Review: Aqua Kitty – Milk Mine Defender DX (PS4)

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Title: Aqua Kitty – Milk Mine Defender DX
Format: PlayStation Network Download (154 MB)
Release Date: November 25, 2014
Publisher: Tikipod Ltd.
Developer: Tikipod Ltd.
Original MSRP: $8.99 *This is a Cross-Buy, Cross-Save title.
ESRB Rating: E10+
Aqua Kitty – Milk Mine Defender DX is also available on PlayStation Vita. *This is a Cross-Buy, Cross-Save title.
The PlayStation 4 download version was used for this review.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

What happens when the world finds itself without milk? Well, cats hop in submarines and go down into the ocean and tap those milk reserves. With an “out there” premise, Aqua Kitty – Milk Mine Defender DX throws logic out the window and builds a fun shooter on top of a cat filled world.

AQUA KITTY - Milk Mine Defender DX_20141126154349

Gameplay:
Aqua Kitty is a fast paced side scrolling shoot-em up that has addictive gameplay to go along with its cute premise. Your goal in the game is to defend milk mining cats from waves and waves of various enemy types. You fight these enemies with a basic gun and an over-powered, but limited gun. The enemies come at you slowly at first as the game warms you up for the bullet hell to soon come.

The controls are simple as you move from left to right and fire with two buttons which makes grasping the game easy and approachable. Power-ups are acquired through bouncing drops that need to be shot down. The trick with these power-ups is that they change rapidly from type to type and timing is everything as you try and shoot them to unlock specific power-ups. When it turns red you shoot it for health, green for a bomb, etc. This adds a little bit of strategy to the game as you try to time the most appropriate power-up for your current situation. With the power-up constantly moving through the level, strategy becomes a factor on where you should shoot it and which item will be more useful since, for example, the bomb will be placed wherever it was shot. The window is somewhat short for the power-up color switch which can be occasionally frustrating, but as you progress through the game your timing will become more accurate.

Enemy types vary in the amount of damage required to take them down and the spray of the weapon’s fire. In addition to the common firing enemy there is a specific type that has the sole objective of capturing the miners. There is a small dot map at the top of the screen that displays the enemies swimming around the level with the cat stealing types having a red dot to help notify you if you should return to a miner to rescue them. By far the most helpful notification in the game is the sound coming through the Playstation 4 controller. Each time a cat is taken, the controller lets out a meow which is the most adorable thing ever. The second I heard a cat meow I was filled with anxiety and quickly dashed around the screen to see which cat was taken or as I later learned to do more, look at the radar. The game gets more and more hectic throwing a ton of enemies at you and more miners to protect so using the radar at the top of the screen becomes more and more vital to your success.

AQUA KITTY - Milk Mine Defender DX_20141126160605

Aqua Kitty – MMDDX gradually builds up in terms of difficulty and becomes incredibly hard towards the back half of levels. The game will be difficult for some and a perfectionist might break down when saving all the miners on some levels seems like an impossible task, but the satisfying gameplay will push most forward through the game.

The game features three game modes: your basic campaign that saves your progress after each level; an arcade mode which only gives you one life to go through the whole campaign; and an Infinite Espresso mode. The campaign is pretty straightforward and broken down into sections with each one ending in a boss battle. I found this mode most enjoyable because of its casual nature compared to the other modes. In the Arcade mode you are given one life, so after a death you start at the very beginning just like those quarter eating glory days of arcade machines. In this mode you not only have the power-up objects floating about, but gems to upgrade your submarine’s abilities and health which help you make a run through the mode. And finally we have the Infinite Espresso mode which does away with protecting kittens and just pits you against endless waves of enemies. This mode is excellent for those into score chasing and with the excellent controls much fun is to be had here.

AQUA KITTY - Milk Mine Defender DX_20141129171511

Visuals:
The visual presentation is wonderful on the PlayStation 4 as the game is a good looking shooter that runs just as smooth as it looks. With an old school aesthetic combined with the cuteness of cats, the art makes the game work on many levels. The pixel art is beautifully done and gives a good throwback look while still looking/feeling modern and fresh. I have to admit despite being a dog person even I went “awww” when I saw some of the character art.

Audio:
As a fan of chiptune music I have to compliment the soundtrack of the game for being amazing. Each track stands on its own and gives the game added personality. The music might be the best part of the game and that is not to take away from the actual gameplay since that is great too, but the soundtrack is really, really good. It helps that the music is great because when you have to replay a level a certain amount of times a soundtrack can deter from the experience and that was definitely not the case with this game.

Online/Multiplayer:
Aqua Kitty – MMDDX includes couch co-op, but no online multiplayer. The couch co-op is a nice addition to the game and with the controls being simple enough it makes finding a co-op buddy and teaching them to play easy and painless. Players will be limited in their movements due to the way the maps are set-up since the levels are not big enough to justify splitscreen, but with all the chaos on the screen it made sense for the players to be forced to stay somewhat close to each other. In addition there are online leaderboards to give the game extra replayability for comparing scores with friends.

AQUA KITTY - Milk Mine Defender DX_20141129085119

Conclusion:
Aqua Kitty – Milk Mine Defender DX is a fun and addictive shoot-em up that has a ton going for it with tight controls, great visuals and excellent soundtrack. The game scratches that completionist itch as saving all the kittens quickly becomes a priority, possibly due to the controller meowing with fear when a kitten is being abducted. Gameplay rarely frustrates with its mechanics outside of the way the power-ups work in the campaign mode, but the core mechanics make for a strong game with high replay value. The level of difficulty will be a factor for some, but as long as the player is not trying to get 100% in the game it is manageable in the difficulty department. If you are looking for a good pick up and play game Aqua Kitty – MMDDX fills that need and then some.

Score:
9.0

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

Written by Michael Cwick

Michael Cwick

Just a nerd from the Windy City. I’m actually really bad at describing myself because I get all self-critical and self-conscious. Follow me on Twitter, @The1stMJC, to see my borderline insane rants on tv shows and other non important subjects. If I’m not tweeting I’m probably just watching Buffy or Firefly for the millionth time.

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