Cat Mario is a seemingly simple flash game. At first glance it is a Mario style side-scroller. You use your arrow keys to jump and walk around the screen. As you play from left-to-right the screen moves with you but does not allow you to move backwards.
The style of the game is also very like Mario, you have your cheerful white clouds across a blue sky, you have blocks with question marks, and you have your little blocks with question marks that give out coins.
However, Cat Mario does have a darker side to it. Everything in this game can and will kill you. The mushrooms, the gold stars, and even some of the clouds. You can not trust anything in this game! At every turn the ground will fall out from under you with no warning, and the designer enjoyed putting invisible blocks over most drops. So even if you manage to jump, the invisible blocks catch you.
You do start the game with three lives, again like Mario. However, in classic Mario after you die three times, you get a game over screen and have to restart. In Cat Mario after you die three times, you don’t get a game over screen. Your life counter starts going negative. As there seems to be no other method of scoring, the point seems to be how low your negative counter goes.
There are two keys to success at this game. First, is patience. Several obstacles can be avoided by waiting for the enemies to walk off the screen. Secondly, you will need to memorize the specifics of each encounter. Each level only features one save point midway through the level, in the shape of a blue flag. At the end of the level there is a tall flagpole. Usually this marks the ending, and it’s almost true here. In a regular game, you touch the flagpole and you go through a small victory skit. In this game after you touch the flagpole you go through a small skit, and you die. In order to actually complete a level, you must not touch the flagpole. You have to go through the entire level without touching anything.