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Google brews up an adorable kitten wizard game for Halloween

Ghosts have invaded the wizard school, and Momo the Cat has to defeat them with well-timed swipes of her magic wand.

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Visitors to the Google homepage on Monday may find themselves a bit distracted from their search, thanks to this year's Halloween-themed Google Doodle. 

An animated game featuring a black kitten with a magic wand lets googlers draw and swipe their way through five levels, fending off a variety of ghosts by drawing corresponding symbols in a race against the clock.

The Doodle follows a series of diverse Halloween-themed predecessors, including a wart-nosed, green-skinned witch mixing unpleasant ingredients in her cauldron, a video tribute to six 1,000-pound pumpkins, and an interactive candy-eating simulation.

Recommended: 5 best high-tech Halloween costumes

The feline star of this year's Doodle is Momo, a student at the Magic Cat Academy, which serves as the setting for the game. 

"The original concept for the game involved a magic cat making a soup that was so good, it raised the dead," wrote the creators of the Doodle. But, they continued, "Connecting soup to Halloween proved too abstract, so the team shifted to the idea of a wizard school. This opened the door to a more robust world filled with interesting characters and paw-some themes."

While the Magic Cat Academy may, sadly, not exist, Momo herself has some basis in reality. Inspiration for the character was drawn from a real black cat named Momo, the pet of one of the Doodle creators.

And though the real-life Momo has likely never studied at an academy or fought off ghosts with a magic wand, scientists still have a limited understanding of the cognitive abilities of our feline companions, with some recently arguing that cats have a better understanding of physics than previously thought. 

Regardless, the adventures of animated Momo and her ghostly nemeses have been applauded across the internet. 

"It’s a ridiculously fun way to procrastinate at work, much like I’m doing now," writes Matthew Hughes for The Next Web. "Bravo Google. Bravo." 

But be warned, some say: it's harder than it looks. 

"It’s easy when one malevolent Casper floats in with a small line above his/her head. But when they all gang up on you, it gets a bit tricky," writes Brinke Guthrie for Digital Trends. "And when your neck is on the line, how the heck are you supposed to type all those symbols when your adrenaline is pumping?"

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