Cat Lady (PC) Preview

By Justin Prinsloo 20.10.2019

Review for Cat Lady on PC

It's not an easy thing for a rogue-like to follow in the footsteps of The Binding of Isaac, but Cat Lady, the latest game by Rose City Games, has a lot of promise. Interestingly enough, it's published by VIZ Media, the very same VIZ responsible for publishing manga in the West. Here, VIZ has found a charming and stylish experience that will feel familiar to fans of the genre, but it also boasts enough personality to bring something new to the table - so much so that it's already caused a buzz both at Pax West and E3. It's still early days, but these are the first impressions C3 got after a few hours using cats as weapons in Cat Lady.

That's right: the arsenal available consists entirely of magically imbued cats. Two can be equipped at a time in the form of primary and secondary attacks, which is standard for a rogue-like action game. The player controls Ally, a young girl who is visiting her Grandma's mansion only to find it has been cursed. In order to save Grandma and purge the haunted mansion of the possessed Teddy Bears that roam its many halls, Ally must team up with Grandma's cats and utilise their unique powers.

It's bizarre, outlandish and totally captivating, bolstered wonderfully by an interesting design aesthetic and a fantastic soundtrack by Jim Guthrie and J.J. Ipsen. The use of colour is minimalistic but distinct: the various levels of the mansion are characterised by use of a single colour that fills in Ally and the world around her, all set against a black backdrop, while enemies are coloured in an opposite shade so as to be easily distinguishable from the environment. For example, when the general colour scheme is blue, enemies are red and when the environment is green, enemies are purple. The cartoonish animations do wonderfully to complement the rest of the design choices. It's a classy example of how effective a rudimentary palette can be.

The enemy variety is pretty decent, even more so considering this is still in Early Access. Their attacks and hit-boxes are mostly fair - the only faults are due to bugs, such as Ally taking damage from a particular attack before it lands. The player movement feels fluid, but again falls prey to some technical issues. Ally will often get stuck on walls and objects which can mean the difference between life and death in a fast-paced rogue-like.

Screenshot for Cat Lady on PC

The rooms and environments of Grandma's mansion and its surrounds are tightly packed and claustrophobic, emphasising strategic movement and positioning rather than facing large hordes of enemies at once. There's an element of strategy to using many of Ally's secondary attacks (which in true rogue-like fashion can be swapped as they are encountered in the world but are lost upon death), such as a robotic cat that can be positioned anywhere and will fire rockets at enemies while stationary.

There are two forms of currency as well, both of which drop randomly from defeated enemies. Tokens shaped as ghosts are used to purchase items and upgrades from the hub area between runs - upgrades which are permanent. Fish tokens are more plentiful but can only be used at stores during missions which contain temporary items that disappear after death. Like the items themselves, all the fish tokens players acquire through each run will disappear on death as well.

All in all, Cat Lady shows a lot of promise. It's got the basic systems in place that, when expanded and polished, will form the basis of a very solid experience. The aesthetic and tone are already beautifully established and serve to give this an unmistakeable allure. Be sure to check it out - even at this early stage, it shows enough potential to excite fans of the genre and beyond.

Screenshot for Cat Lady on PC

Final Thoughts

Cat Lady promises to be something great once its bugs are squashed and it finally offers players more by way of content. As it stands, it's a title well worth investigating for those who enjoy rogue-like adventures. Its sense of style and personality are quite charming, thanks to some great design work, a stellar soundtrack, and a truly off-the-wall subject matter. All this in tandem contributes to a very fun Early Access title.

Developer

Rose City Games

Publisher

VIZ Media

Genre

Action

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  n/a

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date TBA   North America release date TBA   Japan release date TBA   Australian release date TBA   

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