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itch-Lit with Rohil: Catlateral Damage

itch-Lit🔥 is a play journal by Rohil, exploring the ever-expanding collection of brilliantly bizarre indie darlings on itch.io  — published exclusively on All Ages of Geek!

Catlateral Damage is Manekoware’s first-person destructive cat simulator. You play as an adorable menace — a furball of sheer chaotic energy hurling your way through your surroundings, knocking as much stuff onto the ground as possible. 

I was mildly put off by the ironically-cringe, yet legitimately-cringe infomercial for the game, but the wholesome aesthetic was too powerful to dismiss. The play experience is delightful, assuming the role of rampaging kitty and smacking objects around is oddly cathartic and meditative. You hit a trance-like state through the flow of play, hopping from shelf to kitchen counter, swiping paws, and relieving stress. A favorite: Manekoware’s take on the typical first-person shooter reticle.

The controls are easy to pick up, and the physics work well, even with all the fun power-ups, including moon-jumping and speed boosts—also, a forcefield for maximum toppling power. Most of the power-ups are collected via “events” in which a power-up drops, or a mouse needs catching. There are also cat towers, and beds you can interact with to collect a power-up. 

There are a variety of objects you’ll get to knock over, and the 3D-modeling truly shines. The cell-shaded graphics are perfect, and the color palettes thoughtful and engaging throughout. I was especially fond of the game console models and the dinosaur skeleton in the museum stage. (Knowing the premise of the game and then finding out there’s a museum stage released all the goddamn serotonin in my body). 

Pushing off the single sheets of paper is surprisingly the most challenging element to deal with — it would have been great to rip ’em up instead, perhaps this is an ability I’ve yet to unlock. Stages are procedurally-generated, adding some replay value. I am fully invested in unlocking all the playable cats. Also, the 230 photos of real-life cats are a real treat.

There is no larger narrative to get lost within. The game is very much a sandbox, offering some fun interaction and opportunities to decompress through brief intervals of play.

I give this game two 🐱🐱 and a single 🍩 out of 5. 

Play Catlateral Damage

Epilepsy warning: Some in-game effects may be problematic for some players. These can be disabled under the “Audio/Visual” tab of the “Options” menu on the title screen.

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