Super Catboy preview (Gamescom)

Time for another Gamescom preview! We got to see Pixelgogo’s Super Catboy in action last week, with a developer presentation and gameplay demo – here’s what we thought.

What we know

Super Catboy is currently being developed by 2-man studio Pixelpogo as a PC exclusive starring the titular Catboy and his human partner Weapongirl. Together, they set out to face an army of anthropomorphic dogs and their mad scientist leader in a game inspired by the 16-bit platformers and run and gun games of the 1990s.

The game is currently scheduled for a release in Q2 of 2022 and will contain about 30 levels when it launches. In addition to platforming and shooter, you’ll also have brawling options – which you’ll need because ammo is limited and you might get swarmed by enemies during encounters. Assemble Entertainment is publishing the game, which is thus both being developed and published out of Germany.

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What we saw

During Gamescom, Assemble organized a digital press event, where one of the games we got to see was Super Catboy. The demo, featuring hands off gameplay, was narrated by the developers at Pixelpogo, and featured more content than the level that was available in the downloadable demo that was on Steam during Gamescom. It featured, in addition to that level, another level as well as a boss fight.

What we thought

A game like Super Catboy wears its inspirations on its sleeve, and it’s a game that visually looks like a cross between Metal Slug and Donkey Kong County – the latter of which the developers also describe as a source of inspiration for the gameplay. They also wanted to go the 16-bit route without going too ‘retro’/simplified – instead trying to push the pixel platformer style from that era to where it could go with today’s technology.

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While the demo was just a short taste, it looks like the developers at Pixelpogo are on their way to reaching their goal. Super Catboy looks like it’s shaping up to be an action platformer with a protagonist that has a very complete moveset for a 16-bit era game, with running, wall-climbing, aerial attacks, brawling and gunplay all accounted for. We’ve seen plenty of simplified ‘retro’ platformers, but this one feels quite mature – to the point where modern platformers like Rayman can be seen as a source of inspiration as well.

The pixel art style is also very promising, and was shown off very well during the demo’s boss fight where a large bull charged at us repeatedly. From both a design and an animation perspective, it was an impressive scene to watch, and it certainly made us want to see and play more. And for someone who doesn’t even like cats, that’s saying something.

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