No Pussy Blues: Blade Kitten Demo

By Kieron Gillen on September 24th, 2010 at 4:00 pm.

If I was any less hungover, I'm sure there would be a whole load of jokes I could put here. Er... the one on the right looks like Gwenno from the Pipettes. Maybe some gag about the Pipettes turn-over of members? Okay - got it. Pretend I'm starting again. 'Pipettes V3's group dynamics were proving somewhat less than ideal.' Yes.

Catgirls, eh? Based on the comic series, you play Kit Ballard, presumably named after both one of RPS’ fave authors and fave chocolate-covered-wafer biscuit (Except for Drifters). You get up to stuff, seemingly in a left-right-scrolling fashion. You can find more out on the site, download the demo here or even buy the thing on steam for ten quid from Steam or Gamersgate. Some footage? I think so.


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65 Comments »

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  1. LewieP says:

    and where do I click to forget it ever existed?

  2. Dominic White says:

    This game has gotten almost universal hate/derision from the internet at large, but I actually found it surprisingly solid. If you’ve ever played Strider, you know the rough idea. Now take that and make it a bit slower/heavier, but set across huge explorable levels with tons of secret areas.

    It’s a throwback to 90s gaming, with a story straight out of early 2000s mangasploitation cheesyness. I kinda like it. It’s nothing amazing, but it’s solid fun.

    • DrGonzo says:

      Strider is the best 2d platformer ever possibly. Though this doesn’t look like you can chop up the Russian government after they turn into some kind of Human Centipede.

    • Wulf says:

      Yep, this a lot of boxes on my personal checklist for games wot I like, too.

      – Fun? Check!
      – Bright and colourful? Check!
      – Visually cohesive? Check!
      – Knows how to be/have fun without contradicting itself? Check!
      – Lovely and charming in its own way? Check!
      – (Optional) Cheesy Humour? Check!

      It’s not perfect, and yet, I like it a lot more than I’ve liked most of what gaming has offered me lately. Things like this, Minecraft, Recettear, and the upcoming Guild Wars 2 make me all happy and hopeful, it’s a very unusual feeling and I’m quite unaccustomed to it. Can we have more games like those and this one, please? Not less, more. Please, developers? Thanks.

    • mihor_fego says:

      As Wulf said.

      Especially those among us that grew up on side-scrolling action platformers, this is great. “Serious” games are ok, but you can’t play Amnesia all day. For some time now it was “casual” games that did the job of breaking the immersion and lightening up the mood, but I missed some old style action. Also expecting the new Tomb Raider platformer to compliment my Amiga and coin-op nostalgia.

      Criticism on this will probably be harsh because of the anime style, but I find this a lot more solid in aesthetics than the Matrix / Deus Ex that’s on the way. Pink hair over cyber-sunglasses any day.

  3. Al3xand3r says:

    Played it for an hour or so, everything is of pretty great quality and you can see a lot of love and effort went into it but to me the core controls just didn’t feel right and didn’t grow on me, and that’s obviously game breaking if it happens to you, so I’m not gonna get it.

    • Dominic White says:

      It took me a bit of time to adjust to how the movement works, but like it now. It takes a second to get up to full normal running speed, and a moment longer to get up to sprint speeds as well. You can launch yourself across huge distances with a run-up, though. And I dig that you can climb on 90% of walls and ceilings. And there’s reason to, too – all those secret areas I mentioned.

  4. Tacroy says:

    I was on Team Recettear during the fights we had here about art styles, but I have to say – this game is just jarring. I’m downloading the demo because I want a good platformer, but judging from the trailers I’m not sure I’ll be able to stomach the art.

    And oh god the sound. The voices are terrible, the environmental effects are weak… there’s just so much wrong with this game, art-wise.

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    Lambchops says:

    Thumbs up to KG for the song reference.

  6. Saint says:

    I must be the only one who likes the art-style, so simple yet detailed. Game doesn’t take itself seriously and it shows, nice change with all the emphasis on realism lately.

    • Dominic White says:

      Wow. Someone else liked it. That makes… two people! Last person I showed the demo said that it made him physically ill.

    • Wulf says:

      Three people!!

      Does it really surprise anyone that I like this? It really, really, really shouldn’t. It’s just a light-hearted bit of fun. It’s harmless, and I dig it. Anyone else ever think that gaming/gamers have become a bit too much serious and pretentious of late? And I’m not talking about the games-as-art crowd, either.

  7. po says:

    For some reason I’m reminded of the cartoon Storm Hawks, but I’m also thinking “in no way exudes pure awsomeness quite like Storm Hawks does” (but then looking at the very dull trailer for that, I’m thinking Blade Kitten may actually be the better of the two).

  8. andy says:

    aweful.
    not deleted a demo game as quickly in a long time.

