Molecats, by developer Vidroid ticks all the boxes for a brain teasing puzzler with unique mechanics that expand over many levels. With a mobile-friendly design, it’s perfect for short play sessions.
When The Indie Toaster received a key from the developers, I was eager to give this particular indie game a try. A couple of day afterwards, here’s what I think of this cute, cat-based title!
Spelunking for Puzzles
Molecats pluts you in charges of leading goofy walking cats out of caves they have mysteriously found themselves in. Instead of controlling a single cat, however, you control the cave itself and the cats simply walk forward.
The caves consist of square tiles, each of which you can rotate ninety degrees at a time. The levels each have caves in them, that you need to line up with other tiles to connect them. The goal is to lead your cats to safely through a door, usually blocked by locks or switches.
I’m not really certain who decided to design this deathtrap but it’s fun nonetheless. Where this gets even more complicated, the cats can also walk on the ceiling. Because each tile rotates, sometimes your cats will find themselves upside down.
To solve this, some caves have curved walls which allow them to walk along, defying gravity, to transfer to the ceiling or floor. Each level has optional goals as well, like finding hidden mushrooms or cats hiding in unexplored tiles.
Tile Turning Time
Molecats has over fifty levels to play, each one has its own unique puzzles and secrets. After completing enough tasks, you gain access to a new area – each with their own mechanic to introduce and artistic style. Every level is impossible to fail, you will never be forced to restart.
Instead of learning the right sequence of moves to ‘perform’ the answer I was able to tinker with the mechanics without worry. This made playing the game much more of a meditative experience, much like solving a crossword or Sudoku.
Once I had figured out the solution, the controls would trip me up from time to time. Because some solutions require you to have your cats pick up a key or press a button, there is an ability to ‘shake’ the tile they are in, causing them to panic and not pick up anything.
There is also a ‘fast forward’ function which had a similar effect but let your cats interact with things. These two have very similar effects and I had a hard time not confusing the two.
Crawling Up the Walls
Not collecting every item in still proved to be good enough to unlock most areas. However, trying to unlock the later stages caused me to return to hunt for mushrooms which wasn’t the most fun. I found myself trying random things to see because I couldn’t see what I had missed, causing some minor frustration.
There was some variety in the music tracks, but there is only one track per floor so staring at a tile listening to the same loop did get a little tedious. Although some puzzles were more difficult than others – and I am certainly no puzzle master – I found the most satisfying way to play was one level at a time.
Taking a short break in between or just playing once each day during a natural break like a bus ride would be the best way to enjoy Molecats. If you find a way to play Steam games on your phone, that is.
While Molecats lends itself more to short play sessions, I found myself coming back to play just one more. It may not have been an enthralling experience, but it filled in the gaps with clever puzzles and charming style.
Molecats is currently available on Steam, where there is also a free demo if you want to try it out before you commit!