Unlock The Cat
Do you remember the sliding blocks puzzle called Klotski (also known by its Chinese alternate name Huarong Dao)? You are given a board filled with blocks of various sizes, the goal being to move a specific piece to a designated area at the bottom of the board (the exit) by sliding all the blocks around it and making a clear path out. Unlock The Cat is a variation of this classic game, slightly altering the old mechanics yet keeping the gameplay the same and wrapping it into some charming visuals.
In comparison to the original game, all the blocks from Unlock The Cat have the same size (1×2) and can move either horizontally or vertically but never in both directions. As a result, your movement range is quite limited and the tricks you already learned from the old game will work only partially here. The big red block that you had to drag to the exit is now replaced by an adorable cat that sometimes rolls around belly up when you’re idle for too long.
The game is played solely using the mouse. You can rotate the camera around the 3D levels for a better perspective (including top-down) or zoom in / zoom out. This doesn’t have any impact on the game, and it has only cosmetic purposes but the beautifully designed environments with a seasonal theme add a very nice touch.
Apart from some introductory puzzles, the levels are very challenging. They’re not crafted for inexperienced players, and I can see why they could easily become frustrating for players not acquainted with the classic strategies. On top of that, the levels cannot be skipped, so if you can’t solve a level you won’t be able to finish the game. Additionally, there are no hints or any other kind of in-game helpers. On the other hand, the number of moves is not limited in any way and unlike in other games, there’s no requirement to optimize this.
I didn’t encounter any bugs in my playthrough, but on the downside the dragging is sometimes a bit clunky. The pieces don’t snap on the grid, so if you drag a piece (or the cat, for that matter) some pixels over the edge, the new tile will be considered as occupied, preventing other blocks from being moved on it. This is not something irritating, but it can sometimes slightly slow down your clicking spree of moving blocks, for readjusting purposes.
Overall, Unlock The Cat is a pretty nice, yet challenging game, totally worth the $2 price (and with a discount, it’s a steal). It took me around 4h to go through the 40 levels.