Petoons Studio, the Barcelona-based developer of Curse of the Rats, aims to make family-friendly products to be enjoyed together, including toys, animation, and video games. Its latest Metroidvainia offering certainly fits that bill, with its nostalgic animation style, simple progression, and relatively easy combat. The simplicity and ease work in its favor, making Curse of the Sea Rats accessible to a wide range of players, yet not so trivial as to make it unchallenging. Unfortunately, several bugs and some odd choices make it somewhat cumbersome, especially toward the end.
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In this ‘ratroidvania,’ as Petoons calls it, a gang of anthropomorphized rodents must retrieve a kidnaped child, reverse a curse, and throw down with a rogue’s gallery of similarly animalized villains. Supporting up to four player co-op, each rat plays differently and unlocks perks through their own elementary skill tree. As players progress and defeat bosses, they’ll be rewarded with new traversal skills like double jump and dash.
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The hand-drawn 2D characters, superimposed on a 3D background, are gorgeous and evocative, lending the game a sense of whimsy and bringing the characters to life. In an interview with Curse of the Sea Rats devs discussing the animation, co-founder Dani Del Amor cited inspirations from classic Disney movies like The Great Mouse Detective. Suffice it to say that the animators absolutely hit the nail on the head here, evoking a style largely absent in modern media, at least so far as major Disney features go. Each rat, whether player or NPC, is full of character.
The four playable rodents offer just enough variety to keep things interesting, but remain simple and accessible. Each has a basic melee attack with slight differences in range. For example, Bussa, the tanky bruiser, relies on his fists, while swift Akane…