The Cat Lady Review – PC
Rating 8

Spoiler: it doesn’t really have that much to do with cats. The Cat Lady is a supernatural sidescroller written about women but it probably isn’t for women. I think I must be the go-to guy on voletic for indie sidescrollers by now, of the fourteen games I have reviewed for this website, nine of them ..

Summary 8.0 Excellent
Rating 0
Summary rating from user's marks. You can set own marks for this article - just click on stars above and press "Accept".
Accept
Summary 0.0 Broken

The Cat Lady Review – PC

Spoiler: it doesn’t really have that much to do with cats.

The Cat Lady is a supernatural sidescroller written about women but it probably isn’t for women.

I think I must be the go-to guy on voletic for indie sidescrollers by now, of the fourteen games I have reviewed for this website, nine of them could be defined as sidescrollers. As I intend to increase my content output over the coming weeks I’m sure that number will only grow.

You may remember in my Contrast review how I spoke about most sidescrollers having an overriding theme or gimmick. This feature is, more often than not, what defines the game within a steadily swelling market. As we move on to our time with other titles within the genre it is this feature that will stay with us while we are discussing the game or (in my case) mentioning it in a review. With Braid for instance everyone remembers the fact that you could turn back time.

the cat lady 3

 

With the Cat Lady it is a close tie between one of two different features.

The game might be one of the few examples of well written women in videogames. Most people cite Lara Croft, but I would argue that she is more akin to a dude with massive tits that doesn’t come with the weight problems. The main character, Susan Ashworth, comes across with a whole swath of female characteristics, both positive and negative. She is a highly emotional character who repeatedly shows herself as slow to trust. She often makes rather cutting, slightly bitchy, remarks that can leave the player reeling slightly. Most of all though the game has clearly been designed around a more slow and measured approach. Weapons in the game are used sparingly and provide a significantly higher degree of tension as a result.

Expanding from that the dialogue is mostly well written and gives a distinct idea of who the characters are as people. Although some of the voice actors’ delivery is a little on the weak side. To give a more specific example, in one of the chapters your character has the option of calling the police in some vain hope that they might come and rescue her. Instead you are fobbed off and dealt with by an incompetent call centre worker who keeps trying to direct you to unnecessary departments. It is lines like these that give the game a nice splash of black humour. Unfortunately in this particular case the delivery is so bad I wouldn’t have been able to understand it if I had subtitles on.

The other feature is without a doubt the game’s, often, horrifying imagery. It is macabre to the point of being unnecessary. Your character is repeatedly killed in gruesome and stomach turning ways. All because of the conceit that your character is essentially immortal and cannot be killed permanently. The narrative seems to be structured in such a way as to appeal to gore fans, as every chapter has at least one way for the player to kill Susan or watch her die – some has several. I personally feel that this direction directly conflicts with the nature of the clever dialogue and otherwise feminine side of the game.

2014-01-18_00002

I’m not sure if the two are related in some way or not though, but the game has a distinct typically British noir flavour to it. The developers, Harvester Games, seem to have gone to great lengths to capture something quintessentially British about the game. It constantly makes nods to things like the NHS, local councils and the yellow pages. Not to mention that almost all the characters have a wide variety of British accents, with the curious exception of one of the main characters who sounds vaguely dutch.

Coupled with that, the game is often interspersed with sequences which are laden with occult-type imagery and iconography. There are several instances of blood sacrifice, for example. Combined with the fact that some of the enemies Susan faces are caricatures of the darker sides of humanity, such as internet trolling. These scenes often come across as vivid and use a much wider colour pallet than the mainstay of the title.

Overall though the game maintains a deep and interesting story throughout. While the ultraviolence seems at time  unnecessary, the game’s flavour is maintained throughout and keeps the player guessing as to what will happen next. Throughout the title there is genuine character development. We see Susan develop from a shy lonely woman and steadily gain more confidence as the game progresses, as a result it is nice to see game developers making a concious effort to show sustained character development.

Pros:

  • Well written female characters.
  • The horror sections show an experienced hand.
  • The narrative keeps the player guessing.
  • Strong use of the colour pallet.

Cons:

  • The horror sections seem a little at odds with the story sections.

8/10

Related posts

Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes Review – Xbox One

Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes Review - Xbox One

Metal Gear Solid series is well known for a few things, overly drawn out cutscenes, beautiful graphics, confusingly convoluted story lines and great stealth action! The first thing you need to know about Ground Zeroes, if you don’t already know is that the game is literally an extended demo for...

Coffin Dodgers Review – PC

Coffin Dodgers Review - PC

Ever dreamed of tearing up the mean streets of a secluded Cornish village in a mobility scooter

Inside the Gear Review – PC

Inside the Gear Review - PC

Get physical with Inside the Gear, a physics-based puzzler for PC.

Baldur’s Gate II: Enhanced Edition Review – PC

Baldur's Gate II: Enhanced Edition Review - PC

Baldur's Gate II returns is fabulous style! Baldur’s Gate II: Shadows of Amn. This game has been around since the turn of the century for goodness sake! If you enjoy gaming yet lack the wherewithal to seek out one of the best RPGs ever made, then you do not deserve the magic box you are...

Megabyte Punch – Review (PC)

Megabyte Punch - Review (PC)

Megabyte Punch is the first full release title by Reptile Games. From their site, they describe the game aa mash-up of Super Smash Brothers, Megaman and Custom Robo”.... and I can't think of any better way of putting it! On start up, you are presented with two options, 'adventure' which...

Mechanic Escape Review – PC

Mechanic Escape Review - PC

'Do not watch TV, play it!' scream the slogans on Mechanic Escape's website. And indeed I have been – literally. In this new 'Hardcore Platformer' available on Steam, you play as Mech, a bright blue telly screen with a face and arms and legs. Your task is to nip through eighty levels collecting...

Shadowrun Chronicles: Boston Lockdown Review – PC

Shadowrun Chronicles: Boston Lockdown Review - PC

Shadowrun: Boston Lockdown is a worthy addition to the series, providing a more multiplayer slant to its immediate competition.

Stick it to the Man Review – Wii U

Stick it to the Man Review - Wii U

While Sony takes the lead this generation with courting smaller and independent developers into producing interesting and exciting games for their online storefront, Microsoft and Nintendo have struggled. Their restrictive policies surrounding quality control, content and patching have neutered...

Ravensword: Shadowlands Review – iOS

Ravensword: Shadowlands Review - iOS

It's not rocket science to realise why a game from one platform doesn't work as well on another. Some developers are apparently unaware of this. There's an interesting phenomenon in our beloved industry at the moment. Both the most technically powerful and technically weakest platforms...

Leave a Reply