Catlateral Damage Review: A Feline Runs Amok

In many ways, I’m a simple man. Give me a role-playing game that is set in space or a game that features dinosaurs, and I will likely be pleased. Cats are another one of my admitted weaknesses, a weakness of which Catlateral Damage’s placement on PSN’s front menu took full advantage. I can’t be blamed for buying a game just because it has cats in it. I suffer from an inexplicable yet common love for a cute house cat. Anything that involves cats, I figure, must be worth a try. With Catlateral Damage on sale, I was convinced that I had no other options other than to buy the game.

After purchase and download, I booted up the cat simulator. I was met by a colourful menu with a cell-shaded cat on the left hand side, game options on the right, and saccharine music running through my speakers. What a jolly greeting! First impressions are important, and Catlateral Damage had made a good one. There was a cat. There was mention of a game. Things were going well. I clicked on “Tutorial” and wrapped my fingers convincingly around the controller.

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For those unfamiliar with Catlateral Damage, the game is basically a jerk-cat simulator. Jerk-cats are those felines that do things like scratch up furniture, knock things off shelves, and basically make a mess of the house on a regular basis – they often go by their more common name, “cat”. In the game, you play the role of the poor cat, left all alone at home by his family, with the aim of knocking as many objects as you can on the floor, as some sick act of revenge against your cruel owners.

The tutorial caught me up on the simple controls that allowed me to move, jump, meow, swipe with my left paw, and swipe with my right paw. It informed me that objects could be knocked on the floor. Some objects were up higher than others. Some objects smashed when they hit the ground. All in all, the tutorial left me feeling like I was ready for the real thing. Upon returning to the main menu, I selected the timed mode and got ready for the big kitty leagues.

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My environment: a quaint, average home. Me: a cat. My goal: to knock somewhere around 300 items on the floor. The time remaining: 10 minutes. My mind: focused.  As seconds ticked by, items fell to the ground. I leapt from the carpet to the shelf and then to the kitchen table. Books, picture frames, vases, dinnerware, clothing, toilet paper, lamps – nothing in the home was safe from my Cerberean strategy set of swiping with my left paw, swiping with my right paw, and running into things with my body.

A lot can happen in 10 minutes. For example, in 10 minutes, I knocked over 200 objects onto the ground. I acquired power ups that let me jump higher and move more quickly. I relieved some stress. I think I relieved my cat-self in a litter box. I turned on water taps. Somehow, I initiated a 6 second disco rave in the bedroom. I slowly fell in love with the overly joyful music that I had initially hated. I questioned what I was doing with my life. I quickly fell out of love with the continuous music. I knocked a lot of stuff on the ground. I was a cat.

Really, there is not much else to say about my experience with Catlateral Damage. It is a game only by the most loose of definitions, because all you do is knock stuff on the ground. The environments change, the cats change, but the music and the goal do not. All my life I wanted to see what it was like to be a cat but not like this. Never like this.

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All that being said, a glance at user reviews on Steam tells another story: Catlateral Damage is a wonderful, silly stress reliever. I can’t argue with those people. The game is pointless, but the music is upbeat, the colours are bright, and you can knock pictures of housecats off the walls to unlock these cats as playable characters (the best thing about the game). It’s just that, there isn’t really much of a game here at all – just a big house, a little kitty, and a lot of objects to knock about.

To the creator’s credit, the game works. I saw no glitches. The way in which objects interacted was realistic. There is a cat that farts instead of meows. I would recommend Catlateral Damage to any cat fan out there (but only for a price that is near or equal to zero) because in the end, it is a game with cats. And us cat-lovers begging for more games featuring felines simply cannot be too picky these days.

2/5

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Daniel Podborochynski

A Canadian who loves video games, soccer, sandwiches, reading, cats, dogs, Aphex Twin, bike rides, Fallout, Daft Punk, barbecue, and beer.

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