  9. sink257 says:

    Oh god furries

    • Wulf says:

      Lrn2Internet. That’s a cat girl, the correct sociopathically-fueled insult would be ‘Oh God, weeaboos’, or ‘Oh God, otakus’.

    • Thants says:

      It funny how we make fun of furries, but then the most successfully movie of all time is about becoming sexy cat people.

    • Saiko Kila says:

      What is that movie?

    • Collic says:

      Avatar? (which is a crap-fest of course)

  10. Eclipse says:

    I kinda liked it, it’s well made and it shows. But do I really need to speak about the “homing jumps”? I mean, you do an action platformer, and you make it phyisically impossible to players to FAIL a jump?? I never expected a “megaman hard” game from this one, but damn it, who’s the genius that thought that having the character never miss a single jump and automagically stick to every platform a good thing?

    • Dominic White says:

      You mean the little mini-platforms with the blue sparkles highlighting them? They’re pretty rare, and are used for pole-to-pole swinging scenes mostly. The general platforming is never very hard, though. You do have freedom to climb on any surface except for a few particularly slippery ones.

      I’ve found a lot of fun in exploring, though. The levels are big and have tons of secret areas. Usually 15-20 a level.

  11. Tacroy says:

    On a side note: why the hell does Steam spend five minutes trying to install DirectX every time I install a new game?

    • MWoody says:

      This one bothers me, too. Including the DirectX and Virtual C++ redistributables in every download really defeats one of the purposes of not just compiling it into the code.

    • Tei says:

      Probably because the other option is to make everyone agree on make the installers smart. Since you can’t make everyone agree in one thing, you go for the best next thing: asume the worst, a computer that has nothing installed.

    • DigitalSignalX says:

      This bugs me as well. How hard would it be to add a script to the install-shield-wizard thingy to check the registry for the versions of various run time do-dads? Then it can remove or add them within the install queue just like most seem to do now with multiplayer options like GFWL or Gamespy.

    • Alexander Norris says:

      Because there are different versions of DirectX, and it would be irresponsible for it not to check that you have all the required components every time you install a new game.

    • po says:

      But that’s the job of Windows Update!

    • Tacroy says:

      But that’s just the thing – checking for DirectX Whatever should take less than a second; I shouldn’t even see the pop-up. Instead it took about long enough for me to write that comment, puzzle out the captcha, and do some more bitching in my head.

      Seriously, what the hell DirectX guys? Why is checking for compatibility with a specific version of DirectX more complicated than maybe looking at a couple of files, or just making an API call?

    • frymaster says:

      the directx installer is smart enough to not download anything if you’re up to date. so it’s really just a “directx version check” rather than a “directx install”… and just about every DVD game does that on install

      and given that a game was recently released on steam – worms – that crashed if your directx wasn’t up to date, and steam originally WASN’T doing the check, and there was tons of complaint threads… I think it’s justified

    • Tacroy says:

      Yes but no sane version checking methodology will take like two or three minutes. That’s the problem. Every time I install a game (and occasionally update, or sometimes just because), I have to sit there for two or three minutes while it checks to make absolutely sure that I have the right version of DirectX. These checks really don’t need to take an appreciable amount of time, and yet they somehow do.

      You’d think this would be something Valve would roll into Steam or something, or that Microsoft would actually implement properly.

  12. sassy says:

    I quite like it. Got problems but I will be buying it on release.

  13. Hippo says:

    It should be out already on Steam.

    I think it looks neat. I don’t understand the crazed “omg! furry!”-response to it, but then again I grew up before the internet came along.

  14. Taedirk says:

    You know what it reminds me of? The Fruity Oaty Bars commercials from Serenity. Only with a catgirl. It’s a very solid platformer that brings about 90s nostalgia. Two complaints; there’s no kind of introduction to the storyline (which makes the first 5 minutes really damn confusing) and the game is locked at 30 fps due to a crappy physics engine. 7-8 of 10 for the numbers crowd, and not too shabby for $15.

  15. brog says:

    looks gorgeous when zoomed in, and horrible when zoomed out. which one do you spend most of the time in?

    • Consumatopia says:

      I have exactly the opposite reaction to the trailer–I like the backgrounds and the way characters move around in play, but the for the zoomed-in scripted cut scenes, the cell-shaded-soulless-plastic-doll effect takes over and ruins everything.

  16. Wulf says:

    The more I play this, the more I adore it. I actually really dig the controls, the grab mechanic is really nifty, and I’ve been finding lots of secrets by just randomly groping at ceilings and the like, instead of battling my way through things like I’m probably expected to.

