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Is this cat simulator purrrfect, or so bad it belongs in the litter box?

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    Catlateral Damage

    Rating: 1.5 – Bad

    Is this cat simulator purrrfect, or so bad it belongs in the litter box?

    There’s not many games out there where you play as a cat, but Catlateral Damage is here to change that! I happen to own a couple of cats though, and I have to say… my two cats don’t do too much, which makes me wonder if a game featuring cats is really that viable. So is this game worth playing, or does it belong in the litter box?

    Catlateral Damage really doesn’t have a "story", per se. It does have a "story mode" where you have objectives to accomplish (and are timed on), but there’s really no story other than "You are an upset cat and your owners are going to pay". That’s because all you basically do in this game is knock stuff around. That’s literally all you do is move around in first-person perspective as a cat and knock stuff around with your paws. At the beginning of each "story level", the cat will remember some slight that its owners made it suffer (such as "My water bowl wasn’t filled today… somebody’s going to pay!") and then you’re let loose.

    So yeah, not much in the way of a story, but is the game play any good? Well… no. No, it isn’t. Like I mentioned, you take on a first-person cat perspective and can swat your arms out with L1 and R1. You can also jump around and meow. That’s all you can do. From there, the game will tell you to knock items around the house onto the floor. Each item you knock down is worth points, with some items (usually bigger items) worth more points than others. You will also get "bonus" items that reward you bonus points for knocking down. That is literally all you will do in this game.

    The game also has some power-ups that you can collect. These include "Swat Strength", "Jump Height" and "Speed". You get these power ups for interacting with special items throughout the house (like a toilet paper roll or various cat toys) and you’ll definitely need them as your starting ability is pretty limited. The game also springs different "events" on you as you play. For example, the house may lose power for a few minutes or you may have a "low gravity" event happen where your jump is super high and things you knock around float for a long period of time (this game isn’t very, uh… realistic).

    All in all, the game play here is the definition of a passing fad. It’s new and quirky, but the fun wears off extremely quickly. All you are doing is knocking things over and making a mess, for what? Points? How fun. To add onto that, trying to know certain things over is just a royal pain (such as clothes) and the only real challenge in the game is learning the limits of your jumping powers. This game play is just way too repetitive and boring to care about, no matter how much you may like being a cat…

    The graphics in the game are fairly average for what appears to be a low-budget title. Everything is in 3D of course, but these are mainly cartoon-ish graphics (think "Octodad"). Very little detail is put into things (books look like bricks, etc…). The game randomizes the house layouts, so each place you visit is different at least, but a lot of these items are just re-used stage after stage. There’s some special stages here and there (like a grocery mart or a small museum) that have different items, but overall even the graphics in this game are awfully repetitive.

    Oddly enough (for how much I’ve derided the game so far), the sound track here is… actually decent. Nothing amazing that will get stuck in your head months after playing the game, but a solid sound track regardless. While looking up the music to listen to it after the fact (which I usually do for reviews), I found that the tracks are all full of cat puns. So if you want to listen to a sample, check out "Pawsative Catitude" or "Claws and Effect". Easy listening music while you knock items around…

    Like I mentioned earlier, the game has an objective mode (that doesn’t really tell a story, but does give you goals) and a "litter box mode" where you can just enter various areas and mess around in them. The game play itself is just so incredibly repetitive, there’s not much difference here (although I personally prefer goals instead of not having any). The game is semi-randomized and there’s some special stages you can visit, so there’s some re-playability here, but absolutely no depth to it whatsoever.

    I should also point out that you can unlock new cats to play as, but as far as I can tell these are just different models for the cat and don’t affect the game or game play at all (which seems like a lost opportunity). There’s also pictures in the game of what looks like people’s real-life pets. The pictures you get are random, and oddly enough include dogs every now and again. These pictures seem like the type of thing that’d come from a publicly funded venture (like Kickstarter) of various peoples pets. A nice addition, but ultimately it does little for the game itself.

    Overall: 3/10

    In the end, there’s just too little game play and, well, too little fun to be had in this game. It’s really nothing more than a short, 1-hour diversion more than anything, so if you are really set on trying it be SURE it is on sale. With the music as the high point in this title, you can have fun for a little while with this title, but ultimately this is one game you should just leave in the litter box. Have fun and keep playing!

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