PS5 Review: Catmaze

More than just Meow-troidvania?

Cats have always been the link between the world of Yav and the world of Nav, and for this knowledge they were awarded nine lives. What will it cost for one of them – Cat Bayn – to make an exception and change the balance just once on behalf of the young sorceress Alesta’s mother? Catmaze is a fairy metroidvania inspired by Slavic myths. Age-old tales will come to life in the unforgettable adventure of Alesta, a sorceress whose courage guides her through mysterious paths and dark forests in search of the lost road to Nav, the world of the dead.

Games like Catmaze aren’t new with its Metroidvania design, but if they can pull off a unique charm then it can work out well. Catmaze pulls this off with its pixel art and overall design, plus the story itself is well written. The typical backtracking does come into play here as you would expect, but it doesn’t feel like a chore when its done well. Luckily this is also the case here, while my only criticism itself is that the game’s bosses don’t have the same level of quality as the rest of the game.

It’s a small complaint though and they aren’t all bad, they just lack the same energy overall. There are some issues with hit detection at times too, but these are rare overall. The game took me roughly 6 hours to complete for the bad ending, but there’s also an alternative good ending for gathering every object and exploring the entire map too, which takes a few extra. For a game of its design, the map is actually quite big and exploring it all is definitely worth it in the long run.

I think the major issue with Catmaze is that while its good at what it does as a Metroidvania game, it doesn’t do much to stand out from the crowd of them. It almost feels like a “tick box” effort instead of trying to expand outside of it, which is a shame but that doesn’t mean that I didn’t enjoy my time with it. On the contrary, I loved going through it and while I cant see myself going through it again after getting the Platinum, I can say that I had fun with it from start to finish, and that’s not a bad thing in the end.

The pixel art is a big part of Catmaze’s charm and as expected, the framerate doesn’t suffer any issues, nor are there are bugs or glitches that I encountered. The soundtrack is also impressive overall with some nice fantasy tones to push you through the game.

The Verdict

Catmaze may not lift itself out its Metroidvania design, but it does feel comfortable and familiar, nonetheless. Simply put, it will scratch that itch for fans of the genre nicely.

Score: 7.5