A CATastrophe of epic PURR-PAW-sions.
Goat Simulator has a lot to answer for. What was once a joke turned in to one of the surprise hits of 2014. This was mainly due to the developers knowing how silly the idea was, and just running with it. But with its success came a lot of would-be contenders; some great, and some not so great. Catlateral Damages falls in to the latter category.
Catlateral Damage is trying to turn the everyday life of a cat in to fun-filled romp around the house. Instead it ends up being a boring chore of a game, with very little to reward the player along the journey. The premise is simple – the player takes control of a cat that has been aggrieved by its owner in some fashion. They didn’t fill its water bowl, or it didn’t get enough sleep, or it got too much sleep. Cats are such fickle things! Anyway, as revenge the cat has decided to completely trash the house, and it was my job to take control and cause as much damage as I could. The objective of each level is to knock a certain amount of objects on the floor in a certain amount of time. Jumping from table to table, shelf to shelf and running from room to room in order to complete my task.
Each level has its own target and time limits, and only by exploring every inch of the level would I be able to achieve this goal. The objectives may vary when it comes to time limit and destruction, but the game had very little else in the way of variety. Most levels just reshuffle the map of the house and the placement of the items. There are a few special levels that placed me in a different location and actually set goals for destroying specific items, but these were few and far between. Once over, it was back to the same old style of destruction; with the reward for completing a level being another boring level. I had no incentive to continue.
Now, I don’t expect a cat simulator to provide me with some dazzling narrative and epic storyline, but if you are going to jump on Goat Simulator’s coat tails, then the experience of playing it has to shine. That way, no matter how crazy the premise of the game seems, people will jump in and play for hours. Catlateral Damage misses this point, with the gameplay experience being plodding and monotonous.
The other thing needed in a game about cats is cute cats. That’s one of the reason why the internet loves cats; they’re cute and crazy. The cats here are not cute. They are hideous; like properly ugly! There are about 20 cats available to play as, with each being unlocked throughout the course of playing the game. And every one of them looks like a child’s wood carving with paint thrown over it. The environments don’t fare much better either, with a cel-shaded look that would feel more at home on a sub-par mobile game. The game even suffers from pop-in. I mean how is that even possible when the graphics are that bland and it’s running on a PS4?
The presentation here is paw, the audio is dull and the soundtrack grating. Even the menu screens lack excitement. However, if there is anything good to say about Catlateral Damage it is that at least the controls work well. Movement is generally smooth and the trigger buttons are used to swipe the left and right paws.
What shocks me the most is that this was a Kickstarter game, and actually managed to get funded. It has all the hallmarks of one of those games that sneaks on to Steam and sells for two bucks, but still manages to make you feel like you’ve been ripped off. Avoid this game like a well used litter tray; it’s more of a dog than a cat!
Review copy of game provided by publisher.