CATch The Stars
Developer: Pinel Games | Publisher: Pinel Games | Release Date: 2020 | Genre: Casual / Puzzle / Indie | Website: N/A | Purchase: Steam
Even if you are not an astrophile, there’s something inherently soothing about gazing up at the vastness of the night sky. CATch the Stars is a title that seeks to capture the relaxing atmosphere of stargazing in a minimalist puzzle game suitable for players of all ages and skill levels. However, while it’s a game about stars there’s no need to understand constellations or astronomy to enjoy what it has to offer.
CATch the Stars presents players with 50 unique levels where the goal is to move each of the stars to their correct position in the constellation. Each star can only travel along a linear path and can be set in motion by simply clicking on it. The catch is that stars cannot touch each other, so players must pay attention to their paths. If a star reaches its destination successfully its path will disappear, but its position could still potentially hamper another star from doing the same. This means players must pay close attention to the order in which they move the stars.
Unlike many other puzzle titles, CATch the Stars doesn’t bother with a score or timer. Instead, it lets players relax and take their time without putting any pressure on them. However, if any of the stars ever accidentally touches the level resets and must be attempted from scratch. Thankfully, levels are short enough that this never feels frustrating, and even the lack of an undo button doesn’t feel unfair.
CATch the Stars eases players into the puzzles, but it does have a few new mechanics that are gradually introduced. The first is stopping points, which halt stars at designated spots before they reach their final destination. Then there’s the mirror mechanic, which sees stars of the same color moving simultaneously when clicked. Finally, there’s the “open and close” mechanic, where players must pay attention to the status of certain gates along the stars’ paths. These alternate between open and closed each time a star is moved, so the order in which players click is even more important. These mechanics keep things interesting, but the difficulty of the game remains relatively low throughout and we were able to complete it in one session.
Visually CATch the Stars favors stylish 2D graphics with beautiful silhouette backgrounds. The game is framed as an outing that players take along with their cat and this is reflected in the backgrounds. These include a cozy camp, beach, desert, and finally ski station each with simple silhouette animations such as a campfire, swaying trees, or the cat swishing its tail. The puzzle visuals are just as simple and consist entirely of stars and lines. Once all the stars have been successfully moved to their correct positions and all the lines cleared players are treated to the design and name of the constellation. Overall, the interface is uncluttered but the style of the game also means that it won’t look out of place on a mobile device.
To accompany the soothing gameplay CATch the Stars also features a relaxing piano soundtrack. While there’s not a wide variety of tracks the looping music is a perfect match for the game. We would have liked a unique track for each of the level sets, but considering the budget price of the game it is hard to fault what is on offer. The game is played with a mouse and the only actions players have to perform is to click on the stars in the correct order. Only one star can be clicked on at a time, so players never have to worry about timing things correctly.
Overall, CATch the Stars is a charming puzzle game that is certainly worth a playthrough. There’s not much replay value here, but the game does offer a level-select feature for players who want to go back for more. While it won’t tax veteran puzzle fans too much, CATch the Stars is perfect for more casual players or to introduce younger players to the genre.
- OS: Windows 7/8/10
- Processor: 2 Ghz Dual Core
- Memory: 2 GB RAM
- Graphics: Graphics card supporting DirectX 9.0c
- Storage: 512 MB available space
- Sound Card: Any