Aqua Kitty: Milk Mine Defender DX – Review (PS Vita / PS4)

Those milk mining kitties are back again, and they’ve come full circle. Having released on pretty much every platform there is, they’ve touched base and landed back on PS Vita (and PS4). Aqua Kitty: Milk Mine Defender DX takes the original game and upgrades it slightly, exclusively for Playstation platforms. We were quite fond of it when it landed on PC, so is it still full of creamy goodness?
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If you have never played the original you might be wondering why cats are suddenly mining for milk, well there’s a good reason. A sudden shortage of the white stuff has forced them to find an alternative source, and wouldn’t you know it, there’s tonnes of it under the sea. So, now the diminutive kitties are donning their diving gear and setting up mining rigs to extract that moo juice! Their mission isn’t without peril though, and they’ll come under attack from a variety of different robotic fish who will attempt to kidnap them and destroy your mining gear. So it’s up to you and your gun-toting submarine to keep them safe.

Barring a few minor upgrades, Aqua Kitty: Milk Mine Defender DX is pretty much the same game as before. You’ll still be fracking cream from under the surface, and destroying tonnes of robo fish as you do so, over 25 different levels. There’s also Endless Espresso mode, which serves up endless waves of enemies for you to destroy, if high score chasing is your thing, The biggest upgrade comes in the form of Arcade Mode which has you play through the game with only one life, but you’ll also have a bunch of persistent upgrades at your disposal to aid you in your quest. Things are tricky down there, so you’re gonna need them! Other new additions include a slight interface upgrade and coop mode for PS4 players.

There’s a nice difficulty curve to the action, with enemy density, variety and the number of bullets increasing slowly, from stage to stage. Soon enough Aqua Kitty becomes a full-blown bullet-hell shooter and you’ll be dodging a hail of bullets as you rescue your feline friends. You could liken the game to a mix of Defender and Gradius, but it also feels a bit like a game of tug-of-war, too. You’ll have to carefully divide your attention between killing enemies, rescuing your kidnapped buddies, dodging endless bullets, and killing bosses as and when they appear. If it all sounds a little hectic, that’s because it is. Thankfully, the game controls beautifully, with you using the shoulder buttons to change direction, so things are responsive and you’ll always feel in control.
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Everything looks and sounds as good as before, perhaps even better on the PS4 which renders everything internally at glorious 4K resolution! The pixelated landscapes positively pop with vibrant blues, oranges, reds and pinks, and although there isn’t much variation between each level,what little differences there is provides a change of scene and a sense of progression. The various robo-fish are well detailed, each with a personality and animation set of their own, with enough variety between them to keep you on your toes. DX still rocks the same soundtrack as before but that’s no bad thing, as it’s enjoyable enough to keep your head nodding and your heart pumping.

Here’s a thought though: what if the kitties are the bad guys and the fish are just trying to protect their ecosystem? After all, that underwater hydraulic fracking can’t be good for their homes, can it? It’s time to investigate Tikipod’s links to the big energy companies (!).

It’s difficult to make a great game even better, but Tikipod has managed to do so. While Aqua Kitty’s upgrades are slight they are certainly very welcome. First timers will find a tricky sidescrolling shooter that is as challenging as it is rewarding, but for people who’ve already played the game it is a hard sell. If you’re in the market for milk mining, sea-faring kittens – and let’s face it, who isn’t? – Aqua Kitty: Milk Mine Defender DX is the game for you.