February 24th, 2013 | By Mark Isaacson
I remember when Hackysack became a thing. I was just out of high school when I first noticed people playing it and despite my best attempts I just couldn’t get the hang of it. I mean, I could bounce it up once but certain failure followed with any further attempts.
That leads me to Hackycat, a game that replaces the little bag with kittens. It’s an arcade game first at foremost, with the goal of keeping the cats in the air as long as possible, but I couldn’t help but laugh when I first heard them meow as they bounced and flew into the air off the boot of my heroic character, who looked a little too much like me than I care to mention. Sure, he doesn’t have the same hair colour, but he’s certainly just as skinny as me.
The beautiful thing about Hackycat is that, yes, it doesn’t take itself seriously. This is a pick up and play, enjoyed by anyone and everyone kind of game, perhaps even more so than many of the games I’ve reviewed of late. You’ll probably chuckle just as much as I did once you unlock some of the more unusual cats hidden away in the game, some of them reminding me of the crazier characters of Adventure Time.
But underneath all the fluffy layers of colour and cute kittens, there’s a challenge to be had. Keeping the fur balls up is easy enough to start with, but try juggling four or five of them at once. Worse still, you’ll have to avoid dangerous birds that appear randomly over head that can explode upon impact, ruining your fine run. There’s a few unlockable extras that can help you out in a crisis, my personal favourite being the floating cat option that suddenly fills them full of helium.
The best bonus comes if you collect all of the burgers floating in the sky. Pick up enough and you’ll fill your super kick meter which, once activated, will create a target in the sky that when touched will send any nearby cats into the stratosphere for some healthy bonus points. There’s a few other little touches as well, such as the ability to choose your favourite cat who then appears first every time you start a new game, or the option of choosing your character from three. None of it changes the way the game is played, but it makes it your own personal experience instead.
There’s not a huge amount of content here beyond those unlockables, but it’s very enjoyable to play and certainly gorgeous to look at. The animations are top class, wonderful little touches bring out the humour in each cat as they react to your interactions, whether it’s off the boot of your chosen hero or deflecting off other obstacles. Everything has that colourful vibe, but in a pastel shade instead of the a-typical in your face style.
It’s hard not to like Hackycat. It’s got all the qualities that make for a successful mobile game and it deserves to be played and enjoyed by all ages, whether for a few minutes at a time or in a long stretch. Get it now and have some pure, honest fun.