Despite the number of decent platform games we’ve had over the last few years, it’s still rare to find a game in this genre. It seems that there are always developers out there willing to keep the ancient art of 2D platform action alive, and their efforts usually take the form of downloadable mini-games.
One of the latest additions to this roster is Blade Kitten, a game by Aussie developr Krome Studios. Blade Kitten is based on a rather successful webcomic by Steve Stamatiadis, one of the creative directors of the studio, and tells the story of Kit Mallard, an intergalactic bounty hunter who has travelled to a planet called Hollow Wish to score a huge bounty by eliminating a gangster called Terra-Li. As soon as she arrives, her ship is sabotaged by a rival bounty hunter, the bitchy Justice Kreel, and Kit has no choice but to leg it across the planet in hopes of beating her to the bounty.
Now, if you can stand the airheaded anime influence on the story, the insufferable sass of Kit, and the shameless use of Internet humour and memes, you might actually find Blade Kitten quite enjoyable. The visuals are bright and cheery with interesting designs, and the animation and acting are miles ahead of what we expect from indie games. Kit has a lot of attitude, but zero personality, and she’s always animated, no matter what she’s doing. Whether she’s just standing around with her tail twitching, dangling from a ceiling or brandishing her sword, she’s always in some kind of motion loop, giving her a very organic feel.
The game is played from a side-on, 2D viewpoint. Kit can run, jump, climb walls and ceilings, attack with her sword, ride dinosaur-like creatures and perform a few special moves. The controls are slick and Kit responds immediately to player inputs, making exploring the huge, sprawling world an absolute joy. The levels are crawling with enemies, most of which can be dispatched with a simple sword swipe, but there are a few that require some special tactics to beat. The levels are also littered with money, which people apparently leave lying around, with larger caches of riches hidden in hard-to-reach locations – which is lucky for Kit, because she’ll need a whole butt load of it to afford the new weapons, outfits and upgrade items she can buy from the eccentric store owner.
Just in case you’re beginning to think that there’s a great game here, know that the biggest flaw in the game is its repetitiveness. There are a few surprises every now and then, like having to jam Kit’s blade into the ground to prevent being blown away or race against a spaceship, but ultimately you’ll have seen everything it has to offer within an hour. Still, it’s a slick, well presented mini-game that can serve nicely as a distraction between the current slew of retail games.