Author: Tod Levi
Development System: Inform
Cruelty Rating: Nasty
Length of Play: 3-4 hours
My Rating: 5
When I first discovered interactive fiction in the late 90’s and learned that the public now had tools to develop their own games, my first story idea was to design a game where the player controlled a cat. I gave up on the idea when I realized I had a hard time coming up with a good story with good puzzles that made sense.
Levi makes a valiant attempt here. Your initial goal is to simply get some damn food, and this was the part of the game I enjoyed the most. For the most part, the puzzles here fit within the scope of a feline’s abilities if requiring more foresight than they usually have. However, the final two thirds of the game where you must foil a stronger enemy and save your provider’s life more than stretches the limits of what a cat is able (and willing, in some cases) to do. Thus, the game feels at times like a generic puzzlefest with a cat built into the game, rather than the other way around.
I wound up using the in-game hints and a walkthrough for a good portion of this because a couple of the puzzles required some leaps of logic (particularly one involving setting a trap) and some reasonable alternative solutions were neither implemented nor acknowledged. I was also annoyed by the map, wherein you are frequently doing things like moving north to go northeast, then west to go back southwest whence you came.
The writing is solid and there are several delightful responses to things you can try in your feline body. I just wish it had focused even more on the typical life of a cat.