    There are just so many neat touches though, even like the face in the the center of the health orb changing depending on what kind of damage you take. That’s got a few good chuckles out of me, thus far, and it’s also led me to throw poor Blade Kitten into various types of harm that I might have otherwise avoided just to see what happens at the bottom-left, there. *coughs.*

    I love about this what I loved about VVVVVV really, it’s my childhood, but it’s new ideas, new mechanics, it’s more friendly and understanding of me being an old fart now, it’s also very modern, it doesn’t look like shite, it’s kind of like what you remember these games like through the rose-tinted glasses of nostalgia, before you go back and find out that they looked atrocious and had awful controls, and punished you and treated you like a bitch for just experimenting and wanting to try things, forcing you to replay entire levels just because you thought something was a secret when really it was a death-trap.

    It’s the past, fixed. It’s Retro: Perfect, so to speak. It’s like going back to these old games that I loved when I was so much younger, taking the things I did like, like the colourful ambiance, the charm, the novelty, the sheer absurdity of it all (whilst somehow not contradicting itself to Blizzardian degrees), the quirkyness, the unashamed over-the-top cheesyness and… modernising it, making it a game for today’s audiences, doing it right, learning from the past and those mistakes.

    I love this as much as I did VVVVVV and… well, Metroid Fusion, which was another good example of taking the past and doing things a little bit better. It wasn’t perfect, but it was a massive step up over Super Metroid. Sacrilege, I know, but if you go back and play Super Metroid today, it’s nowhere near as great as one remembers, it’s actually quite bad. Not saying that all modern redos of nostalgia are good though, Other M is rather hilariously bad. At least, IMO.

    Still, more good exploitation of my nostalgia, please. My appetite for this sort of thing may never be sated.

    • Wulf says:

      To add to this, I think there must be something wrong with me, at least as a gamer. I haven’t smiled this much at a game since VVVVVV, it’s that mix of exploration, and platforming, and observation, and thinking, and puzzle-solving, all in one tidy package. You really have to be willing to poke the world with a curiousity stick to get the most out of it, and I do that well, clambering, climbing, poking… it’s like if there’s a subset of gaming archetypes, I must be the archaeologist.

      The combat is awesome, granted, I love how that sword works, and I really dig the variety of foes and gameplay styles, but the best part of all of it is just finding the secrets, it’s crawling into the secret little nooks and crevices that the people of that world either don’t know about or don’t want you to find very easily. It’s seeing every last secret, and having stood in every location the developers have hand crafted for me to stand around in, looking all proud and pleased with myself.

      I really, really, really do want more happy, silly, leapy, explorey-findy, puzzle-solvey type games. I think that it’s the merit of exploration in games like this, and any game that focuses around exploration, really. They know I’m going to climb that mountain, they know I’m going to dodge all those obstacles, they know nothing is going to stop me, and I know that they’ve put something awesome for me to find or see right at the top there, at the perigee of that expedition.

      Leap higher, Blade Kitten. Reach for the sky.

      *goes back to playing the game, with a rather broad, silly grin on his face.*

    • Tacroy says:

      I’ve been playing the demo, Wulf, and I really can’t agree with you about the secrets – moving this kitten around is more like maneuvering a Panzer Jaeger than controlling a small, athletic creature. She’s just so slow and unresponsive, I find it almost physically painful to backtrack through the secret caves after I’ve found them.

      And the controls make me mad. Why did they decide to that the jump button was going to be the drop down button? When I hit jump, I expect the character to do things that will generally get me higher, not just let go and fall down. A better choice would have been the slide button, because that one at least means something along the lines of “down”.

      Also maybe the demo just didn’t have any interesting combat, but it seemed to consist primarily of the 2D equivalent of W+M1 – just mash the attack button and move forward. The only strategy was that when those swords guys go nuts you have to block for a bit, but that’s really it.

    • Wulf says:

      “I’ve been playing the demo, Wulf, and I really can’t agree with you about the secrets – moving this kitten around is more like maneuvering a Panzer Jaeger than controlling a small, athletic creature. She’s just so slow and unresponsive, I find it almost physically painful to backtrack through the secret caves after I’ve found them.”

      I wonder if there’s a VVVVVV style issue going in here, then. See, the thing is, I waltzed through the first level (the demo) and picked up all the secrets with great ease, and I know I’m not a great gamer, and that’s not just my lack of confidence talking, either. It’s pretty obvious to me that there are better gamers out there than me, I rank at around average, if not slightly below.

      So the only other explanation is that there’s something going on here which is making the controls less responsive on certain computers or certain setups. This was the case with VVVVVV and some people were seeing weird side effects because of that. For example, some people reported having really slippy, slidey controls and this was something that I’d never seen and terry couldn’t really track down either (though he did toss in a bunch of options to try and deal with it).

      This is the thing with the PC, you never know when a problem is going to crop up, and two players might never see the same problem, in fact, certain problems might only be witnessed by a very small per centage of the playerbase. I’m not saying that those problems aren’t real, they are (see the issues a small minority had with stuttering in Half-Life 2), but it’s near impossible to fix unless the developer can track down an exact cause, and they might not even be aware that a problem exists.

