Catsby is a 2D black and white pixel platformer, where you are a man that has been turned into a cat while working to make someone happy, despite this, you decide to continue to finish your journey.
The game is a 2D adventure platformer that consists of going from screen to screen, advancing or obtaining new items/weapons to continue your journey. The game uses a mix of dynamic camera and screen transitions, similar to the way MegaMan X's camera worked. I personally like this and feel it makes the game seem expansive and alive. The game consists of 129 screens, which are divided into 3 themes: Desert, Castle, and Haunted House themes. All of this feels cut up, instead of like a dynamic world. This still works out though, as instead of becoming monotonous, the game consists of one screen challenges that need to be overcome, in order to beat the game.
The gameplay itself is fun, the platforming and combat feel tight. The variety of weapons and abilities and even the gameplay itself are drip-fed to the player at such a rate, that the game always feels fresh and interesting.
That being said, there is a lot of backtracking in this game. Catsby keeps its checkpoints infrequent, and just far enough apart to become a bit frustrating. Dying is easy, especially in the games earlier water levels, and I found myself having to play through the same stretch of the game over and over again. The game also encourages you to save as soon as you get a new ability, but this led to more backtracking just to get to the checkpoint.
The controls for this game are tight, with responsive jumping and good combat - even with the boxing glove you get to start. My only issue is with the control to slide down a wall. The game informs you that pressing down and jumping will cause you to slide down walls, but I can not for the life of me achieve that on water or land.
The art itself is very nice, making use of a minimal color palette ranging from black to a light tan color. The pixel art itself looks very high quality such as something out of the SNES era of platformers. the color style is nice and looks and feels alive despite the lack of variation. In my opinion, the lack of color actually makes the art look better, rather than feel like something was taken away from the game. The music and sound effects compliment this as well with lively chiptune pieces and classic arcade sounding effects following you throughout your journey.
Overall, this game is definitely above your average indie retro platformer. It contains a few hours of fun gameplay, a fun story that isn't front and center, and quality art with a few touchups to checkpoint placement and a few control tweaks, this would have been an outstanding game, but with those drawbacks in mind, Catsby earns a 6.5 out of 10 with a label of "above average".