As you might have noticed, I love puzzle games. I've loved them ever since they were just pen and paper games. Nowadays, I'm thankful for my iPhone because it is my best portable gaming device. Carrying the iPhone with me all the time has allowed me to spend a few minutes during lunch time playing quick puzzles.
Say hello to Burger Cat
Burger Cat is a game developed by Ravenous Games, the independent game development studio behind the successful League of Evil platformer game franchise. The game features a chef cat who had an accident while trying to grill some cheeseburgers. Because the cat added some nitroglycerin, the burgers (and possibly the entire grilling place) went kaboom. You are now assigned to help the cat to retrieve those burgers while navigating through the terrain and obstacles designed for each level.
The rule is simple: the cat can only walk in one direction (i.e. to the right) until he hits a stack of two blocks (creating a wall) that will cause him to turn around and walk in the opposite direction. If the cat hits a single block, he will try to climb that block to continue walking in the current direction. Don't let the cat fall into the cliff or hit the rotating gears as you guide him to his burger.
The current version of Burger Cat has 85 levels that are divided into two worlds. I suggest you to play the first 60 levels in the first world before even trying the second world. Each time you finish a level, the game will unlock the next level for you.
What I like from the level design
As with many level-based games, the success of Burger Cat lies in the way the developer designs the complexity of each level. Having played more than 40 levels, I think the learning curves are well designed for players to move from one level to the next. New items are introduced at proper timing to prevent the players from getting bored with the current challenge.
I have encountered at least seven different items, from magic wand, pick axe, trampoline, mouse decoy, dog bone, dynamite, to umbrella. The magic wand, pick axe and dynamite allow you to alter the terrain, making it possible for the cat to navigate his way to reach the burger. The trampoline and mouse decoy allow you to change the cat's movements, i.e. either to jump or to turn around in the opposite direction without having to hit a wall. Finally, the dog bone and umbrella are there to help you overcome the obstacles, such as dogs and acid drops.
The game is designed to be played with the standard play/pause button. Normally you would try to design your solution before you press the play button, but there are cases where you need to reach a certain point in the game before you press the pause button to put your just-in-time solution to solve the rest of the puzzle.
I also like the way Burger Cat is designed not to include the standard three-stars achivements as you would normally see in other puzzle games. This, I believe, has successfully made the game much simpler and focused only to the challenges within each level. The latest update to the game has also added an undo button which is crucial when you try to solve the puzzle.
Burger Cat is an excellent puzzle game with well designed levels, but without the unnecessary complexity. I love puzzles, but I really appreciate puzzles that are designed to be very simple -- especially ones with simple rules -- yet are difficult enough to solve. Being a Universal app really helps Burger Cat to be enjoyed both by me and my 3-year old son.