Some games are challenging by design like the Mega Man series. Some games are challenging because of poor control or camera like Superman for the N64. And then there are games that are challenging for another reason, because their creators are pure evil. Cat Mario is one such example of a game designed to induce rage quits.
Why put yourself through a game like Cat Mario? Well first off, it is free and we all know how gamers can’t back away from freebies. But it is the nagging challenge dangled in front of the player’s face. The carrot of beating a game harder than Super Mario Bros. which they’ve all beaten before and doing so in a manner most of our friends couldn’t is a premise too hard to skip over, at least on the surface. And then the game actually starts.
At first, things in Cat Mario seem like a standard Mario game, with the levels even based off 1-1 of the original Super Mario Bros. But quickly, players find out this isn’t the case. With this being the only spoiler in this write up, when a player tries to jump into the first brick, they find it actually jumps out of the player’s way. From there, everything else is fair game. Items change effects, invisible bricks pop up at the worst times, bricks disappear, enemies that don’t jump do, and various other things you’d never expect from a Mario game happen.
Luckily, Cat Mario doesn’t stick to the three life format of the original Super Mario Bros. and implements a checkpoint system as well. I say “luckily” very loosely though as all it does is dangle yet another batch of carrots for the player. Instead of starting the player over when they hit 0 lives, the game instead just keeps subtracting them to give them a running tally of just how many times they’ve died thus far. Things tend to get a little disheartening after seeing your life score is at -167. And the checkpoints are just as bad, once you get past a really hard part of the level (i.e. basically every part of the level), you’re able to see a new checkpoint in the distance. And then it takes another 20 minutes before you’re able to get there and as soon as you do, a new level of hell is unleashed upon your PC.
So why put yourself through this? Part is going to be curiosity. Things can’t really be as hard as they say it is, right? Wrong. It is hard. It is frustrating. But it is beatable if you have the patience for it. And that’s the other reason you’ll play it. Because gamers love bragging rights. That’s why Acheivement Points and Trophy Levels exist, so gamers can show off what they’ve done. And even though this is a PC flash game, no one is going to try and call the bluff of someone who actually beat Cat Mario. Every gamer who thinks they are worth their own hype wants to be able to say they did it.
You can find Cat Mario here to play yourself but be warned, it can be incredibly frustrating. Maybe getting a spare mouse and keyboard you don’t really like could be a good idea too.