Fat Cat Bandit is an iOS game from new independent developer Tilted Joystick. The game is distributed as a free Universal app and is available now from the App Store.
Fat Cat Bandit is a game of skill that tasks players with using their iOS device’s tilt controls to successfully navigate various challenges. The player is cast in the role of a literal “cat burglar” who inexplicably carries out his various heists by curling up into a ball and rolling around. The goal of each level is for the player to reach a treasure, which is usually located on the other side of an array of perilous obstacles. Three coins are also scattered around each level, tempting players into ever more dangerous situations with the promise of additional rewards at level completion.
Up to three stars may be earned per level — one for completing the level, one for collecting all the coins and a third for beating a “par” time for each level. In some cases, additional hidden stars may be found by breaking vases. Stars are used to unlock later “buildings,” each of which contains 19 levels for a total of 57 altogether. There is (currently) no in-app purchasing system in place to allow players to “buy access” to later levels, meaning that the only way to progress is to successfully complete the previous challenges.
The difficulty level starts rather low, but ramps up very quickly even within the first building. This isn’t entirely by design — the game’s tilt controls are a little erratic at times, and there is no means of adjusting sensitivity or choosing the “neutral point” for tilting, meaning players have to sit up straight in order to play successfully, and occasionally tilt the device in such a way that it actually becomes rather difficult to see the on-screen action. One Man Left’s Tilt to Live still has the best implementation of accelerometer controls in any iOS game, offering both adjustable sensitivity and the ability to choose what position the player will be holding the device before starting a game. Tilted Joystick — and indeed other developers making tilt-based games — would do well to learn from this good example.
The control issue is a bit of a shame because Fat Cat Bandit is otherwise a soundly-designed game. Its quick-fire levels are ideal for mobile play, and there is plenty of content on offer for free. The game’s structure makes it easily expandable over time through updates, and if the developer did wish to monetize their creation in the future, it would be a simple matter to provide unlockable premium level packs or the ability to purchase stars to enable faster progression.
For a first attempt from this developer, Fat Cat Bandit displays a good understanding of what mobile players want from their downloadable games. With a little refinement, this could be a genuinely good game, and certainly shows a solid basis for future work. For now, however, it’s simply a fun little diversion that only those with the patience to deal with the tilt controls will want to stick with.
Fat Cat Bandit is not currently listed on our tracking service AppData. Check back shortly to follow its progress through the App Store charts.