cats wanna do; you can’t change their minds.