Review: Catlateral Damage (PS4)

catlateral-damage-review-banner-yr10

Title: Catlateral Damage
Format: PlayStation Network Download (971.9 MB)
Release Date: March 22, 2016
Publisher: Fire Hose Games
Developer: Chris Chung
Original MSRP: $9.99
ESRB Rating: E
Catlateral Damage is also available on PC, Mac, Linux, Ouya, and Oculus Rift.
The PlayStation 4 download version was used for this review.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Gameplay:
Cats dominate the internet, it is something that we just have to accept and even as a dog person I have grown to appreciate cats despite them being horrible jerks. So it is not surprising that we finally have a game that involves felines being jerks.

We all have seen videos of cats knocking down all sorts of things for no particular reason other than the fact that they can. Now we can experience what cats feel when they destroy stuff thanks to Catlateral Damage.

Catlateral Damage_20160323022503 Catlateral Damage_20160327232916

You play from the perspective of a cat and your only goal is knock down anything and everything that you can get your adorable paws on. That’s it! The game has a simple premise and the controls are just as simple.

Your left paw is assigned to L1 and L2 for poking and swatting purposes respectively and the right paw uses R1 and R2. You also have the ability to pick items up with the cat’s mouth using Square and of course the ability to jump using the Cross button.

… a sense of accomplishment when you see everything on the floor …
There are two modes to choose from starting with Objective Mode. Here, your kitty has a number of objects to knock down within a specific amount of time. The amount of time given tends to be more than enough and there are plenty of objects to knock over. The second mode is the Litterbox Mode which is simply free play with no time limits.

For a simple premise, the game is remarkably fun. I never understood why cats knock stuff down, but I am beginning to get the appeal. They do that because it is invigorating and there is a sense of accomplishment when you see everything on the floor.

Catlateral Damage_20160327233118 Catlateral Damage_20160323022919

The problem with Catlateral Damage though is its simplicity. This is partly due to the fact that after one level you have done everything you are ever going to do. The game does a decent job switching up the location and layout for each thanks to the levels being procedurally generated.

You will see different type of houses as well as travel to places like the supermarket and even a museum but you will do the same thing at every location. It’s still fun and I was surprised how much enjoyment I had playing, even if after a couple hours I was pretty much done experiencing what the game had to offer.

… adorable cats drawn with heavy lines …
There are power-ups available via cat toys and these will level up your swatting, jumping, and running speed. Power-ups carry through a single playthrough of Objective Mode. With a large variety of characters to choose from I was slightly bothered that the leveling didn’t carry over from playthrough to playthrough, but it was not too big of deal since my primary reason for wanting that was for Trophies. Speaking of which that Platinum seems easy to obtain, just a little time consuming.

Visuals:
The art design is as simple as the premise which is not a bad thing. The game features bright colors and adorable cats drawn with heavy lines. The cats, which are the stars of the game obviously, look adorable even if you only see them at the character select screen. The game is cute and has some charm to it.

Catlateral Damage_20160327233557 Catlateral Damage_20160324210318

There are some technical issues to mention as well in the form of screen tearing, object clipping, and the occasional frame rate drops. In fairness, the frame drops only occurred while playing in Litterbox Mode when I took it upon myself to knock down every object to the floor in the supermarket.

This would probably not happen in Objective Mode since the timer would likely not allow me enough time to accomplish that feat. With that said, when the game did drop frames it was a slideshow and practically unplayable.

… meow to your heart’s content …
Audio:
As with the game’s visuals the audio is going for a lighthearted cutesy vibe and it succeeds in that respect. The music is light and peppy and goes along well with being a cat without a care in the world other than destroying the property of humans. And yes, there is a button dedicated to meowing so don’t worry because you will be able to meow to your heart’s content.

Online/Multiplayer:
This game is singleplayer only with no online component.

Catlateral Damage_20160327233226 Catlateral Damage_20160327233255

Conclusion:
I think I understand cats a little better after spending many hours with Catlateral Damage. After years of watching videos of cats being jerks and knocking stuff to the floor I see the appeal and have felt the rush of satisfaction from the act. For that I thank Catlateral Damage.

It’s just a shame the game is lacking more to give a full endorsement. The mechanics are simple though there is little reason to keep playing after a couple of hours. Knocking stuff over can only entertain someone for so long and after a bit the locations feel too similar to each other. The whole experience, while fun and charming in the early going, could have used something more to round out the game.

Score:
6.0

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

Twitter Digg Delicious Stumbleupon Technorati Facebook