Scram Kitty and his Buddy on Rails: A simple delight
With a name like that, you might assume that this Wii U eShop downloadable plays like a feline-based lightgun shooter. But au contraire--this arcade-style adventure is all about exploration and tinkering with the X and Y axis platformer controls you've grown accustomed to. As the nameless young pilot of an anti-gravity spinboard, it's up to you to rescue the Earth's population of cats--your pet Scram included--from the clutches of diabolical, power-crazed lab rats. This platformer-shmup hybrid is captivatingly charming, and looks to offer the kind of straightforward enjoyment that defines our favorite downloadable games.
The action takes place entirely on the GamePad screen, where you guide your adolescent hero through a series of rat-controlled space stations. These are no ordinarily lab mice, mind you--they've geared themselves up in mech suits and turrets, and will gun down your rail-gliding vehicle at first sight. Nothing left to do but shoot back, using two primary firing methods: straight ahead or from the sides. You can even hold down both buttons to--gasp--shoot diagonally. It's not quite that simple, though.
What makes Scram so unique are the level layouts, which have you gliding across gravity rails that allow 360 degrees of platformer movement. You can also jump with your spinboard, letting you transition between rails or hop over gaps (think the on-rails boss fight from Gunstar Heroes--y'know the one). You'll also needs to find the right weapon for the job: power-ups littered throughout each stage can open up new pathways through mice-deployed minefields.
It sounds complex, but within seconds of playing, you'll be zooming through levels and leaping over chasms at a breakneck pace. Scram Kitty and his Buddy on Rails is also plenty fun to watch, thanks to some spectator-friendly features. Check out the following slides for additional images and more information.