Have you ever left your home for whatever reason, only to return to a colossal mess at the hands of your cat? You slowly rub your temples with your fingertips and question why something you love so much, something you feed and care for, would ever commit such a terrible act. The short answer is because it’s fun, and Chris Chung‘s Catlateral Damage will show you exactly why being a cat is so damn awesome.
Catlateral Damage is currently in early access on both OUYA and Steam, and can easily be described as a first-person cat rampage simulator. It’s already been Greenlit by the Steam community, and it’s gotten a solid amount of exposure from PewDiePie and Markiplier, but I just spent a few hours with the OUYA version myself.
In a cel-shaded home that’s begging for destruction, you control a mischievous ball of rage as you go room to room to cause as much damage as possible with your own two paws. Certain rooms require specific objects to be knocked down, like vases, pencils, or picture frames, while others simply ask that you take down X amount of items in Y amount of time.
“Breaking shit is just really, really fun!”
Aside from being randomized there isn’t a ton of variety in rooms right now, but the act of jumping on bookshelves and sending an entire series of Encyclopedia Britannica plummeting to the floor is always satisfying. Knocking down flatscreen television sets, flinging retro game consoles across the room, and destroying my owner’s DVD collection was equal parts heartbreaking and hilarious. The whole time I’m just picturing one of my three cats doing the same exact thing the next time I run to the store. No Wicket! Not the TV! I was half tempted to blindfold them so they wouldn’t get any ideas, but I have to admit that I now understand why cats are so mischievous. Breaking shit is just really, really fun!
You can upgrade your swiping and jumping abilities by finding scratching posts, and even level up your cat by gaining XP for being a little hellion. During the time I spent with the game on OUYA, I wasn’t actually sure what leveling up did. I didn’t notice any changes in my cat, aside from the notable upgrades found at scratching posts, but without any sort of description in the game itself, it was anyone’s guess.
EDIT: When asked about the upgrade system, Chung replied “Leveling up just rewards you with upgrades right now, and upgrades are mostly just stat boosts for jump height, movement speed, and swat power (though there are some XP and time bonuses). The higher your swat power, the faster the paw moves and the farther things will fly when hit. The plan is to have a bunch of other upgrades, including cosmetic items (boxing gloves on your paws, perhaps?) and special abilities (like a Skyrim Fus Ro Dah meow that blasts things forward).” This explanation definitely clears things up a bit, and the possibility of meow-blasting an entire room has me excited.
Catlateral Damage currently has two modes of play available, with its standard timed runs and a free-play Litterbox Mode. The current version can be a little laggy at times, delivering slight moments of slowdown as I swatted down mountains of books or video games, but it wasn’t a constant issue. It was present enough in my 4 hour hands-on to warrant mentioning, however, and something that’s hopefully addressed before its final release.
During its Kickstarter run, there was actually a stretch goal to add editor tools to the game, but unfortunately it fell a bit short. The idea of building my own house and destroying it with my own cat is a great one, and one that Chris Chung hopes to someday include in a future update.
When I asked him about the possibility of an editor, he said “I’d personally love to have a level editor in the game. There was a stretch goal in the Kickstarter for editor tools, but we didn’t quite reach it. If the game ends up doing well, it’s possible that I could add in an editor as an update later on. We’ll see!”
“The game is made in Unity so it’s super simple to make builds for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android (OUYA) at the same time.”
Those of you looking forward to the game on OUYA will be happy to know that it’s currently being updated for the Android console and its Steam counterparts simultaneously. “The game is made in Unity so it’s super simple to make builds for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android (OUYA) at the same time.”, Chung said. When asked if this will continue to be the case after the game exits early access, he stated “I haven’t run into any issues with updating both at once, so it’s something I’ll continue to do!”
If you’re already playing through its early access, there’s definitely some new stuff on the horizon during its final push toward a retail release. “Right now, I’m working on the museum bonus level off the normal progression that you may encounter while playing the game.”, he answered when asked about future content. “It’s a bigger level with a lot of rare and expensive artifacts, fossils, and even an art gallery with photos of real-life cats from Kickstarter backers.” Going from breaking tiny robot toys to rampaging through fossils and expensive stuff is pretty enticing, no?
Its Kickstarter is already over, but if you’re interested in checking out Catlateral Damage prior to its release, you can still pay in as a Slacker Backer on the official website. All tiers offer early access, with some even offering to put pictures of your cat in to the game as a poster or framed picture. Chung claims there’s already over 150 different cats in the game, but “more is always better!” The only thing better than a cat is more cats, right? If you’re not interested in paying for early access, there’s a Unity browser demo behind the link as well.
Chris Chung hopes to release the full version of Catlateral Damage on both OUYA and Steam in March or April this year. In the meantime, you can check in on the game’s development live through Twitch every Tuesday from 4pm-5pm EST.
Bradley Keene is the Executive Editor here at What’s Your Tag?, generally handling reviews, public relations, and our social media communications on Facebook and Twitter. He’s an aspiring video game journalist, Baltimore native, and an aficionado of bizarre indie games. If it’s weird and pixely, he’ll like it. If he’s not writing, he can usually be found glued to his OUYA and Xbox One, or knee-deep in an MMO. Get in touch with him by e-mail at the address above, or follow him on Twitter.