[PlayStation 5] Catmaze Review

by Ceidz, Owner

Catmaze from Redblack Spade and Ratalaika Games is a new Metroidvania inspired by Slavic myths. Read more about this new title in our Catmaze review!

Age-old tales will come to life in the unforgettable adventure of Alesta, a sorceress whose courage guides her through the world of the dead.

Embark on a heroic quest that will take Alesta through gloomy marshes, quaint villages, and deep forests and challenging battles with dangerous mythical beasts.

Catmaze from Redblack Spade and Ratalaika Games is a new Metroidvania inspired by Slavic myths. Alesta is a young 16-year-old witch – called Magi in the world of Catmaze. One day when her mother is ill and with a serious cough, Alesta decides to go fetch some herbs to cure her, and thus starts her adventure. In the beginning, this Metroidvania is relatively linear, and you’ll go through the same few zones again with new items allowing you to progress further, as is to be expected of a Metroidvania. Once the first boss is defeated, you’ll have way more freedom to explore, and the world will open up progressively.

The map system is standard for a Metroidvania. It’s not much, but I would have liked to see each section of the world colored in a different color like in Shantae and the Seven Sirens, which I still consider as my favorite Metroidvania. I also liked how the game tells you how to use its gameplay mechanics without requiring a tutorial. Instead, the designers opted to put signs at specific places containing the information needed to progress.

Catmaze Review - 1

Attacking is done with the familiars you have found while exploring. You’ll begin with a single close-range attack, and as you gain access to more materials, their attacks will become more specialized. For instance, you can’t beat the first boss without the familiar that shoots fireballs in front of you. I did have an issue with the controls, as they are quite delayed and require the full animation to finish before being able to strike again. More than once, I was hit because I hit an enemy “too soon,” but the animation took its time, and you can’t attack again before it is completed. I would have liked it if the attack controls had been more reactive.

As for the puzzles, I thought that some were a tad too tricky, and I feel I needed way more time than necessary to figure them out. For instance, one early puzzle that I struggled with involved moving platforms and a giant mushroom – which is used to bounce and jump higher. I think a hint system would have been welcome after spending too much time on one area. For the one I mentioned, I initially ignored the room because I thought I was missing a skill to jump higher.

Catmaze Review - Boss

As for the presentation, I liked the pixelated 16-bit art style, and the different environments were great to explore. The soundtrack was created by Expecte Amour, and it was great on its own, but I noticed that some themes were looping a bit too quickly, and this eventually led to them feeling a bit repetitive. You can check out the Catmaze soundtrack over at Bandcamp.

Being a Ratalaika Games release, you can expect to have a chance to add a Platinum to your collection – two, in fact, since the game is Cross-Buy. But do not expect to have a quick trophy run up ahead because this one will require you to invest between 6 to 8 hours to unlock its Platinum trophy. Trophies themselves are awarded for progressing through the game’s main events, exploring the whole map, and completing the side-quests. If you’re looking at the Platinum, be aware of “…Is this the end?”, which is the only missable trophy. Here’s a Catmaze Trophy Guide if you’re looking for the quickest route towards your new Platinum trophy.

Catmaze Review - 3

Catmaze is a fun Metroidvania based on Slavic myths, but I thought that it could have been improved in some areas, like the attacks, which I mentioned are a bit delayed, and the map system. If you love Metroidvanias, then this one might be up your alley. If you’re a trophy hunter driven by this game because it’s a Ratalaika Games release, do know that the Platinum trophy is going to take you around 6-8 hours. Catmaze is a Cross-Buy title, so your $9.99 purchase will give you both the PlayStation 4 and the PlayStation 5 versions of the game.

This Catmaze review is based on a PlayStation copy provided by Ratalaika Games.

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