You can’t help but feel sorry for rats. Whether it’s humans or hideous aliens, everyone just seems to love sticking them in mazes to see what they can do. Only when it’s aliens involved, as in X-Rat, the mazes are quite a bit more sophisticated ‘¦ and deadly. X-Rat is yet another ball tilting game that manages to differentiate itself thanks to some fiendishly difficult level design. It may look like a cute little puzzler, but this game isn’t for the faint of heart.
The seemingly simple goal of the each of X-Rat’s stages is to roll the rat, which for some reason is trapped in a ball, all the way from the beginning of the maze to the end. The game uses tilt controls exclusively, so you’ll be manipulating the rat’s movement indirectly, by tilting your device to direct its movement. It’s not exactly original, but X-Rat’s tight controls put it a step above most of the competition. When you die, it’s almost always your fault.
And hear us well: you will die. Lots.
Hammer mushrooms have surprising reach.
The defining characteristic of X-Rat seems to be its ridiculously high level of difficulty. Simply avoiding falling off of the edge of the maze can be challenge in most stages, but when you factor in tracking robots, one-hit-kill fans, bouncing bumpers, and all of the other challenges the game throws at you, getting from point A to point B becomes that much harder.
X-Rat simply doesn’t let up. It seems that around every tricky twist and turn there’s something waiting to kill you, so you pretty much never have a chance to slow down and catch your breath. This is especially true because each stage is also timed, putting additional pressure on your tilting skills. X-Rat is a game that will inevitably make you swear at your iPhone quite a bit. It’s also a game that will have you letting out audible sighs of relief when you finally complete a stage after a few dozen tries.
Excuse me, which way to the exit?
With 45 stages spread out across three worlds, X-Rat doesn’t seem to have a whole lot of content. But unless you’re some sort of super-human it will take a long time to get through each and every stage. And, as with seemingly every new puzzle game, you can also replay each stage to try to collect all three stars. But good luck with that.
Like arcade games of old, X-Rat is frustratingly difficult, but in a good way. You always know what needs to be done to get to the end of a level, but actually doing it will require quite a bit of skill. You’ll get mad, but you’ll keep coming back. Being trapped in a maze never felt so good.