Catlateral Damage Review: An A-Meow-Zing Experience!

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It’s no secret that I adore cats. I’ve owned cats, loved cats, and am actively looking to adopt a new cat. I have cats on everything, from t-shirts to totebags to cat-butt magnets. Because I don’t own any actual cats right now, my friends refer to me as the “catless cat lady.” So it should be no surprise that, the first time I saw Catlateral Damage, I knew it was a game I was going to love.

Platforms: PC, PS4 (Version Played)
Publisher: Fire Hose Games
Developer: Chris Chung
Genre: Cat Simulator… Duh
Release Date: May 27, 2015 (PC), March 22, 2016 (PS4)
ESRB Rating: Everyone

catlateraldamage-boxAs I mentioned in the PAX East 2014 PAXpocalypse List, Anthony Amato first lead me to Catlateral Damage by telling me he had a very important game to show me. When we got to the booth, I let out a scream so loud it startled all the people around us. A game where you could play as a cat???? I threw myself into it and proceeded to drown in my own joy. Now that I can be a cat in my own living room, well, let’s just say screaming and joy are at an all-time high.

Real talk: I backed the Catlateral Damage Kickstarter campaign, but I didn’t play the game on PC, mostly because I am really, really bad at downloading games that I back on Kickstarter. I would say that makes me a bad person, but I gave them my money, so it’s not like I didn’t back a project I believed in. I’m just not really a PC gamer, and I tend to lose track of Steam keys, and, OK, fine, I AM a bad person. Are you happy now?

Fast forward to when I finally got a chance to play Catlateral Damage on my PS4. Last week, I sat down after a long day at work, wanting to do nothing more than relax. I decided what better way to relax and blow off some steam than by playing a cat simulator? Destroying someone’s house would be really therapeutic, right?

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As I ran from room to room, jumping up on shelves, knocking over everything in sight, listening to the satisfying crash of plates shattering, I once again felt that familiar joy I’d felt two years ago when I first played the game. Even more importantly, I realized that cats aren’t jerks – and if they are jerks, I don’t want to be anything but a jerk. Because nothing is more amazing than running through someone else’s house and just completely obliterating their belongings.

But how does it work, you ask? How does one perform the actual catting? Well, you move with the left analog stick, and change the camera with the right analog stick. It’s first-person cat view, so you see everything from the eyes of a feline. X is used for jumping. But the real fun is in the shoulder buttons. L2 and R2 let you swipe with your paws, while L1 and R1 will push a paw forward to instantly jettison something in front of you.

You have two options for catting – one is Objective Mode, where you have a timer counting down and a specific number of your owner’s things you have to knock on the floor. This is great for the Katamari Damacy-lover in you – are you the type of person who has found yourself rolling up the ball again and again in the hopes of making, perfecting, and then destroying your time? Then Objective Mode is where you’ll really shine!

The other option is Litterbox Mode, which has neither timer nor objective. Just get in there and wreak all the havoc you want for as long as you want. So if you just want to destroy and don’t want any time limits, switch over to Litterbox and make a mess!

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There are tons of adorable little extras in the game that really take it from “of course this is a game with cats in it and you’re playing as a cat so you’ll buy it” to “I adore this game and everything about it!” There are pictures of cats all over the houses you destroy, and these are the cats of Kickstarter backers who backed at a certain level. I haven’t unlocked many yet, but I hope to catch ’em all! You can also choose more than one cat to play as, though all that really changes are the paws you see coming out to knock things over. Other wonderful little things that made me squee include a reticle shaped like a cat’s nose, and the fact that to end the level, you have to jump in a box. I mean, come ON!

Finally, there are the power-ups that you can unlock to get special bonuses in each level. An alarm will start sounding and you have to find the box, break it open with a few swift hits, and then simply walk over it to pick it up. Jump higher, swipe with more ferocity, or move faster. Oh, and all the levels are procedurally generated, so you have tons of houses to explore and trash!

I guess it’s already pretty obvious, but I can’t emphasize enough how great Catlateral Damage is. And the creator, Chris Chung, is one of the nicest people I’ve ever met, which just adds to the awesomeness of the game. If you want an experience that is fun, hilarious, and gratifying, look no further than this brilliant cat simulator. You’ll be totally cat-isfied.

Review Disclosure: A review copy of Catlateral Damage was provided by Fire Hose Games for the purposes of this review.

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Nicole Kline is Warp Zoned's Senior Editor. She first began preparing for the job by climbing a milk crate to play Centipede in an arcade. You can find her on PSN under the name toitle or you can email her at nicole AT warpzoned DOT com.

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