A fan favorite from the underwhelming Xbox 360 indie program, Aqua Kitty is now available on the Xbox One with extra content and polish. Known as Aqua Kitty: UDX, this definitive version puts you back in the underwater submarine as you destroy robotic sea creatures and protect fellow feline miners as the search for natural forming milk continues. Despite the unique format, Aqua Kitty: UDX is a shmup game at the core, with later levels packed with bullets and bad guys. But different doesn’t always equal good, so let’s dive deeper and see if Aqua Kitty: UDX is the cat’s meow.
In the Aqua Kitty: UDX universe, this is indeed a dire time for cats. The milk above ground has completely run out, leading felines to search for a new source. Deep under the ocean, vast amounts of naturally forming full fat milk were discovered and needed to be harvested. While the story is silly, I like the overall theme. Cats must brave what they hate the most, being wet, to get what they love the most, milk. Standing in their way are many robotic sea enemies and challenging bosses that want nothing more than to destroy your submarine and kidnap your feline miner friends.
Aqua Kitty: UDX has three different modes: classic, arcade and dreadnaught that can be played in solo or 2 player co-op. Classic mode features 25 levels that challenge you to defeat all enemies while protecting the milk miners. The game map stretches quite far along a looping horizontal plane. Mining stations are along the ocean floor and the player must move from east to west protecting miners until all enemies are destroyed. Your submarine has a normal forward firing gun and a turbo gun that earns ammo when you kill enemies. Special enemies will drop temporary power-ups when killed such as: backwards shooting, vertical shooting, bomb clusters, extra kitty comrades and life hearts. Every so-often there is also a boss character that you must defeat while also avoiding damage from regular enemies. The action is frantic and sometimes frustrating, but so addictive that I found myself always coming back for more.
Arcade mode is the same as classic mode except the player picks up gems to purchase upgrades for your submarine and once you die the entire game restarts. This mode is interesting because its easier than classic mode but you have to be very careful. Dreadnaught mode is new to the UDX version and it requires the players to destroy parts of the dreadnaught body before destroying the core. This mode is quite challenging since in addition to regular enemies there are bombs that rain down occasionally and turrets mounted on the dreadnaught itself. No matter what the mode was, I continued to enjoy Aqua Kitty: UDX in both success and failure. Finally, there is a level called Infinite Expresso which is basically a never-ending horde mode. I liked how if I got stuck on a level in normal, I could knock the difficulty down to easy, beat it and then resume playing the next levels on normal.
The game has a 2d graphical style that you might have found 25 years ago on the Super Nintendo or Sega Genesis. Graphically the game satisfies, although I would have preferred some more variety in the level backgrounds. The music is where Aqua Kitty: UDX really shines, every tune is catchy and upbeat that it helped soften the blow of dying, as I got to listen to the music again from the top. There are practically no load times which kept me always in the action. Controls are also simple and intuitive with the bumpers used for changing direction and two firing buttons.
With multiple gameplay modes, difficulty settings, co-op and leaderboards, there is a lot of content in Aqua Kitty UDX. This is the type of game that screenshots and videos don’t do justice, you need to get your hands on it to really appreciate how fun it is. Fans of shmups will enjoy the challenging yet rewarding gameplay. Priced at $8.99 USD you are getting tremendous value and a lot of fanatical feline fun.