Meow Motors Review (STEAM/PC)
''Is it Purrrrific or a total CATastrophy?''
Meow Motors is a arcade feline racing game by Artvostok that is in the vein of kart racers like Mario Kart. Race your heart out,claw your way to the finish line and make sure you're the #1 kitty that ever lived,once and furr all.
Since this is an arcade like racing game, do not expect this review to be overly long and in depth like my other reviews usually are. I will try to give as much detail as possible though so you,as the reader,can get an idea of what to expect before venturing off into the world and the tracks of what is,Meow Motors. So grab your cat nip and let's go!
In Meow Motors you have the choice of playing as one of multiple kitties. Each cat you pick has their own unique personality,car and quality to them that makes them stand out from the rest of the pack. So make sure to pick which one you find the cutest or who has the best car. There are roughly 10-12 cats to choose from,so there's a pretty broad selection and it makes it tough to choose because they're all so damn cute!
There is a total of 20 tracks that you can race on through multiple different regions and each with their own unique hazards to deal with as you try to one up the competition and stay at the top of the litter. Much like Mario Kart, you will be able to pick up new weapons and power ups that will help you throughout the entire race. However, some of these are not available right away and will have to be earned and unlocked before they are able to used in any race at all. Nice incentive to try your best in order to collect everything you can so you can unlock your kitties true purrtential.
Weapons you get in the game range from a bazooka that throws freakin sharks ,bubble gum,nut throwers and many more. Use these items wisely because you never know what situation might call for them to be used. If you are in first place,then I suggest holding onto your weapon for as long as possible because there are some hazards in these stages that will throw you off balance and allow the rest of the kitties to catch up to you and even pass you. But pass me will they? Paw-lease, not in a million years!
Now it wouldn't be a racing game if you couldn't drift, am I right? of course I'm right. Even in Meow Motors there is drifting and much like Mario Kart,once again, you get bonuses for drifting past an opponent. These bonuses include both defensive and offensive measures that will give you an easy advantage on the racing filed. Bonuses such as spilling all your karts oil all over the place and messing with any driver that's currently behind you. Offensively it also gives you a nice speed boost to zoom past any unsuspecting loser kitty, so tell that dummy to go to the back of the litter! I'm the CATptain meow.
But thing's aren't all yarn balls and catnip,oh how I wish they were. I ran into a few problems with the controls that I wasn't too fond of. It's nothing game breaking,but it hindered me personally just a tad bit and my gripe has to do with how stiff the turning can feel at times. When turning on some of the turns it feels like I have to smash my controller stick as hard as I can in a specific direction just to be able to make a certain turn and that got pretty annoying. In order to compensate this feeling and fix it, I had to turn while tapping on the brakes to make my character move in a more smooth animation. Once again,it's not game breaking but it's just a nitpick I had about that aspect of the controls.
Another thing I want to address here before going back into more of the positive aspects of the game is the actual controlling of the kart itself. The game feels a bit, I don't know how to describe it, a little light maybe?. The weight of your kart does not feel natural and it feels like you either hover over the terrain or it feels like you're driving over ice in a lot of the levels,even when there's no ice present. Because of this you will find a lot of the turns ending with you going off the track or even slamming into a wall and if its a close race, you might be totally screwed. Once again though, this can be fixed by constantly tapping your brake button and trying to straight out your kart. We shouldn't have to do that, but hey it works and it helps keep enjoyment into game.
I know, I'm depressing you,but do not worry because were about to talk a little bit about some of the claw-some weapons that you can use in the game. I mentioned a couple of them above,but there are a total of 10 to choose from or around that number anyways. You can use a lot of them from the get go but other's have to be unlocked. Other weapons you can get in the game range from homing missiles that follows your opponent,machine guns that blow your opponents away,EMP attacks that hit with an AOE(area of effect) and Ice beams,which I'm sure you get the idea of what that does. So grab a weapon and pick and choose the right scenario when you need to use it and you're locked and ready to go!
The game also supports co op,couch co op that is. You may have up to 4 people race with you at a time thanks to the wonderful and classic magic of good ol splitscreen. I don't have any friends to play with so I wasn't able to do this, but judging from the way the game plays on single player, I could see this as a really fun party game or even just a nice game to play casually with anyone willing to sit down and have a few hours of fun. The developers though, I gotta say did miss the ball a bit, why? because there is no online racing,man. I don't know if this will be patched and updated later to have it,but as of this review,no online racing exists, so sorry my kittens, no playing with friends far far away.
One last thing I want to cover for the game play section before ending the review is a pretty cool feature that actually makes you put strategy into how you play and what power ups you grab and this is kart damage. Every time you hit someone or something and even when you get hit by an enemy weapon, your kart takes damage and the more damage your kart happens to take,the slower your kart goes. If you have too much damage then you will not be able to keep up with anyone on the racing field, so the only way to combat that is grab the wrench looking power ups on the field in order to give your kart more power and fixes. Although doing this will cause you to miss an item that you might need to defeat an enemy, so its a tough call,but sometimes it needs to be done.
The games graphics are pretty smooth looking. It isn't the best looking game in the world but it kinda looks like an older pixar game you would've found on Xbox 360. If I had to pick a comparison for it then I would have to say graphically it would be similar to Toy Story 3 on Xbox 360. Both share a similar color palet and even animation style, this is not a rag on Meow Motors, if anything, It's a compliment because I still think Toy Story 3 on Xbox 360 looks great to this day. So kudos to the team at Artvostok for a job well done.
My overall thoughts on Meow Motor's comes away mixed. While I have issues with the way the karts move and with the way it feels stiff when you're trying to drift in tight turns, ultimately after a few races, you start getting used to it and adapting to it. While those are some negatives against it and it can off put some people, I feel the games charm, its cute characters,their personalities,the weapon selection,the damaged kart making you have to strategize more and the way the tracks are structured,give me enough leeway and confidence to say that this game is a purchase.
Meow Motors is out now on Steam
*Review code for Meow Motors provided by Artvostok