The rise of indie game developers has led to all manner of innovative games, as well as the revival of several long-dead genres! That’s what I’d like to say, anyway. What’s actually happened is that we’ve had a few innovative games, a whole buttload of clones of those, several more buttloads of Kickstarters for more clones, and the return of the point-and-click adventure game (which didn’t actually die). Thanks to surprise hits like Goat Simulator and their ilk smaller teams get the chance to work on slightly more esoteric projects, though, as we see with Catlateral Damage.
You are a cat. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to knock stuff onto the floor. I know that might sound like a tall order, but don’t worry, you’re being issued the finest tools we have for the job. Namely, a pair of paws. Left-clicking will swing your left paw – the more crafty of the pair, used to strike objects from the left. That alone isn’t enough power, however, so when times are dire you can right-click to engage your right paw, the more vicious of the two twins, which can deliver a powerful blow from the right. This might seem like a lot of responsibility, but with practice and patience you’ll come to wield your two paws like a trained master.
Naturally, as a cat you’ve got agility befitting your species. Well, mostly. What this actually means is that you can jump pretty high. Those stupid humans love to put all their valuable and sentimental crap on high shelves, so it behooves you to get up there and put those paws to work. It’ll take a little time to get used to how your cat can jump, and for the absolute highest stuff you’re probably going to have to rely on a randomly-spawning mouse powerup, but you can get pretty high with careful jumping.
This is a pretty simple game, really. You’re playing as a cat, which, if not for the meow button and paws, would be a lot like playing as any other FPS character. There’s stuff all over the place and you need to knock it over – specifically, stuff needs to hit the floor. Not another shelf, not a table…the floor. When it does, you get points, and if you get a certain number of points you can continue to the next stage. There’s also Litterbox Mode, where you’re just knocking crap over because it’s fun.
And fun it is…for awhile at least. That’s it! That’s the whole game. The graphics are adorable, if a little amateur, and the cat aspect of things is bound to appeal to pet lovers. With Catlateral Damage we’ve basically got the same sort of situation as games like I Am Bread and #OVER900ZOMBIES: a game made for people who want to make Let’s Play videos for YouTube. While if you’re into watching nerds talk about games while playing them it’s not too bad, Catlateral Damage just doesn’t have much going on and it’s really not all that fun by yourself. At $9 on Steam it’s not exactly a big risk if you think you’ll like it, but it’s not going to blow your (or anyone’s) mind.
Also, it’s a Kickstarted game, and over $60,000 went into the creation of a cat simulator about knocking things onto the floor. Enough people paid $50 to have a picture of their cat included that a new $55 option for the same thing was created. At least nine people paid $500 to have the in-game cat look like their feline friend. Welcome to 2015. There’s no going back. Weep at what’s become of us.