Blade Kitten Review

By Stephen Johnson - Posted Oct 05, 2010

Blade Kitten is an appealing bright little downloadable 2D platformer that offers an adorable main character who's half cat and half cute girl, bubblegum bright colors, and an overall charming, funny, and colorful vibe. It's the equivalent of gaming cotton candy – exciting and sweet, but ultimately without nutritional value.

The Pros
  • Cel-shaded style graphics are bubblegum bright and colorful
  • Reliable Controls and well-done animations
  • Extensive exploration
The Cons
  • Lack of difficulty and enemies are easily defeated
  • Long levels adds up to repetitive gameplay and boredom
  • Weapon, health and costume upgrades useless in gameplay

Blade Kitten is based on a web comic, and stars Kit Ballard, an interstellar bounty hunter with a cat’s ears, tail and abilities. The pink-haired protagonist has a wicked wit, and sharpened claws. My kind of girl!  The plot will be incomprehensible to those not familiar with the source material, although the nonsensical story is attractively presented in brief cartoon-style scenes.

Basically, Kit runs afoul of a number of lightweight baddies, and defeats them with her sarcastic wit, pink hair and jumping-around prowess. In other words, the plot isn’t important compared to the platforming.

 


 


A Hero For Furries Everywhere

Because of her feline nature, our hero Kit Ballard is able to scale walls, walk across ceilings and survive high falls, giving the players the ability to find a ton of hidden areas all over the game’s many levels. There are seemingly endless hidden areas holding chests, items and the all-important Hex, the game’s equivalent of gold coins. You’ll collect hundreds of thousands of Hex throughout the game, in the form of different color floating baubles.

The controls are relatively responsive and tight, with Kit able to hop onto walls and ceilings with no effort at all. The animations are appealing and very well done.

Kit has a couple companions in her journey – a small flying animal of no earthly genus named Skiffy, and, more importantly, her floating, psychic sword, Blade. Kit can fight her enemy with no hands, throwing her sword with mind powers, and dealing out different attacks against the hordes of enemies that are out to the get cat-girl. Blade Kitten also has a slide attack, a ground pound attack, and other, blade-specific special attacks, all of which are displayed in smooth, impressive animations. It’s a relatively deep combat system, but one that proves unnecessary in the end – the game’s many enemies offer little challenge, and you can boil combat down to simple one-button mashing.

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Cat Girls Are Easy

It’s not just the combat that’s simple in Blade Kitten. There is little challenge offered by any portion of this game. Balancing the difficulty of a platformer is a tricky proposition, but Blade Kitten errs hugely on the side of “Easy,” and while the visuals show a definite style and flair, and the cut scenes are amusing, after awhile of running through endlessly long levels with no challenges in sight, the game becomes tedious.

There are frequent checkpoints, so even if you do miss a ledge or sleep on an enemy attack, you won’t pay anything but a perfunctory price. The puzzles are simple too, and while there are a few vehicle levels and boss battles to break up the running, then jumping, action, these are too few and too easy to keep Blade Kitten compelling.

Even if you’re really into exploratory gameplay, there is little reward for the vast collections of Hex you’ll build up from accessing the many, many hidden areas in the games huge levels. While Blade Kitten features an upgrade system, giving you the chance to improve and change your blade, add health or just alter your look, the combat is so easy, you don’t really need a better blade for your enemies and you won’t need a health upgrade either. The costumes do nothing but make Kit cuter. I especially liked her pajamas with fuzzy slippers.

Without a challenge in the gameplay, and with very lightweight villains, there’s nothing to give any kind of weight to Blade Kitten. I understand Atari is going for a lighthearted and for awhile, it’s an appealingly, amusing little game, but it’s ultimately so weightless it’s in danger of floating away.

The game’s final boss battle combines platforming and combat, and offers a glimpse of what could have been with this title. Challenging, impressive, and calling for the use of all the skills you’ve been honing for its many levels, Blade Kitten’s final boss will make you say, “Finally! Something to sink my teeth into!” but it’s over too soon.

 


 


Pajama Joke?

Blade Kitten has a lot going for it, with its appealing characters and presentation, and is interesting enough to have me looking forward to the next episode. I only hope Krome and Atari tinker around a bit with the game’s difficulty and offer platformer fans a challenge worthy of their badass, feline protagonist.