“Bad Rats: the Rats’ Revenge” is a physics-based puzzle game by indie developer Invent4. Before I describe the game, a quick word of warning. It contains a lot of cartoon violence (think “Itchy & Scratchy” from the Simpsons), and it most certainly pushes the political correctness envelope!
That said, if you still want to find out about the game, then read on…
The premise is that there is a cat somewhere in the level, trapped in or near some kind of hazard (such as a microwave or a chainsaw). The objective is to activate the hazard, killing the cat in some violent fashion. The hazard can only be activated by a specific ball which has to be pushed, rolled, kicked, launched, or otherwise moved through the level to hit a switch or knock something over. Gameplay is side-on 2d.
The way you achieve this is by placing various objects and rats in the level. Each rat has a specific talent, such as one who hits the ball with a baseball bat, or another who gets fired out of a cannon to launch the ball somewhere. Ready for the politically incorrect one? One of the frequently-used rats is a suicide bomber — when the ball comes near him, he detonates and launches the ball into the air.
The first and most important point is that the violence and style of this game will certainly not suit everyone. Many people will be upset and offended at it, especially if they own a cat! Naturally I don’t condone animal cruelty, but I view this as just being a silly game. Playing and enjoying it does not require a desire to kill real cats!
The graphics are 3d, and fairly basic. This is particularly noticeable in the animations, which are quite wooden. Remember that this is an indie game though, and in fact the game style benefits from slightly surreal graphics. The hyper-realism of AAA graphics would probably make it less fun.
There is a good and, at times, quite playful musical accompaniment. I definitely started to notice the soundtrack repeating after a short while, but it’s not unpleasant. Sound effects are reasonably good too, with some subtle and entertaining voice effects from the rats.
I would say that the biggest failing of the game is in the interface. When you are placing objects and rats in the level it becomes very difficult to get rotation and position accurate. Some objects (especially the plank of wood) will try to automatically rotate to fit, but it goes horribly wrong quite often, making it frustrating. It’s not impossible though… just takes some trial-and-error.
The only other significant complaint I would make is the physics. For the most part, the physics work well. However, they are inconsistent. This may be a deliberate aspect of the game mechanic, but it’s frustrating when the exact same layout of objects and rats in a level gives different results each time you run it.
Lastly, the level design is creative and varied. There are 44 levels providing some interesting challenges along the way. None of them are hugely demanding intellectually, but fun anyway.
I enjoyed this game very much. It appeals to my sense of randomness and to my problem-solving nature. It could probably benefit from some improved graphics, but overall it is quite satisfying to play. Reasonably well polished, providing a good few hours of fun.
It also has Steam achievements which you can unlock. Once again, they aren’t too hard, but the challenge is enjoyable.