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The Battle Cats POP!

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Have you been looking for a real-time strategy game which mashes adorable cartoon cats with real-time strategy tactics? Then you're in luck: The Battle Cat POP! skillfully mixes levelling, tactics and strategy. The game is not without its flaws - most notably its emphasis on grinding and failure to completely move away from all free-to-play...[read more below]

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The Battle Cats POP! Review

Introduction

Have you been looking for a real-time strategy game which mashes adorable cartoon cats with real-time strategy tactics? Then you're in luck: The Battle Cat POP! skillfully mixes levelling, tactics and strategy. The game is not without its flaws - most notably its emphasis on grinding and failure to completely move away from all free-to-play mechanics - but, by and large, its a fun game that contains more than meets the eye.

Concept

The Battle Cats POP! is a side-scrolling, real-time strategy game. Your objective is simple: You control an army of 12 cats who are seeking to control the world by destroying the enemy base. In the course of doing so, you fight a series of animal enemies, including snakes, dogs and more.

There's no story, per se - you're a cat commander who has to kill enemies and ultimately destroy the enemy base before they get to yours.

Graphics & Audio

When you buy a game for $10, you accept that you aren't going to be getting world-shattering graphics and a melodic audio track.

Even so, the graphics are well-matched with the overall aesthetic of the game: Cute, quirky and colorful. You can see that both the graphics and soundtrack (such as it is), were originally made for an App, but that doesn't detract much from the overall experience. As long as you don't go into the game with massive expectations for its sound and audio, you won't be disappointed.

Gameplay

Like most real-time strategy games, the goal here isn't quick reflexes or button mashing: It's developing a strategy for the various scenarios. You need an army that is strong enough to overwhelm the enemy, but diverse enough that you can take out a series of increasingly tricky enemy armies without losing your base.

You play by selecting a cat to fight on your behalf, but you have to choose the right one: Do you go with an offensive type? A ranged fighter? A defender?

The game has the feel of a free-to-play title, but by shelling out the money for the Nintendo DS, you can have all of the game's benefits without any of the in-app purchases. Unfortunately, that doesn't stop the in-game energy meter from making you wait to play specific missions. Additionally, the grind on this game can be a chore, but it is necessary to level up to the point where you can play and beat some levels. While the game can be profoundly satisfying, and its fun to employ various strategies to beat the bad guys, the weird free-to-play elements and grinding get repetitive.

Even more frustrating: Player vs. Player is available, but unfortunately, it's local only - meaning you can't play online against friends. In 2019, that seems like a silly omission.

Conclusion

For a repurposed iPhone game, The Battle Cats POP! shows a surprising degree of depth and tactics. It's game mechanics are solid, you can replay it with a different style, and it holds a good challenge for even the most experienced players. It has some mechanical problems - most notably the left-over energy bar -, but if you can get past that and like this genre, this game is well worth it.

Summary: The game is quirky, fun and allows for deeper tactical immersion than you'd expect out of a converted free-to-play title.

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From the Developers

What follows is the official description of The Battle Cats POP!, from the developers.


Collect 100s of fightin' Cats to power up your army, take down bizarre and hilarious enemies and win glorious treasure!

Super Simple Battle System

Just tap on the Cat you want to join the fight! Oh, and maybe fire the Cat Cannon once or twice. Take down the enemy base before the baddies can destroy yours!

Super Simple Levelling System

Use the XP you get from clearing stages to train your Cats! Once they hit level 10, it's time to EVOLVE!

Super Simple Fun!

Collect treasure sets to create powerful items and boost your powers!

Go to the Capsule Machine to collect rare and exotic Cats(?)!!

Battle your friends with the 3DS-exclusive Versus mode to unlock even more cool rewards!

Perfect for Casual Play! Fun for all ages, anyone (and their cat too!) can enjoy the "Battle Cats"!

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