And now for an entry from the WTF category — CrazyCat HD. I thought this app was a joke when I stumbled across the description on the Android Market. Seriously? An app for cats? It seems so. In fact, this deranged developer wasn’t even the first one to think of the idea. There have been several apps written for pets on the iPad, and there’s more than one written for the Android platform too, but this app seems the most polished by a long shot.
The idea here is that you set your $500 tablet down on the floor, start CrazyCat, and let your cat chase “critters” that run around on the screen. I was skeptical, but believe it or not this actually worked with my neighbor’s cat.
I was a bit concerned about the cat scratching up the screen, but I didn’t notice any kind of marks after the fact. I sent an email to the developers asking them if this was an issue. Hey, who the hell else am I going to ask? There don’t seem to be a large number of experts when it comes to cats using mobile devices. Here’s the response from Keyes Labs:
Yeah, I get asked that question a lot. I’ve not seen any adverse effect on tablet or phone screens. Believe it or not, cats claws are actually pretty soft compared to the things that we normally worry about scratching a tablet screen. It’s pretty much the same as a fingernail. Can’t vouch for where your cat’s paws have been though. That’s your business…
I suppose that makes sense. The thought of getting cat shit on my tablet freaks me out a bit, but I suppose its something that people with cats are used to.
The game comes with three different critters that your cat can play with — a mouse, a butterfly, and a lizard. The animation is actually pretty good, and movement of the critters seems natural. The sound effects are another story though. I’m pretty sure the developer just made those up using his computer microphone. Then again, what the hell does a butterfly sound like anyway?
Finally, I should mention the one thing that actually surprised me with this app. It seems that you can control the critters using a second mobile device. I can’t believe that the developer spent the time to create such an advanced feature on an app for cats, but I must say, it’s really pretty cool. By moving your finger around on the screen of your phone, you can control the movement of the critters on the tablet. Connection is done via Bluetooth, and there is a slick connection wizard that makes pairing the two devices surprisingly easy. Cool. I found a link to a video on the dev’s YouTube channel that demonstrates how this all works.
The app is free. There is a pay version, but the dev has made the free version fully functional as long as you are willing to check out an advertisement every so often. I actually like how they’ve done the advertisement support in the app. It’s not ridiculously annoying, and feels like a fair trade-off for a fully functional free app.
Overall, if you have a cat and don’t mind risking stepping on your tablet, this app is worth a download.
ROAST: CrazyCat HD