Shivering Kittens is a simple new iPhone and Facebook app from brothers Terence and Tim Goggin of GiantCrayon Games, a subsidiary of Information Appliance Associates. And the game feels a lot like a cross between Tetris and Dr. Mario.
In an interface reminiscent of those games, blocks of ice, kittens, and frozen kittens slowly fall from the top of the screen in the classic Tetris shapes (Z’s, T’s, L’s, etc.). The objective, however, is to rescue as many kittens as possible from the “Minnesota winter.” In order to do so, players must connect five or more kittens in any pattern.
This leads to two challenges for the player. First, there are the frozen blocks and frozen cats that can block a pending connection of five kittens, and second, they have to be removed differently from each other. In order to unfreeze cats and remove ice blocks, a full horizontal line must be formed like in Tetris. However, unlike that game, the shapes do not maintain their integrity. Each block of a certain shape is its own entity and will continue to fall; filling in any gaps beneath them.
Removing kittens, frozen or otherwise, counts as “rescuing” them, and actually, this plays a big part in not only one’s individual score, but multiplayer as well.
Multiplayer mode isn’t that different from a standard Facebook challenge mode either (pitting two players’ scores against one another), but it does utilize “rescuing” to add a small element to the classic concept. There is actually a scoring mechanism called “Best Rescue” that consists of how many kittens were removed in a single move. After both players have played a level, the person with the higher “Best Rescue” is allowed to make a move on a Tic-Tac-Toe board. Players continue to play levels until someone creates a row of three kittens.
Though the game is not wholly unique, Shivering Kittens does make for an interesting blend of two very popular, older games. Since the game is tailored toward cat lovers too, its quirky style adds for a significant level of cuteness from simple visuals and overly cute kitten noises. While this does not feel like enough to break any new social or design boundaries, this simple puzzler is at least a good way to kill some time on either Facebook or the iPhone.