Blade Kitten . revieW
I like cats. They're cute, soft and you never know when they might attack you. The same is true for the protagonist of Blade Kitten, a sort of cat-girl named Kit Ballard that's the last of her species. Too bad, as this bounty hunter is completely adorable, sporting pink hair, a pink tail, and a sharp blade that floats behind her like an adoring fan.
The presentation is the best part of Blade Kitten. Although some of the building structures can be ugly, the cel-shaded environments are easy on the eyes, but areas get recycled often. The voice acting is well done and helps keep up the playful tone of the title and Kit's platforming animations are fluid, though she can get stuck in structures. Unfortunately, Blade Kitten relies too heavily on its anime-style charm, which doesn't translate to other areas of the title.
An action-platformer that incorporates some light puzzle elements, Blade Kitten's monotonous gameplay makes you want to stuff it in a canvas bag and toss it into the nearest body of water. Defeating your foes only requires you to mash two buttons: one for melee attacks and one for long ranged assaults. There's a special attack you can unleash when you've built up the meter by killing enough people, but it's just an animation sequence that doesn't target particular people, just anybody that happens to get in the way, so be careful when you trigger it.
When you get swarmed (and you will, especially toward the end of the game) you can protect yourself by holding down the melee button, which creates a safety bubble for Ballard to regain some health. Besides your health meter, which is represented by a pink circle around an anime picture of Kit's face, there's a blue circle surrounding the same area that signifies her stamina level. Stamina is required for sprinting, blocking and ranged attacks, so its helpful for staying alive.
The combat system's biggest downfalls are its simplicity and repetition, which made my brain go slightly numb. Even the one major boss fight in the game doesn't require more thought than dealing with the rest of the hoardes. Enemies are only difficult when they bunch up on you, and when they do, it's impossible to stave them all off. In fact, I spent a majority of the ending just running away from things because they would keep spawning over and over. Another irritating element is that Kit can only fight on a 2D plane but your enemies are in a 3D environment, so it's possible for them to stand out of range while they shoot at you and there's nothing you can do about it. Lame.
While the battling is dull at best, the platforming can be enjoyable. Kit moves with a nimbleness found in most felines, and she flips, slides and sticks to certain surfaces with ease. Traversing the levels is easier said than done though. Blade Kitten infuses some straightforward puzzles, but the thing you'll struggle with the most is the level design. I often thought I was heading in the right direction only to find that I really just stumbled upon a dead end with a treasure chest instead. Sure, I found a lot of cash, but I really just wanted to get to the end of the game.
Mixed in intermittently are mount sections with a creature called a Noot, which is essentially a pink Chocobo without feathers. There are bits of currency, called Hex, littered everywhere throughout the levels, and your main goal in areas with the wannabe-Chocobo is to explore and get money. Once you reach the store, you can use Hex to purchase om noms to boost your health and stamina levels as well as new blades and outfits. There are other unlockable outfits, including the skins of other characters that you can obtain by gathering collectible items scattered throughout the game. It's important to note that I only modified my Kit once (I nabbed the cheapest health upgrade) and still managed to beat the game without much trouble.
Hmm, now how will I get through these lasers?
If you were hoping for an intriguing storyline, Blade Kitten doesn't deliver there either. Instead of a coherent plot, you get a convoluted tale that never builds up to a proper climax before leaving you on a cliffhanger. If you're going to create an episodic game, you should probably make sure that the story is interesting so people actually care about what's going to happen next. Beginning with Kit chasing after fellow bounty hunter Justice, a blonde-haired bitch (but fully human, not a dog-girl) that stole her Breaker key and blew up her ship, the narrative takes a bunch of twists and turns to avoid getting to the ending too quickly. Not only that, but you end up helping the same people that continually attack you. Kit isn't too smart apparently and that's not her only stupid move. By the time you figure out what the point of Blade Kitten's first episode is, the game ends with a "To Be Continued."