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Dynacat Review

Dynacat Review

It’s pretty much an established fact now that the 2D Sonic the Hedgehog games are the most enjoyable for the majority. Some of the 3D titles, such as Sonic Adventure or Sonic Colors, have been very well received. Then there is Sonic 3D, which came out in 1996 on the Mega Drive. At the time, Sonic’s first foray into the third dimension was quite well regarded, but over time, it’s not considered as having aged well. Considering that the title came out in the same year as Super Mario 64 did in North America and Japan, the 16-bit contender had no chance of making the same level of impact, and as such, it never gained the legacy that Nintendo’s mascot’s 3D debut did. As a result, it’s rarely referenced or revisited by the Sega of today. Developer Replayne clearly felt that this needed redress, as the influence on Dynacat is quite noticeable.

Whilst the look and feel of Dynacat are quite similar to the aforementioned Sonic title, the gameplay is much more like a traditional 3D platformer. You control the titular Dynacat, who must save the world from the dreaded Spherons, who serve as the game’s bosses. This is done by running through two acts to reach a third, which contains the boss. It sounds simple, but actually, it can be frequently tricky due to the controls working against you. There are a number of areas that require a good turn of speed, and without any equivalent of a spin dash, the only way to acquire that is to run for a few seconds without interruption from a piece of scenery or an enemy. This is easier said than done when you can only see so much terrain in front of you, making some areas a bit more of a memory test than a reflex one.


Another area I found the controls to be a bit unusual is in loops. Whereas in the Sonic series, these common set pieces are usually a case of running in and holding down the direction you started in, Dynacat prefers you to directly control the direction in a loop. This is a tricky manoeuvre to pull off, and it meant I found Dynacat spiralling off in all sorts of directions regularly. Further adding to my frustration was that the balls you collect instead of rings don’t function like rings in serving as health, but in fact, they’re just for points. Your health bar is fixed and I couldn’t see any way of replenishing it. One of the reasons that I’ve always been able to forgive the Sonic series’ habit of making you hit enemies that appear on screen too quickly to respond to was the fact that the ring collection system meant that it wasn’t a huge problem if you do. In Dynacat, the lack of that mechanic means that the speedy sections are more risk than reward, and this lack of balance makes it frustrating. 

Unlike most platformers, you don’t kill enemies by jumping on them but instead by means of a “lock-on” type system. Jump near one and you get the option to pounce. Unless, that is, the enemy is a projectile-firing variant. These have to be killed by using the lock-on to grab their projectile and firing it back at it. It’s all a bit disjointed and jarring for a game that’s largely about running around fast.


Once you get used to the controls and unusual foibles, Dynacat isn’t a bad game. It’s very well drawn, the music is lovely (albeit a little derivative of its inspiration), and the frame rate is as stable as you would hope for a game that needs quick responses. It’s a shame, then, that it’s so impenetrable as a result of some of its flaws. For me, it’s something of an unpolished gem. Perhaps if it sells well enough to get a sequel, we’ll see something that’s less difficult to get into.

At the moment, if I were to sum up Dynacat in a word, that word would be “clunky”. With a bit more polish, this would be a strong recommendation, but when you have to fight the controls to wrestle fun out of a game, it’s hard to suggest it as a must-buy. 


5.00/10 5

Dynacat (Reviewed on Windows)

The game is average, with an even mix of positives and negatives.

Dynacat would be much more enjoyable if the mechanics and controls were less fumbled. It’s a charming platformer, but it’s too awkward to be as much fun as it ought to be.

This game was supplied by the publisher or relevant PR company for the purposes of review

Gary "Dombalurina" Sheppard

Staff Writer

Gary maintains his belief that the Amstrad CPC is the greatest system ever and patiently awaits the sequel to "Rockstar ate my Hamster"

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