A smart game knows its audience. So let's take a moment to understand what kind of audience I am.
My actual cat is named Guybrush. I have this print in my living room. I think cats and pirates are probably the best things ever except for, maybe, pirate cats. So when a game called Cat Pirates shows up... well. I mean. They may as well have called it "Kate Cox, You Play This Game Right Now I Mean It."
Cat Pirates is a reasonably standard tower defence game. In this particular instance, your tower is your treasure, and it is under attack from cat pirates, who are jerks.
It's not their fault, really. Pirates are kind of jerks -- they do, after all, specialize in stealing stuff that doesn't belong to them -- and so are cats. All purring and contentment one minute, all trying to murder the hell out of your bathmat the next. Come on, kitty! It's dead! You killed it! Please let me out of the shower in peace!
The point is, pirate cat jerks are coming for your treasure, through a maze of crates. You have exactly one way to stop them, which is with bombs. Sometimes when you blow up a cat with a bomb, it drops an upgrade. (Do not try this at home.)
The upgrades apply themselves automatically to the next number of bombs you place, and create some... interesting combinations. One bomb type leaves the tiles where it explodes burning for a few seconds. Another upgrade type turns one placed bomb into several. A bomb can have both upgrades applied, which causes it both to multiply and also to leave a fire merrily blazing in its wake.
The trick is learning to manage upgrades. The difficulty curve comes both sharply and quickly -- after finding the first five levels (of 30) almost laughably easy, I very suddenly had to take multiple stabs at the sixth. Wasting a giant mega land-mine leaving, fire-starting bomb placement, when the map is chock-full of oversized, treasure-stealing cats, does nobody any good.
Actual pirate cats may not approve of this game. At least, that's my take-away from the number of times that Guybrush Threepwood Cox, Mighty Pirate Cat, has knocked my iPod onto the floor in the last 24 hours. For humans, though, it's an entertaining jaunt.
Cat Pirates [Google Play, $0.99]
Cat Pirates [iTunes, $0.99]