The biggest problem that the game has is that there's nothing within the gameplay to allow the player to get into the theme of the game. The objectives are extremely simple - knock so many items to the floor before time runs out, and unlock new cat models to use as you go.
Everything, from controls to sounds to the physics engine itself contributes little to the theme and enjoyment of the game. Your "cat" slides rather than walks - even on carpet - it doesn't know how to take a running leap and it jumps and lands like a square box rather than a living thing that has incredibly flexible joints. The first person view certainly doesn't help matters here - at no point do you ever feel like more than a floating camera with two paws attached.
Your cat can't climb. Ours can climb up the living room wall and hang from it. Here? Nope. You just float into an object and slide down it.
Release Date: 27/05/2015
Available on: PC
Play the Game
Where's the Mess?
That's not the only area where the game does a poor job of delivering an engaging experience, either. All of the objects are boxy, cell-shaded models. That's fine. It's quite refreshing to see a cell-shading style for once. Sadly, all objects act as if they weigh the same, none of them make a sound when they hit the floor (the only sounds you'll hear are the swish of your paws and a horrible low fidelity ‘impact' sound when you hit something) and none of them break!
Yes, this is a game all about making a mess where liquids don't spill and fragile ornaments don't shatter. Anything that could be vaguely rewarding has been stripped out of the gameplay and it makes for a very dull and sterile experience.
Your paws don't always feel like solid objects, either. While they will knock things off, it somehow feels as if they're never really making contact with anything - the objects don't quite react in the way that it looks like they should. This is especially true when it comes to batting hanging objects such as toilet paper - your paw waves in front of the roll and it magically spins. Another example of visual feedback being neglected.
However, the game does have a few saving graces. There are a large amount of models and pictures to unlock, meaning that if you do enjoy the game you'll have plenty of achievements and goals to work toward.
The levels are procedurally generated, which can be both a blessing and a curse, but in this case they at least ensure that you don't end up playing through the same level twice if you ran out of time.
Power ups and random events can trigger as you spend time in a level, asking you to catch a mouse or changing the gravity of the house. Power ups come in the form of swat power, speed and jumping boosts, which make it much easier to push objects off and get to hard to reach places.
For those that just want to have a relaxing experience, ‘litterbox' mode allows the player to destroy someone's neat and tidy home without the time limit - the level ends when you've successfully knocked every object to the floor. Certainly a nice addition to the game for people who could do without being rushed around.
What Could have been done Better?
The game could have been so much enjoyable if only a little more attention were paid to the final details. Work with the camera to make it feel more like you're controlling an animal. Perhaps adding a third person view would have been worth the extra modelling and animation effort - something that lets you actually see that cute cat model that you've just unlocked. Extra work could have gone into the physics engine that would allow the player to make more of an actual mess of the place. Sound assets could have been made to give the objects some tangible properties - any of these suggestions would have made the player experience more fulfilling.
To wrap up, I don't feel that Catlateral Damage is a game I'd spend €9.99 on. I really can't recommend it in its current state. The few redeeming features are not enough to overcome the major problems that I encountered during my time with it. Your money can be spent better elsewhere.
Play the Game
Catlateral Damage is developed by Chris Chung , Fire Hose Games.