Blade Kitten review
A fine exercise in mediocrity
Hope you have a huge craving for a platformer...
...because that's probably the only reason you'll want to play this - that, or you're a fan of the Blade Kitten webcomic series (technically making this a licensed game). Blade Kitten, made by the now-defunct Krome Studios, is a sidescrolling platformer that doesn't do much to draw your attention, which makes you wonder why they're defunct - oh wait, that's the best way to describe all of their games - average, and this kitty follows suit! Don't get me wrong, it tries to be awesome, but it doesn't deliver. It's like making a meal, and you forgot to give it flavor - you know what that means? That means, although it's a meal, it's nothing to really praise or hate...
So this is what would happen if Samus fused with her cat.
Kit is a bounty hunter who heads to the planet Hollow Wish to take on a new job... only for some blonde chick to screw things up. The blonde steals her breaker key that has the job's information on it, meaning it's time for a chase. But there seems to be more to this than meets the eye. Unfortunately, trying to keep up with it all is as easy as finding a unicorn's left testicle, because story arcs never seem to come to a satisfying conclusion, nor do they really have a middle that you'd want to invest your time into due to some vague (yet kind of funny) dialogue that doesn't really do much to advance the plot. So yeah, it isn't really all that deep, nor does it really focus on much beyond getting that breaker key. If there's any consolation, at least the characters have something to say that'll peak your interest, though that's only really because of their slightly over the top performances, but it at least peaks your interest... that's something...
What is this a dumbed down version of?
Blade Kitten is, as I've said, a sidescrolling platformer with 3D graphics. As such, you'll be running, jumping and attacking enemies. Unfortunately, that's about all that it can muster - and I don't mean it in a "simple yet effective" way, because although it's simple, it isn't exactly what I'd call effective. Having played through the game twice, it doesn't really have anything that could be considered excellent or good - just average. Actually, I'll put to you to this way - I have good news and bad news regarding this game
I'm guessing you'll want the bad news first. Well, the bad news is that the combat is extremely simplistic. Oh, the helpful little prompts will make it seem a little complicated by talking about parrying and going in for a slow motion impaling move or just jumping on enemies for a "tricky" attack of sorts and some other stuff, but all you'll really need most of the time is a quick swipe of the sword that's floating in front of you, like as if she can control it with telekinesis or something. Enemies aren't really a threat - the most they can do to you is shoot or whack you right upside the head with their weapons, but as long as you can repeatedly press the attack button, these guys are your bitches. The funny thing is that the final boss will require you to cleverly use what you'd learned throughout the game - unfortunately, because you probably haven't been using these attacks much, you'll be screwed for a while.
Well, there is some good to be had, but it's in spades - the platforming. As well as the typical running and jumping, Kit is able to use her claws to climb up walls and ceilings - who does she think she is, Spiderman? If you're just aiming to beat levels, prepare for a lot of disappointment, because there is very little platforming to do. However, who said that you had to go along the linear path, when you can explore? Exploration usually nets you extra money or "Hexes" as its called here, and.. that's about it, but hey, it's better than a dead end, am I right?
Sometimes, you'll be able to use animals to aid you in your quest. You have a squirrel who can fly and fit into small spaces, and a lizard ostrich hybrid that Kit can ride on to jump bigger distances and can smash through rocks with its head. Unfortunately, aside from their little things, they don't really add much to the game... yeah, I know I was meant to keep your spirits up, but talking about the animals before even touching on the platforming just seems weird and out of place, wouldn't you reckon - and even then, I couldn't notice anything positive nor negative with this one, well, except for the fact that the animals just did their little parts, and then it's back to Kit, making me think "gee, what was the point of that" before moving on.
You'll be able to use Hexes to purchase upgrades, although that kind of confuses me, because I thought Kit was already super powered. Well, I guess Krome Studios thought Kit was meant to be even stronger than Chuck Norris, with stronger weapons and even more health, though your current weapon does a decent amount of damage and your health regenerates at a fast rate when you're not getting your ass kicked (and I doubt you will, unless you suck at video games). Then again, you get trophies/achievement points for getting everything, so if you're a trophy/achievement hound, go for it, but if not, then only in an emergency if you're really getting your ass handed to you, should you then go for it.
Like a Saturday morning cartoon.
The graphics are pretty good. Thanks to the cel shaded style it adopts (presumably because its based off of a webcomic and it wouldn't make sense to have it all realistic like), the surroundings and character models are pretty colorful, giving the game this happy aesthetic, and manages to look like something out of an anime. It appeals mostly to those who already like the look of Japanese animation, though it's at least tame enough to not piss off detractors. The only problem seems to arise during cutscenes where the models look shiny, almost plastic... like as if they forgot to finish rendering the characters. That, or they're wearing too much make up, but for some reason, I'm going more towards the former.
Sounds of an alien rainforest.
The audio aspect of the game is a little mixed. Nothing terrible thankfully, but not everything is good. The soundtrack is pretty lacking. No matter how many times I listen to each of the tracks, they don't do anything. They don't emit any emotions, nor do they enhance the atmosphere - they're just there. As for the voice acting, it's actually pretty good. The performances of the actors certainly make cutscenes more interesting to watch and listen to, even if the story isn't much to pay attention to on its own. They're over the top, yeah, but nothing that's really grating, so there's no problem there.
If you feel that you have to play a sidescroller...
...then you may want to play through Shank or Super Meat Boy instead. They've got a lot more content than Blade Kitten will ever have. Blade Kitten never strives to be excellent. The name of the game is to be as average as possible, with no thrills or anything that'll entice anybody to pick it up. Oh, and apparently, this is just episode 1, so we'll see how episode 2 improves things-- oh wait, Krome Studios died. Never mind.
A simple premise that could've evolved into coolness galore, but instead, just feels disjointed and all over the place. The characters are at least interesting.
It strives for excellence, but it doesn't have its priorities sorted out. There's a fair amount of combat, but it's easy as hell. There isn't much in terms of platforming, and its platforming isn't half bad.
It functions well enough, allowing you to do your thing with the press of a button. Layout is something that'll take a little bit of time to get used to.
Feels unfinished. Probably because cutscenes look shinier than normal. Quite a shame - the rest of the graphics are pretty good, given the style and whatnot.
Background music is just that - background music. The voice acting makes the story more tolerable, as it makes the dialogue seem funny with some over the top acting.
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