Super Phantom Cat 2
Hidden worlds have long been a staple of a compelling fantasy story. From books, such as The Chronicles of Narnia, to shows like Rick & Morty, to games like Tomb Raider, humans have a longstanding history of imagining what it would be like to exist in another world whose portal is only a few moments away from our discovery. The beauty of new places lies within their revelation. They are waiting for us to seek them out, something so many of us miss out on because we don’t stop to look. But there’s one story that focuses on these hidden worlds and teaches us how to get to them, a mobile game from Veewo Games called Super Phantom Cat 2.
The story follows a young cat named Ari, who journeys throughout the side-scroller to save his younger sister Ina. The tale begins when the two cat children are playing together and discover a new, unique world called Mystic Forest. They travel there together out of feline curiosity and a great sense of adventure. Soon after their arrival, robots come to steal Ina away in a UFO-like spaceship for an unknown reason.
A devilishly handsome black cat in a red-eyed mask appears, rainbow glitter emanating off of him in a brilliant aura. Phantom Cat offers to assist Ari and teach him all the ways of this magical microcosm he’s found himself in. Thus, Ari begins his journey to distant places, like Lost Garden, Glacial Valley, and other worlds, where the player will guide him towards finding his sister Ina. First, he gets help from Phantom Cat and his various superpowers. Sometimes, Phantom Cat can phase through walls; other times, he can smash through floors. Often he simply walks into something that nets a treasure chest or uncovers a new underground world.
Throughout the story, as Ari enters each new world, the Phantom Cat grants him one superpower for that place, and only one. Ari must jump from platform to platform with great delicacy and precision, and search his environment for the right tools needed to complete each phase and pass through a portal to the next world. After one phase is completed with a certain power, the power disappears, and a new power is introduced. Within each new world, there are hidden pockets of treasure or information that assist Ari on his journey.
When a player engages with Super Phantom Cat 2, they’re not just playing a side-scrolling platformer. They must look for a theme that relates to the powers Phantom Cat granted Ari, something a little strange in the surrounding environment. This is the engaging part of the story. Going back to play through an already beaten level of the game is not unpleasant or strenuous; there are no time constraints for Ari to find Ina. The game emphasizes observation and perseverance in each level. Instructions appear at seemingly random moments, hinting at undiscovered treasures and worlds within worlds. This gives the player a chance to replay each level infinitely, trying to be more observant than they were the first time.
The enchanting story of Ari and his exploration is driven by sibling instinct to protect and by that curiosity cats are so well known for. This prompted me to be more curious as I played the game and more observant as I went from phase to phase, world to world, with Ari and Phantom Cat. Most video games reward a healthy curiosity; there are hidden treasures, Easter eggs, and side quests that await the player at almost every turn. What makes Super Phantom Cat 2 unique is the way in which it encourages the discovery of hidden worlds. There are tiny hints on the map that tell you where to look or which wall to walk into, but the game does not reveal everything.
This game is well designed and well made, but it goes beyond that and creates an experience based on thorough consideration of the environment around you. The way the beautifully colored backgrounds in Super Phantom Cat 2 are presented to the player could be taken at face value. It is a pretty game, full of iridescent blues, greens, and browns; there is a comforting, earthy feel to the palette. It initially seems like a simple handheld, mobile platformer with beautiful artwork and a very cute cast of characters you can play as, from Ari and his sister Ina (unlocked at a certain level) to Phantom Cat himself, or even a trio of brothers and a funny band with a tiny yellow bird for a drummer. All of these elements come together to introduce the theme of the game: patience.
I am not a patient person. Even when I’m playing some of my favorite games, like the new Tomb Raider series or Horizon Zero Dawn, I don’t always have the patience to sit in the bushes and stalk my prey. Yet, there is something about Super Phantom Cat 2 that keeps me coming back, that concentration and focus required to discover or re-examine the hidden worlds around Ari and unlock new levels, challenges, and characters in the game.
This game encourages patience, observation, and focus in a way that most iOS games do not. Games like Jetpack Joyride or Clash of Clans do require a measure of strategy, but they don’t necessarily require you to quietly watch a creature pass by five or six times before you can jump and avoid their gaze at the same time (or lose the level). Of course, I don’t always do that, and I ended up repeating many levels in Super Phantom Cat 2. It was, however, not unpleasant in the least.
Super Phantom Cat 2 reminds me of classic Nintendo platformers I never had the patience for as a child. It encourages me to be a better person in some ways, by making me think more about the hidden worlds around me in real life. To focus more and meditate more before I make my next jump in life. That meditation makes interacting with the game a meaningful reminder of how I can adjust my own behavior and ideas. It teaches me to patiently wait out stressful situations and make the right move, whether they are in an iOS game or in the world around me.