Waking the Cat is Normally a Bad Idea. This is the Exception.

If three decades of cat ownership have taught me anything, it's that a cat at rest should be let stay at rest as long as feline-ly possible. Cats are at their cutest when unconscious. Wake them and they begin scratching things, poking their nose into the kitchen, and filling the designated boxes (and anything remotely resembling said boxes) with various bodily fluids.

Take my cats, Sprite and Pixel. At rest they are a twin engine of adorability, relentless in a cuddly sort of way. Awake they are possessed by the devil. I found the Xbox 360 I keep in our exercise/cat room knocked from its table to the floor just yesterday, dislodged by the collapse of the huge moving box they use to hone their claws, conveniently located next to a completely untouched scratching post.

So one can understand that when Halfpixel Games asks via its first iOS game to Wake the Cat, I am hesitant to do so.

As with many entertaining things, Wake the Cat begins with a sleeping animal and a ball of yarn. Your task, should you choose to accept it, is to roll the ball into the kitten, thus priming it for another in a long string of best days ever. A simple enough task, but then physics rears its ugly head and the challenge grows.

Waking the Cat is Normally a Bad Idea. This is the Exception.

Pixel and Sprite. Don't wake these guys. Seriously. They are jerks.

What follows is a series of increasingly complicated levels (60 at launch, with more on the way) that will challenge your ability to toss a ball at a cat. First we learn to bank the yarn off objects. Toys trains are added to the mix, some moving constantly, others starting and stopping with the touch of a finger. Fans blow the ball about the floor. Quantum teleportation slippers warp the ball about the screen. In the screenshot atop this review I am dealing with rotating pipes and a gravity well. I don't know whose house this cat lives in, but it's pretty freaking insane.

The only real downside to Wake the Cat is one that will undoubtedly be addressed in future updates—it's over too quickly. The 60 included levels pass in a flash once you get into the rhythm, leaving you sitting on your floor near your real cats, looking around for things to throw at them.

Like other physics-powered "Verb the Noun"-style games I could mention, Wake the Cat is a lovely mix of clever puzzles and personality—exactly the sort of game that casual iOS gamers go crazy for. I'm not saying we'll be seeing huggable Wake the Cat plushies on toy store shelves by year's end, but I wouldn't be surprised.

Maybe I'll pick up a few to replace the the hellions currently shredding our leather recliner to ribbons.

Wake the Cat

Waking the Cat is Normally a Bad Idea. This is the Exception.
  • Genre: Physics Puzzler
  • Developer: Halfpixel Games
  • Platform: iOS
  • Price: $.99
Get Wake the Cat on iTunes