Still Some Assembly Required – MagiCats Builder Review

Aug 22, 2018
Action

MagiCats Builder wants desperately to be the mobile answer to Nintendo’s Mario Maker, offering you the power to craft your own 16-bit platforming levels in the palm of your hand. It’s a perfectly solid idea, especially since Nintendo seems inexplicably hesitant of porting their own game to smart devices, but unfortunately good ideas don’t always pan out quite like you hoped. Now, MagiCats isn’t a bad game per-say – but is blatantly unfinished and clearly struggling to support both mobile and PC devices.

The most immediate problem is simply that the user interface was built with the game’s PC version in mind. It’s as if the developers expect you to have a precision stylus, as icons on your phone are so small that you’re basically hoping that your inputs are registered properly.

MagiCats is trying desperately to be an feline twist on Rayman, but doesn't have half the precision.

You’re good to go if you just want to play other people’s levels, though this raises the other problem – the gameplay isn’t all that strong, nor responsive. It’s very easy to have your cat overreact, and I tested the game on PC as well as on mobile only to experience the same result. MagiCats is trying desperately to be an feline twist on Rayman, but doesn’t have half the precision.

Did I mention there's also lootboxes for level elements? Because there are, and they sadly only make matters worse.

Making things worse, the combat system is both trying way too hard yet also too simplified. Instead of just, say, punching enemies, you have to fire projectiles. There’s a few enemy types that roll with this, but most are either killed in a single hit or are damage sponges that require you dodge their attacks with the slippery controls between blasting them over and over again. Worse still, on mobile, you have to just cross your fingers that the attack will hit the enemy you’re aiming at – at least on PC, you can manually aim.

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Did I mention there’s also lootboxes for level elements? Because there are, and they sadly only make matters worse. You’ll often be lacking elements to finish your level as you envisioned it. Plus, you can’t keep multiple levels saved, far as I could tell, and any time I tested a level and can completed it, the game forced me to upload it. So you can’t just save work-in-progress levels because you’re limited to single level at a time, you have a sparse amount of resources to utilize with no way of knowing if you’ll get the items you need, AND it all doesn’t play as smoothly as it should. Like I said, this feels like it should’ve been kept in the oven a few more months.

A good game may be buried here, but it'll take a patience and persistence the mobile market isn't known for.

What Magicats has going for it is the fact it’s trying, desperately, to be a charming, positive, collaborative platforming experience. There’s some adorable animations and at least the aesthetic nails it’s Rayman-but-different aims. These aspects alone don’t save the experience, but they at least demonstrate Magicats‘ potential. The developers have even incentivized trying levels blind with a daily roster to challenge players, with the reward of a lootbox pack for each set completed. It’s a great idea, but sadly most of the levels I played, be they on PC or mobile, were hindered by the previously cited issues. A good game may be buried here, but it’ll take a patience and persistence the mobile market isn’t known for.

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Our Rating

ProsCons
It's a true direct port of the PC game to mobile, all content included.It's a direct port of a PC game to mobile that doesn't seem to understand its new platform whatsoever. Also, lootboxes for level elements.
Rating
4.5/10
MagiCats Builder
MagiCats Builder
Developer:
Price: Free+
MagiCats Builder
MagiCats Builder
Developer: Dreamz Studio
Price: Free+
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Elijah Beahm

Elijah is a man who can't stop talking about games, geeky things, and to the chagrin of his colleagues, horrible puns. He's been working as a game journalist for several years now, and in addition to Appolicious, His other work can be found at GameCritics.com, I Need Diverse Games, and The Unabridged Gamer on YouTube. When not reviewing games, you'll probably find him ranting on Twitter, writing, or replaying Dead Space 2 for the zillionth time.

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