Fort Meow Review (iOS)

What happens when you combine reverse Angry Birds with the Internet’s favourite animal? You get something like Fort Meow, a cute platform puzzler with a slightly random element.
It’s remarkably hard to get anything practical done with a cat on your lap. Even tasks that should be simple — like, say, writing this review — with a lap-bound feline is tricky. They purr, they knead, they shuffle around in place, and, of course, they’re very cute indeed.
Without spoiling the plot (and there is one) that’s the central premise behind Upper Class Walrus’ Fort Meow, a physics based platform puzzler developed here in Australia. I’ve reviewed the iOS version, but it’s also available for PC via Steam.

Fort Meow’s story revolves around Nia, a young girl intent on reading her grandfather’s journal, as it may contain clues as to where her grandmother has vanished to. There’s just one problem. Every time she tries to read a new chapter, waves of cats jump into her attic room to distract her. If a cat lands on her lap, she can’t concentrate on the story at hand.
The solution, quite obviously, is to build a pillow fort to protect her from her furry assailants. I’m sure you’d do the same. Nia starts out with just a few objects to use to build her fort, but as the game progresses, you get to explore more of the house she’s in to uncover new objects, each of which has its own feline resistance, as well as a few spot effects that change the behaviour of cats. So, for example while the fat cat can barrel through most obstacles like they’re not even there, it bounces directly off beanbags.


Fort Meow plays out like Angry Birds in reverse, because instead of knocking structures down, you’re tasked with protecting Nia while she tries to read. It’s fun, and the slightly silly physics do allow you to build some quite remarkable structures. There’s even fun in seeing your contraptions collapse before the cats come in if you shuffle a broom a little too far to one side, or try to balance a sofa chair on top of a TV.
Exploring the rest of the house involves some very light puzzles, and is mostly there to give you new fort items.
Exploring the rest of the house involves some very light puzzles, and is mostly there to give you new fort items.

That being said, there are a few issues. The light floaty nature of the physics means that it’s sometimes too easy to collapse your fort, which means that careful designs can come undone with just a single cat strike. You’re told the numbers of cats that will come from each side, but not the order, which means that the gameplay evolves as something of a matter of trial and error, which can be mildly frustrating. The edge between victory and defeat can be as wide as the edge of a single mattress layer early on, but this isn’t always obvious, and often appears to be a little random. There’s nothing wrong with trial and error gameplay, but it’s nice to reward the player every once in a while for clever or out of the box thinking, and that’s not always present in Fort Meow.
Fort Meow is fun if you like physics puzzles. At $4.99 for iOS (iPad Only) or $7.99 for Steam, it’s moderately priced, but not exceptionally so. There’s no iAP to deal with, but equally the puzzles are just single sided affairs, so once you’ve made your way through every wave of cats and read every page of the journal, there’s not much reason to return to Fort Meow.

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