ReviewsReview: MouseBot: Escape from CatLab

Review: MouseBot: Escape from CatLab

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History is littered with tales of good vs evil and classic rivalries. These stories define us and the brutal and sometimes silly outcomes stick in our minds. We all remember The North vs The South, Coke vs Pepsi, Burger King vs McDonald’s and so on. MouseBot: Escape from CatLab tells a story of the age-old rivalry between cat and mouse.

Developed and published by Vector Unit, this is a fast-paced racing puzzle game with a hint of humour. The gameplay revolves around a robotic mouse who must avoid traps while collecting lumps of cheese. It’s all very clichéd, but it’s oddly addictive. With many objectives to focus on and challenging time trials to complete, you’ll be kept busy for hours.

MouseBot: Escape from CatLab is simple, hectic, and moreish.

MouseBot: Escape from CatLab is a basic arcade puzzle game. Spanning eighty-eight levels, you’ll focus on the same goals during each stage. You’re asked to collect lumps of cheese, a heart icon, stay alive, and finish under the set time. Trying to achieve each of these goals in one run-through is impossible and this forces you to play it repeatedly.

You’ll be driven insane by the fine details and small movements you must use to be successful. You must then consider the traps that lay in wait for you during each stage. As you progress through the levels, the obstacles become more elaborate. The race from A to B becomes hectic and increasingly dangerous. You’ll avoid the classic baited traps, rollers, circular saws, mines, and more. The traps quickly combine to make it a headache to traverse each stage, let alone trying to complete each objective.

Racing through nuclear waste is risky.

Crazy cats and drip-fed mechanics.

MouseBot: Escape from CatLab doesn’t contain a complex plot, and this isn’t a bad thing. I’d have hated to be focusing on an intricate storyline while avoiding near-certain death. You’ll enjoy what little story there is as you slowly unravel the evil cat’s plans. The robotic mouse is a thorn in the cat kingpins side and he cares not what method he uses to stop you.

It’s not all doom and gloom for the mouse protagonist, however. Anything the cats can do, the mouse can do better! As new obstacles are introduced, additional mechanics appear. The robotic rodent quickly becomes a leaping, strafing, and dodging beast. Combining the new elements was a challenge, but it was a joy to experiment even when you die repeatedly.

The challenge in this title doesn’t come from complex mechanics or an in-depth overarching story. No, it’s the constant demand for perfection and memory recall that’ll test you throughout.

Leap the lasers.

MouseBot: Escape from CatLab looks great and has a fantastic polished finish.

When I first installed this I didn’t have high expectations. I thought it would be another top-down title with basic and rough imagery. I couldn’t have been more wrong! The wonderful 3D world and excellent character model were great to look at. The traps move smoothly and everything flows as you’d expect. With a fantastically polished finish, every element pops. With vivid colours, sharp lines, and contrasting tones, this is a treat for the eyes.

The stage design was great, but each world was sadly repetitive. Luckily, however, the developers created some amusing cutscenes that broke up the action. It was a pleasant break from the hectic pace, and each one made me chuckle. 

The audio was a bit more run of the mill and this disappointed me. A synthesised soundtrack wasn’t particularly special, and the sound effects were lacking. In a world full of danger everything felt flat and I wanted more oomph. The circular saw blades were particularly poor and reminded me of a cheap hair dryer being used. The audio isn’t terrible and won’t put you off, I just expected much more.

Customisation time.

Practice makes perfect. 

When speed and precision are two key concepts, you know it’s going to be difficult to master. This is all about the fine details and mistakes matter. The adage: Practice makes perfect is relevant and you’ll get sucked into this crazy perfectionists world. This was helped by the excellent explanations when new mechanics were added, ensuring that understanding the basics wasn’t an issue. Using them correctly, however, is no mean feat. 

The addictive nature of the gameplay caught me by surprise! I expected a fun little game, but the challenges, hidden Easter eggs and mountains of cheese to collect made me come back for more. Combined with the tough achievement list, arcade mode upon completion, and cosmetic options, MouseBot: Escape from CatLab contains plenty of replay value. 

MouseBot: Escape from CatLab is simple, repetitive, but worthy of your time. 

Vector Unit was risking their game becoming tiresome when they repeatedly used the same objectives. Fortunately, I never tired of attempting each goal. The addition of new traps and the desire to speedrun each level overcame this obstacle. I enjoyed my time with it and recommend you to buy it here! Can you rekindle this age-old rivalry and uncover the evil cat’s plans?

Here is a video review for the above article with in game footage, I hope you enjoy!

SUMMARY

MouseBot: Escape from CatLab is a fast-paced puzzle speedrun game. With accuracy and quick reactions at its core, perfection and victory will take a lot of practice. Its addictive gameplay and challenging objectives demand you keep going.

+ Nicely polished graphics.
+ Lots of new mechanics to counter the traps.
+ Addictive gameplay.
+ Plenty of replay value.
+ You can customise your mouse.
- The audio felt flat.
- Each world has a sense of deja vu.

(Reviewed on the Xbox Series X. Also available PC, Nintendo Switch and PlayStation.)
Daniel Waite
My gaming career started on an Amiga and spans many consoles! Currently, I game using an MSI laptop and Xbox Series X. A fan of every genre, I love to give anything a go. Former editor and reviewer for www.bonusstage.co.uk, I'm loving my new home here at Movies Games and Tech. I can be contacted for gaming reviews on the following email: [email protected]

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