Scram Kitty and his Buddy on Rails

Dakko Dakko's testing old-school treat on Wii U offers rich, Treasure-style rewards for those who can wrap their heads and fingers around it

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The eccentric perfectionism of Dakko Dakko

Screw games as art, this is games as craft.

You can tell pretty much everything you need to know about a game from its jump mechanics, whether it's contemporary Grand Theft Auto's slapstick tumble, the perfect bound in a Mario game or the cotton-soft float of Sackboy. The jump in Scram Kitty, a former Wii U exclusive that's now on its way to PS4 and Vita, was always a bit harder to read: a strange arc subject to the momentum you'd built up riding rails, and subject to the gravity of levels that would loop across the screen.

At long last, DakkoDakko's excellent Scram Kitty and His Buddy on Rails is out! I've been looking forward to the Wii U exclusive ever since laying eyes on it early last year, and thankfully it really doesn't disappoint - it's a completely unique challenge, with the emphasis really being on challenge there.

Scram Kitty and His Buddy on Rails review

The first joke is that Scram Kitty and His Buddy on Rails is an on-rails shooter that is, for once, literally on rails. As in Cardiff studio Dakko Dakko's debut, The 2D Adventures of Rotating Octopus Character, your wheeled character must hug the border of the environment, an unbroken rail along which he can scoot with crab-like velocity. You trace your path along the scenery, back against the wall at all times, as you fire inwards - sometimes leaping before landing back on the rail in a shower of sparks.

There's a hump of acclimatisation to get over. At first, it feels frustrating to be tethered to the circumference when you want to fly unhindered through the air. But soon enough you begin to lap the game's levels with the grace and ease of a hurdler completing circuits of a track. In time, you leap obstacles with pixel-perfect timing and begin to use inertia to fling yourself around the scenery and flit between rails while firing a hail of scorching bullets at your foes.

The second joke is that you play as a blue-rinse soldier who must rescue 70 traumatised space cats from an army of weaponised rodents. The game is broken into 29 stages, each one accessed from a map screen that's laid out like the blueprints of a spaceship. Cats await rescue in each stage. The tabby sits by the exit door; to rescue him, you must simply make it to the end of the stage. The others must be lured out. The black cat appears only when you defeat an especially powerful mouse enemy who's invisible until you roll into his area. The flirty cat with the long eyelashes and azure eyes must be chased around the stage until she finally settles in one spot and can be herded towards the exit. The white cat will only come out to play when you've collected every single one of the coins that litter the environment.

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Wii U-exclusive Scram Kitty is due next week

Indie developer Dakko Dakko - the studio behind The 2D Adventures of Rotating Octopus Character and Floating Cloud God Saves the Pilgrims - is releasing its 2D shmup/platforming hybrid, Scram Kitty and his Buddy on Rails, on the Wii U eShop 15th May.

It was originally set for an April release.

Scram Kitty is the latest long-titled creation from ex-Lionhead, Q-Games, and Nintendo developer Rhodri Broadbent, who once worked on the Star Fox series. This latest offering also includes space-faring animals as you'll maneuver a child's "spinboard" across various magnetic rail-like surfaces as you battle nefarious mice in an effort to rescue your kidnapped feline pal Scram Kitty.

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Wii U exclusive Scram Kitty dated for April

Wii U exclusive Scram Kitty dated for April

New footage looks up to scratch.

Promising-looking indie shooter Scram Kitty and his Buddy on Rails will arrive on Wii U in April, its developer has told Eurogamer.

Scram Kitty is a true Wii U exclusive - one of only a handful on the horizon, and of an even smaller handful not developed by Nintendo itself.

The on-rails shooter is the work of Cardiff-based studio Dakko Dakko, until now best-known for its gloriously named and wonderfully addictive PlayStation Mini title The 2D Adventures of Rotating Octopus Character.

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