Catch Me If You Can is a Great Social Strategy Game Out of Korea

catch me if you canNo, it’s not the movie, but it’s just as interesting. The Facebook game is called Catch Me If You Can, and marks yet another global catch for the Facebook platform. The Flash game is built by Korea-based Hedgehogs, and it is certainly quite an interesting application.

As the name suggests, in Catch Me If You Can, you are either the catcher or the catchee in what feels like a global game of hide and seek. When you start the game you get to choose from one of two characters; either the fugitive or the chaser. The former’s robbed a bank and it’s up to the chaser to catch them. That is the core of the game play.

This simple concept is something that makes for excellent game design. As such Hedgehogs has added significantly to this central idea. Each fugitive can be chased by up to three chasers and games last up to 24 hours. This breaks Catch Me down into essentially two different games, so we’ll look at them one at a time.

chaser in the cityFrom the fugitive’s perspective, players must defend their hard earned loot from the chasers and keep from being caught and arrested. A fugitive player is given an initial amount of money and must use it to defend their loot (with a cannon, no less, and your Facebook friends as obstacles) and escape capture. The escape is the more strategic of the two as players will have to manage resources in order flee cities containing a chaser, using various modes of transportation (train, boat, plane, etc) in order to relocate your hideout. However, the time it takes to get from city to city will depend not only on distance but method of travel (which can be limited if your current locale lacks aforementioned vehicles – i.e. no harbor means no boats).

Strategy is further deepened with the fugitive’s “scan” feature that can figure out the distance between you and any prospective chasers, and the “message” feature that allows you see any movements they have made in the past, providing for a capability to figure out enemy search patterns and make your evasion plans accordingly. Of course, all of these takes money, so Hedgehogs has incorporated a number of mini games and even some fun part-time jobs to pay those hefty criminal bills.

Now if you choose to play the chaser, the pacing is a little different. Long story short, this perspective takes the Carmen San Diego approach as you need to gather evidence (and cash) by working through various quizzes. As with the fugitive, chasers plan out transportation and where to travel based on the clues they find and earn their money through similar mini games and jobs.

arrest mini gameOnce a chaser finds the fugitive, then they have to catch them through another mini game that turns into a sort of tactical battle of wits as they place weapons to prevent the fugitive and his gangsters from escaping. Furthermore, like the fugitive, chasers can use Facebook friends as well to bar any escapee’s way.

Suffice to say, this is merely the tip of the iceberg. The level of strategic depth to Catch Me If You Can is tremendous. Essentially, it feels like Carmen San Diego has been merged with an almost turn-based strategy, online game with a dash of casual mini-games. However, the volume of monthly players is a bit low at the moment so it can be frustrating to get a game from time to time.

Nevertheless, the overall game is quite in-depth and is actually a lot of fun if you can manage to find a good group of people and like a good mind and twitch challenge. One can only hope that more people discover this little gem soon and that Hedgehogs continues to add to and improve play.

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