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Blade Kitten is a surprisingly unknown game, having slipped under the radar for a lot of people. By Krome, who are probably best known for the underwhelming Star Wars Clone Wars Republic Heroes. Despite having quite a hefty amount of advertising from Steam, both leading up to, and following its release. Which even included a banner across the top of the main store page, in the UK at least. It has since been released for the Playstation Network and X-Box Live Arcade, and found a niche for itself however. And there are definite plans for a sequel at some point.
My initial reaction to the game was apprehension. Seeing those ancient words “last surviving member of her species” let me with no small amount of trepidation. And actually spoiled a lot of the anticipation I had from initial trailers. Which showed a bright, colourful, slick and clearly fun oriented side scrolling platformer. The fact it caught my attention at all is quite an accomplishment. Platform games are not usually my thing, not at all. I don’t know why it stuck out to me to be honest. It, clearly, had nothing to do with the pink haired catgirl protagonist. Why would you even think such a thing?
Ahem, anyway. I persevered, and tried it out anyway. Even pre-ordering on Steam, so as to have an extra costume in game. And only fifteen seconds in, my dedication was vindicated. Far from being a depressing, angst driven boiling inferno of rage. Kit Ballard, a Breaker (some kind of space Bounty Hunter) showed herself to be approachable, bubbly and more than a little sassy. One might even go so far as to describe her as... catty. Ba dum tish.
And it was a breath of fresh air let me tell you. As was the game as a whole. Barring the Tomb Raider series, I haven’t played a platform game in more than ten years. Not a single one. But this one had me hooked right from the beginning. It’s use of colour and light a far cry from the brown and grey palette favoured by most shooters of today. Even the darker areas, such as underground cave complexes and smog filled smelting plants, are still lit well enough to easily see where you’re going.
And you can go to a lot of places. Not just in diversity of levels, but also in a more practical sense. Being of feline descent, this kitty really does have claws. Sharp claws. And she can use them to scale almost any surface. Which leads to some rather ingeniously hidden data chips, and secret chests and the like. And, most importantly, makes the game a lot more fun. It offers a degree of freedom this kind of game, in my experience, tends to lack. And whilst the levels are still linear, the exploration potential more than compensates.
Combat is slick, and easy to pick up. With two basic attacks, one close, and one distant, and a special rage attack which varies depending on your weapon. The weapon itself is some kind of semi-sentient electronic sword, which hovers nearby rather than resting in Kit’s hands. Thus allowing her the freedom to climb and fight at the same time. Which I found to be a really nice touch. Especially since the blade, intentionally, ignores walls and catwalks. It’s extremely useful for clearing away that pesky guard, that keeps whacking you down as you try to reach the next catwalk.
The guards themselves have only a small variety to them. But there are other foes, in the shape of wild animals and robots, to keep the enemies from seeming overly repetitive. And some of the random chatter you hear is extremely amusing. “Situation Oscar Mike Golf” cracks me up every time I hear it. And even makes it’s way into one of the in game cut scenes. Which are informative and weighty, without being overly long. Thus allowing the game to flow at a brisk pace, and not drag.
If the game has any failings, it would be the length. One of the achievements even asks you to finish the whole game in less than ninety minutes. But then, a lot of games, on a speedrun, can be finished in comparable times. However Blade Kitten isn’t the kind that truly lends itself well to this kind of play. It encourages you to go off the beaten path, and hunt down every single collectible you can find. With incentives of more costumes, extra health and new weapons. Perfect for a fashion victim like myself. As well as adding some amount of replay value.
The voice work is top notch, with Kit herself being engaging and energetic, but displaying enough depth to still ring true in the more serious sections of the narrative. And the background noises, footsteps, weapon sounds et cetera all serve to make the world come to life. Add to that a light and, most importantly, none invasive musical score, and you have yourself a well polished, heaps of fun platform adventure. For only £6.99/$9.99 you have a real bargain.
I had a hell of a lot of fun with this game. From the bright, vibrant marketplaces, to the dank, smog filled industrial complex, to the sweeping plains and beyond. For such a short game, there is a hell of a lot of variety packed into it. And the game plays so easily you’ll be a pro in minutes, but with enough little extras to keep you experimenting. And, well, it’s just a lot of fun. This game is not to be missed. And needs more love, so we can get the sequel. I want to know more about the Darks.
- Engaging Protagonist: A far cry from the usual, dark and brooding action hero
- Fantastic Level Design: Bright and intriguing areas, with just as much happening in the background
- Great Sound Design: The music is cheerful and catchy
- Vibrant Colour Palette: From Kit herself, to the environment, to her little pet Skiffy. Nothing is dull and grey, even the dull and grey caves
- Short Completion Time: Will probably only take four or five hours the first time. But there are enough secret areas to add maybe another two or three on top
- Cliched Characters: Not a problem for the most part, but they become a little too tedious at times