With the end of February finally over, it looks like spring is already starting to appear. Where I’m from, February is typically a month where no one is outside except for the extreme athletes who are willing to brave the below 0 temperatures. I, like many others, prefer to stay inside to avoid the brutal winter weather. And what better way to pass the time while cooped up inside than to participate in the second round of the TVGB Team Tournament!
If Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical Cats and The Beatles famous song I Am the Walrus had a child, Puss! would probably be the psychedelic offspring. It’s a game that seems easy and innocent at first glance, but once you dive in and start playing, you realize there’s something sinister about this world. Before I competed in the actual tournament round, I got a sneak peek of the game to see what I was in for. Alex Southgate, after testing the waters, kindly gave me a disclaimer: the game was mildly freaky. Let me tell you, I was not expecting what this game had in store. I made the mistake of trying it out alone at night. It’s not a horror game but there’s something deeply unsettling about it.
Do you remember the Scary Maze Game? To this day, I am still traumatized by that game. I felt my heart skip a beat when I started the first level of Puss! because it closely resembled the Scary Maze Game in terms of looks and controls, so I was prepared for the worst. Within ten seconds of navigating the animated cat head through the maze, I bumped into one of the maze’s walls and gasped because of the glitch-like response and the loud noise that blared from my speakers. It wasn’t scary but certainly startling.
As I mentioned earlier, a few of us did a test run before starting the second round of the TVGB Tournament. For this round, we had Alex and Albert Eres on Team 1 and me and Jake Sapir on Team 2. If you missed the results from round 1, you can read about all the excitement to see how things went down. I think Team 2 had high hopes after that first round. Puss! looked deceptively easy (I think to everyone) but we all struggled much more than any of us could have anticipated.
As we progressed through each level, we gained lives. I was expecting there to be a cap of 9 lives because this game is all about, well, cats. Some of the levels were more challenging and required a bit of patience and precision to successfully reach the end of the maze. Sometimes I found myself getting trapped by obstacles, glitching out, and regenerating at the beginning of a level or two. Overall, it wasn’t too stressful and I had some time to take a breather between each round. But when I reached level 10 or world 1…things went downhill fast…and I think everyone else would concur.
This was the boss level, and it was one of the weirdest boss levels I’ve ever seen. It’s like Space Invaders but instead of ships, it’s a floating chihuahua head that shoots lasers from its eyes while hundreds of tiny pink balls fall from above and damage your strength. I hated this level and went into full panic mode, clinging on to the few lives I had, watching them quickly disappear as my floating kitty head struggled to stay alive.
Everyone met a similar fate. Jake and I both reached the boss with 8 lives, Alex faced the boss with 12 lives, and Albert miraculously completed world 1. Puss! claimed all of us, but we did our best. I will give it this – it’s better than a bad trip but it’s far too trippy to play for more than 20 minutes. This doesn’t mean I won’t revisit the game. I’m not one to give up that easily just because a little rat dog is able to fry me with its eyes.