Available on: PC, PlayStation 4
We played on: PlayStation 4
From Sim City in the late 80s to Goat Simulator in recent years, simulation has been a popular gaming mechanic throughout video game history. That’s why it’s only natural for there to be a cat simulator. I mean, really, after playing as a goat, playing as a cat seems like a no-brainer. That’s what Catlateral Damage lets you do: step into the body of a cat and do what cats do best – knocking things over and causing massive messes in your house.
Just Knock Everything Over
If you’ve played any of the Katamari games in the past, Catlateral Damage will probably bring back memories. In Katamari, you’re trying to pick up an array of the items. In Catlateral Damage, you’re trying to knock them all over.
At its core, Catlateral Damage is very simple. You play as a cat in the first person perspective. You’re alone in a house that’s very neatly decorated and just asking to be destroyed. Your goal is knock over as many things as possible in a give time frame. Nothing is off limits when it comes to knocking things over. Books, dishes, flower vases and even TVs can fall prey to your cute little swatting paws. Just like cats in real life, you can jump pretty high and find yourself on top of bookshelves and cabinets near the ceilings. This leaves practically no area of the house inaccessible. You can stick out your paws to swat at items or you can simply plow into them. Both methods seem to work well.
This simplicity also makes it pretty easy for young kids to play. My three-year-old daughter was able to run around and knock over things fairly close to the ground, though the jumping seemed to be hard for her.
At certain times during the level, power-ups will be come available. These can increase your speed, or extend your swatting reach. They drop into the environment in a variety of ways. Some are boxes you need to paw at. Others are little tunnels you need to run through. You’re also given little mini-objectives in each level, like knocking over a certain number of books or other specific items.
Being a Cat Isn’t as Easy as It Seems
One of the things about Catlateral Damage that I found surprising is how challenging it actually is. Just like searching for collectibles in any other type of game, I found myself needing to scan the room for anything else that I could knock over. It also takes some time to work up the skill to accomplish the amount of destruction you need to in order to win the level.
I also found the game’s sense of humor to be quite enjoyable. As each level starts, your cat avatar makes some snarky remark about people, which gives them cause to wreak havoc. Another nice touch is the ability to unlock different cats to play as.
One thing to note is that the first-person perspective can be a bit much to take if you suffer from motion sickness, like I do. Since you don’t have anything in front of you (like a gun in most first-person games) spinning the camera to look in different directions was somewhat nauseating. I found I could only play the game for about an hour at a time. If motion sickness isn’t a problem for you, first of all, you’re lucky. Secondly, playing Catlateral Damage probably won’t give you any problems.
Catlateral Damage is a fun and humorous take on what it means to be a cat. The gameplay is easy to pick up, but achieving the goals for each level can be more challenging than you might expect. If you’re a cat person, or even if you’re not, you’ll probably find Catlateral Damage to be a nice way to spend a few hours, and a good game to enjoy with your kids.