The premise of Aqua Kitty is simple; battle your way through a world map of levels and kill all the bad guys while dodging their incoming fire to protect your health, made from hearts, and prevent them from catnapping your worker kittens – oh and it’s all set underwater…
Yes, underwater – sounds weird right? – Well, it gets weirder. The cats have gotten over their fear of water because there is a shortage in the world’s supply of milk and the last known reserves are found deep beneath the ocean’s bed. Naturally forming full-fat milk must be drilled out by worker kittens, and you must protect them from the safety of your submarine, shooting down mechanical jellyfish as they attempt to drag the kittens to the surface and prevent them from completing their mission – the milk must flow.
Once multiple waves of the mechanical creatures have been repelled, an area boss reveals itself and once defeated, you can move on to the next batch of map tiles, with the difficulty ramping up for each collection of levels and that… is as complicated as it gets.
The gameplay is fast and plays smoothly; it’s essentially a reskinned version of Defender, complete with mini map showing enemy positions. You can even exit the map from the left or right, only to reappear at the opposite side. It makes for some excellent nostalgic gameplay, although if you missed Defender then you may find Aqua Kitty to be lacking in ideas and content. There are new enemies with different attack patterns and projectiles, but the action never strays far from protect and shoot.
Aqua Kitty is a solid shoot em up experience that gets rather tough as the levels plod on. But for a real challenge, the increasingly difficult dreadnought battles are where you will no doubt spend most of your time, with each dreadnought’s layout forcing you to adapt how you tackle each one.
Each dreadnought is a maze of blocks that can be destroyed. Destroy enough and the dreadnought’s core is revealed, which includes a heavy turret that once beaten destroys the ship. Each dreadnought is also defended by smaller turrets, waves of enemies and mines that fall from the surface. Progressive dreadnoughts increase in difficulty as you make your way through the levels with these behemoths increasing in size and complexity. Taking down the smaller turrets before you reveal the core is essential in reducing the potential bullet hell, making your goal slightly easier to achieve.
Aqua Kitty is a game I kept coming back to, dipping in and out as I edged closer to campaign completion with 100% of the kittens successfully protected, and besting all of the dreadnoughts. Ultimately, it’s a limited but fun title that is made more enjoyable if the nostalgia of Defender is something that gets you excited.