Catlateral Damage: Finally, A Simulation Game That Lets You Live As A Cat
I have often wondered what it would be like to be a cat. Having owned several in my life, I fantasized about napping for hours, eating whenever I wanted, and knocking things over and getting away with it, just because it was expected of me. However, since mind-switching or morphing isn’t possible yet, (come on scientists…it’s 2014…), the next best thing is clearly a cat simulation game. Catlateral Damage has the potential to bring most of my desires to light, despite its current alpha state.
Before going further, let me explain what being in “Alpha” means as far as games are concerned. When a game is in ‘Alpha’, it suggests that it’s not only extremely new, but mainly unfinished. The creators, releasing their game at this stage, allow the public to give input and feedback to better the performance before it’s characterized as a fully finished product.
They put their trust into the players’ hands in hopes of a unanimous submission for better quality and game play. However, I mainly play them for glitchy amusement. Though Catlateral Damage delivered that to an extent, the game’s potential is overwhelming.
You are a cat with the power to jump and paw at things. If those things hit the floor, you get points. That’s it… However far the game gets developed, I don’t think the story will be any more elaborate than that.
There is a lack of plot, yes, but the inspiration for it is full of story. Chris Chung, the creator of Catlateral Damage, owns the very cat that you portray in the game, whose name is Nippy. Clearly Chris needed to take his frustrations out because of his mischievous feline friend and did it in the best way possible.
Many cat owners can and have related to the unwritten story that is ‘Catlateral Damage.’
Despite the lack of narration or explanation, it is easy to hear both the owner and the cat’s inner monologue and personal feelings to the demolition that is caused by your character.
Starting the game was quick but simple. After clicking start there is nothing but a first person view and a timer. You are given two minutes to bump off as much as you can. With a mouse, and W,A,S,D, walking around and viewing the items in the room are a breeze. Unfortunately, items don’t ever change position so once you learn where everything is, it becomes increasingly easier to up your points. The next thing I tried was jumping. Naturally, I don’t read the instructions to play, so I only assumed spacebar was the jump button.
Thankfully, the natural key stroke was correct, making the experience in learning how to play very comfortable. Pressing the left mouse button, I saw a small white and black paw pop out to swipe the pillow on the bed I started on. All of the sudden, controls meant very little, strategy was out the door, and the next 30 minutes was just finding anything and everything I could to swipe. Finally, I recalled that this was for a review and not just entertainment, and I started to focus.
Even with this new attention to detail, it took four attempts to complete the mission, which was simply to get 100,000 points by knocking items onto the floor within the span of two minutes. This makes for very short gameplay so far, which is unfortunate for such an addicting game.
Despite the excitement and fun, bugs and lack of quality were to be expected. The first downside was that, despite how hard I thought I was swiping, or how much of a push I gave, the more breakable objects, (Pots, game systems, A TELEVISION), didn’t break or shatter; not even so much of a crack.
There was some nice star animation, as though I hit a cartoon character over the head, but it still didn’t give the smug satisfaction I’d imagine a cat to have upon this destruction.
Another issue is that when you do push something over the edge, it tends to almost hover, rather than plummet to the floor. The physics are passable, but unsatisfying to say the least. It even effects how you jump.
It was amusing to get stuck on the side of shelves, but that also becomes a nuisance when you are stressed for time. The sound effects are also extremely poor. I had to mute the game after a while, finding the repetitive and unenthusiastic noises to be almost disheartening. However, hopes are high with promises of more levels, more to destroy, new gameplay modes, better graphics, “More than zero music,”achievements, and more. There is even potential for Oculus Rift support in the future.
Though for now, this is strictly for PC, allowing you to either download the game, or try it online for free.
The graphics aren’t top of the line, HD 1080p, PS4 or Xbox One beautiful, but it does fit the mold of mayhem. I would prefer these graphics over high end quality, simply because it gives a good, almost nostalgic feeling. The objects, along with the paws of the cat, are sharper and cut, looking more animated and blocky. I personally don’t mind this style and it does not take away from what you interact with. That being said, the objects themselves leave quite a bit to be desired.
The items available to knock down are extremely bland and ‘copy paste’, and I do hope that they upgrade to more elaborate and detailed work.
Only one object caught my attention on a more intimate level, which was the game console, loosely resembling the NES. I feel the game would be more sentimental as well as challenging if the developer incorporated items the player could relate to, distracting them, if only for a second, from knocking anything over.
Feedback from the Community
Since it is in alpha, I feel it necessary to mention the feedback of the game thus far. Catlateral Damage is, in short, an overnight explosion throughout the internet. Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook are only a few of the social media outlets where I personally found this game. I actually saw it so much that I gave it a try, not really expecting to review it. However, after my co-reviewer mentioned it to me, I knew it was something I had to bring to light. It is on steam’s green-light, meaning that the votes of players are driving it up the list in hopes of being developed more.
In just a short time, Chris’s vision has been seen by the thousands, and growing. It has been bumped up to number 5 on the green light list, and Chris and his Kitty, Nippy, couldn’t be more thrilled. Overall, the game is already addicting and many are excited to see what is to come.
In a Nutshell
Catlateral Damage has some advances to make, but it has the room to make them as well. Despite the bumps and glitches, which are expected in an alpha, this game has reeled in the attention of cat lovers and gamers alike. Though it’s a short game for now, the temptation to play and beat previous scores are high, which only adds to the desire of more development from Chris. After all, who doesn’t want to walk around and break things as a lovable and innocent-looking cat?
- Operating system – Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows Vista, Windows XP
- Additional Requirements – Not specified
- File size – 9.2 MB
If you can run flash games, you can likely run this.
You can find the game to play or download here, as well as the green light for steam to vote the game up.