Fort Meow
Gameplay 8
Graphics 8
Sound 9

Adorable cats and addictive physics based puzzle adventuring is a winning combination and ensures that Fort Meow will keep players hooked to the end. Building pillow forts out of all kinds of odds and ends is a blast and the physics based gameplay keeps things interesting. It is a little short for our liking, but fun from start to finish.

Gameplay: Very addictive and features enough items to keep the fort building interesting.

Graphics: The adorable children’s book style visuals look great.

Sound: Some very catchy tunes to accompany the wacky action

Summary 8.3 Outstanding
Gameplay 0
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Sound 0
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Fort Meow

Developer: Upper Class Walrus | Publisher: Surprise Attack | Release Date: 2015 | Genre: Adventure / Indie Strategy | Website: Official Website | Purchase: Steam

Anyone who has ever owned a cat will know exactly what happens when the furry critters spots you reading a book. It instantly increases the attractiveness of your lap tenfold and will cause any cat within the vicinity to make a beeline for it. This is the dilemma that Nia, the star of Fort Meow, finds herself in when she visits her grandparents. With her grandmother nowhere in sight and her grandfather in surgery, Nia heads up to the attic of their dusty old mansion where she finds a mysterious journal. The journal holds valuable clues as to why the house seems to have been taken over by cats, but in order to read it Nia has to defend herself against the relentless onslaught of felines determined to sleep on her lap.

The only way to keep the cats at bay is by building a pillow fort out of the ordinary household items nearby. Initially your selection is restricted to mattresses, pillows, chairs and brooms, but you soon gain access to more. From televisions and lamps to trophies, toasters and grandfather clocks, there are more than twenty items in total at your disposal. Some items are bigger and more durable while others bestow special bonuses. However, the gameplay is physics based, so it is not just what you stack into your fort that counts, but where you stack them as well.

The game works like a sort of reverse angry birds where your goal on each round is to keep the cats off Nia’s lap. Cats come flying in from the sides of the screen and slowly chip away at your defenses. One poorly placed item can cause your whole fort to come crashing down if you are not careful, so it is important to safeguard against weak spots. There are six types of cats to deal with and some items are more effective against certain felines than others. For example, the bean bag chair will bounce away the fat cat that can usually crash through multiple items, while the bubble blower is great for the triple kitten threat. Special packages are also occasionally dropped off and these provide one-time use items, such as inflatable pillows or water pistols that can turn the tide in your favor on really tricky levels.

Your resource for building forts is time, and each item you place uses up some. If you run out of “time” it is time to start the round and see if your engineering efforts were sufficient. Between rounds you are free to explore the house and choose which items you want to add to your roster. The rooms start out in the dark, but clues in the journal point you towards light bulbs that can be used to light up the rooms of your choosing. Lugging up new items to the attic requires energy though and you typically only have enough to choose one each time. Rooms can be unlocked in any order and overall the difficulty curve of the game is quite gentle. We didn’t’ have any problems completing the rounds and it is only the last level, where you are on a strict timer, that can give casual players any trouble.

Visually Fort Meow is a very good looking game with a beautiful, family friendly art style. The cats look suitably adorable and the way that the attic decorations change as the game progresses is a nice touch. Most of the story is conveyed via the journal entries you unlock, but there are also a couple of nice cut-scenes. The overall visual style of the game reminded us of the type of stuff often found in children’s books, which is not a bad thing. The soundtrack is also very good and features some catchy tunes that perfectly captures the mood of the game. The music never becomes annoying either, but this could just be because the game is quite short. We managed to complete everything in one sitting of about three hours, but there was definitely never a dull moment.

The controls work well enough and constructing your forts is as easy as dragging and dropping everything in place. Rotating objects is done via the mouse scroll wheel, but we found it easier to use the arrow keys on the keyboard for this task. Stacking items require you to carefully balance everything and accidentally pulling out the wrong item or cramming something into the wrong spot can cause a collapse. This can be frustrating, but with enough practice won’t be an issue. Luck definitely plays a role in the game as we sometimes survived a round purely because of the way that certain items fell. This element of unpredictability adds some extra fun to the game, although it is also possible to stick to a certain blueprint for building and almost guarantee success.

Fort Meow features a couple of Steam achievements to unlock, but at this stage could do with some extra features to enhance the replay value. According to the developer, there is an unending mode in the works, which will definitely be a welcome feature. We were also glad to see that the developer is very active on the forums, listening to feedback and working on a patch to address all the issues reported by players. (Note: the version 1.0.1 patch was released just before we published this review.)

We definitely had a lot of fun playing Fort Meow and can’t wait to return to it once the endless mode is added. The concept is simple enough that players of all skill levels can jump in and have fun while the story is also surprisingly interesting. We wish that the game was a little longer as it feels like it ends too soon, but the price is low enough that there is still plenty of value for money here.

System Requirements

  • OS: Windows Vista
  • Processor: Dual-Core 2.0 GHz or better
  • Memory: 1 GB RAM
  • Graphics: ATI Radeon X1300/NVidia GeForce 6600 GT or better
  • DirectX: Version 9.0c
  • Hard Drive: 160 MB available space
  • Sound Card: DirectX-Compatible Sound Card
  • Additional Notes: Windows Media Codec required for cutscene videos
  • OS: Windows 7 / Windows 8
  • Processor: Dual-Core 2.5 GHz or better
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Graphics: ATI Radeon X1300/NVidia GeForce 6600 GT or better
  • DirectX: Version 10
  • Hard Drive: 200 MB available space
  • Sound Card: DirectX-Compatible Sound Card
  • Additional Notes: Windows Media Codec required for cutscene videos

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