Aqua Kitty – Milk Mine Defender
Gameplay 8
Graphics 8
Sound 9

Aqua Kitty – Milk Mine Defender might look like a charming, casual game but it has the heart of an old school arcade shooter and will really test your skills. The hand drawn pixel art is beautiful and the whole experience is enhanced by the excellent chiptune soundtrack.

Gameplay: Retro style side scrolling action that packs quite a challenge.

Graphics: Beautiful hand drawn pixel art.

Sound: A rocking chiptune soundtrack that compliments the action nicely

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Aqua Kitty – Milk Mine Defender

Developer: Dugan, Gabon, Electric Cafe | Publisher: Tikipod Ltd | Release Date: 2014 | Genre: Indie / Action | Website: Official Website | Format: Digital Download

Due to worldwide milk shortages cats are forced to seek a new source for their favorite beverage. Against all odds they find naturally forming full-fat milk deep under the seabed which they start to extract with underwater drilling operations. The task is complicated by mechanical sea monsters that harass the deep sea milk mining kittens so it is up to you to protect the tiny felines and ensure that the milk continues to flow.

Wacky storyline aside, Aqua Kitty is a retro style horizontal scrolling shooter that draws its inspiration from the early 80’s Williams Electronics hit, Defender. Instead of protecting astronauts from aliens however you play as an eye-patch wearing cat in control of a submarine fending off mechanical sea creatures.

Enemies attack in waves and include all kinds of aquatic robots such as crabs, sharks, piranhas and angelfish. Most enemies are a nuisance but the real danger comes from the jellygrabs that snatch your little milk mining kittens and then head for the heavens. If you can shoot them down before they disappear off-screen you can save the kittens but if you lose all the milk miners you lose the level. Things start of nice and relaxed with only one or two kittens to defend but the challenge quickly ramps up with hordes of enemies and multiple milk miners that are under constant attack.

The primary weapon on your submarine is a rather puny forward firing gun but you also have a rechargeable secondary blaster that does a much better job. The game uses a chain kill combo system so the more enemies you blast in quick succession the higher your score will be. At the conclusion of each round you can check the Steam leaderboards to see how you measure up against the competition. Your mini map is essential as it shows the positions of your enemies as well as which kittens are being abducted. Like Defender, the screen wraps around the edges so if you keep going in one direction you will eventually reappear on the other side of the map.

When playing the Easy or Normal modes you can shoot certain enemies to reveal power-ups. The power-ups that appear depend on the depth at which the ship was destroyed and range from backward, upward and sideways firing bullets to mini-submarines that flank you for added firepower. Power-ups only work for a limited time before you revert back to your puny main weapon which can be a bit frustrating but definitely adds to the challenge. Arcade mode is basically the survival mode where you have one life to see how far you can get. In this mode certain enemies drop gems instead of power-ups which you can then use to upgrade your firepower Gradius style. There is also a infinite mode where you simply see how many waves you can complete on a milk free level that never ends.

The visuals in Aqua Kitty are very easy on the eyes with some beautiful hand drawn pixel art. The graphics might look fairly simple at first glance but upon closer inspection you will notice tons of little details. The way light from the surface shines through the water and the little cats chilling on the boat above all the action looks awesome. There is also some nice enemy variation as well with new creatures constantly introduced. The resolution is capped at 720p but even when playing on a full HD monitor the 2D art looked great.

The audio is excellent as well with some nice chiptunes that immediately evoke memories of the C64 and Amiga era. The soundtrack is by Electric Cafe and can be purchased separately from iTunes, Amazon and Bandcamp. Sound effects are also nicely done with the kittens meowing in distress when abducted or rescued. As this is an arcade style shooter playing the game with a controller comes highly recommended, especially if you want to try out the local co-op mode. The controls are responsive and having to press a button to change direction ensures that you can aim with more precision. While the game was originally created for the PSP Vita and Xbox 360, the Steam release features new weapons, the aforementioned Arcade mode as well as achievements and trading cards.

Aqua Kitten – Milk Mine Defender is a charming title and it’s hard to believe that apart from the music the game was created by only two people. I would have liked to see a few more levels and maybe some more power-ups but considering the low price I can hardly complain. If you are looking for some good retro style arcade action with awesome pixel art visuals and a rocking chiptune soundtrack then get your hands on Aqua Kitten immediately.

System Requirements

  • OS: Windows XP / Vista / 7 / 8
  • Processor: 1.2Ghz Processor
  • Memory: 1 GB RAM
  • Graphics: DirectX 9.0c-compatible graphics card with 128 MB VRAM
  • DirectX: Version 9.0c
  • Hard Drive: 140 MB available space
  • Sound Card: DirectX 9.0c
  • Additional Notes: Controls: Joypads or Keyboard. Xbox 360 controller recommended.
  • OS: Windows XP / Vista / 7 / 8
  • Processor: 1.2Ghz Processor
  • Memory: 1 GB RAM
  • Graphics: DirectX 9.0c-compatible graphics card with 128 MB VRAM
  • DirectX: Version 9.0c
  • Hard Drive: 140 MB available space
  • Sound Card: DirectX 9.0c
  • Additional Notes: Controls: Joypads or Keyboard. Xbox 360 controller recommended.

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