      But since I found the controls so intuitive, I can only assume that A) I’m some kind of god gamer (I’m not), B) the controls just worked for me for reasons beyond my comprehension (they just felt right), or C) there’s a software problem going on here, one that’s making the game unresponsive for some people. The most likely option to be true seems to be C, to me. Try playing it on another computer and see if you find the controls just as bad.

      “And the controls make me mad. Why did they decide to that the jump button was going to be the drop down button? When I hit jump, I expect the character to do things that will generally get me higher, not just let go and fall down.”

      This also suggests to me that you’re experiencing a bug, there. The jump button is not the drop down button. Even the tutorial tells you this explicitly at one point, if you want to jump down then you actually have to press down and jump at the same time. If you’re complaining about that, then… what’s your hand doing pressing the down and jump keys in tandem in the first place? So either you have bad manual dexterity (which I doubt), or there be goblins at play, here. By goblins I mean bugs, specifically, which I find to be a much more likely scenario.

      “A better choice would have been the slide button, because that one at least means something along the lines of “down”.”

      Which it does, as stated by the tutorial. 98% convinced at the moment that you’re experiencing bugs.

      “Also maybe the demo just didn’t have any interesting combat, but it seemed to consist primarily of the 2D equivalent of W+M1 – just mash the attack button and move forward.”

      It was only the first level. Usually first levels are designed to be easy and tutorial-like, to ease the player into the game. The full game has 19 levels, the demo is just one of them.

      “The only strategy was that when those swords guys go nuts you have to block for a bit, but that’s really it.”

      Or you could gracefully leap over them and stab them in the back. That’s what I usually do.

    • Wulf says:

      Out of curiosity (just to help rule out some factors in trying to narrow this down), how are you controlling the game? What did you opt for?

    • Tacroy says:

      Wulf: Perhaps I am, but I just loaded up the demo again to confirm that I’m not crazy – if you’re hanging with a wall above you and press space (without pressing down) you’ll drop. Indeed, I tried it exactly where the tutorial says to press down and jump to let go :). How about you try it out and see if it’s just something they changed from the demo? (also I’m using the keyboard and mouse since you asked)

      And I’m not sure there’s any real responsiveness issues here aside from the game itself – Kit just seems to move like she’s encased in jello or something. As an example: if you are moving forward and let the button go, Kit’s momentum takes her an entire stride and a half forward! What?

      Also if you’re moving forward at full speed (not sprinting with shift, just normal full speed which takes three or four steps) and start going in the opposite direction, Kit goes in to this slidey animation where she sticks her leg out, presumably to help her turn around or something. During this slidey animation (which lasts about half a second!) Kit completely ignores all input – you can’t jump, you can’t cancel out of it and continue going in the same direction, you can’t do anything. She’s sliding and there’s jack shit you can do about it.

      Or how about the fact that if you double jump after hitting a boost pad, it cancels your boost? Try it, jump on to a boost pad and immediately hit jump again. You won’t get anywhere near the boost pad’s height!

      And then there’s the fact that the double jump is really random when it applies. After a triple jump (nice Mario 64 reference there, too – if you jump twice in a row, she does a forward flip, three times she does a higher spinny jump)? Nope, can’t do a double jump. After jumping off a normal wall? Nope. After jumping off a slippery wall? Nope. Occasionally just because? Nope.

      And just in general, she’s tooooo slooooooow. I would expect a huge hulking space marine to move like that, not a theoretically acrobatic catgirl.

      Basically: the controls in this game are simply not good enough. They shouldn’t have needed to make those glowy purple things you always land on; the controls should be good enough that you can land on them yourself, and they’re just not.

      I’m not saying the demo was hard – actually it was pretty trivially easy – it’s just that the controls were not fun to use, and need serious serious tightening up.

      Though I will say that after having played it I’m okay with the art now.

    • Tacroy says:

      Oh and in re: graceful jump and stab in the back – that doesn’t work for me at all. If they hit me with the first hit of their combo (and they can usually hit me out of the air with it, too) then I’m stunlocked for the duration of it unless I block.

  17. Samuel Bass says:

    Grinderman reference on RPS! My days is complete, and it’s only 10:15am (here).

  18. Dominic White says:

    A fair warning – if you are the sort of gruff and serious manly internet person who froths at the mouth at the use of such terms as ‘Ding!’ or ‘Win Get!’, then you will likely go into siezures within two minutes of this game. That, and the protagonist is a pink catgirl with a fluffy tail.

    Bonus points to the enemy soldiers shouting “Situation, code Oscar Mike Golf!’ though. Unless you hate that too.

    • Wulf says:

      “Situation, code Oscar Mike Golf!’

      I got a good chuckle out of that, too. :) It reminded me of the sort of reactions I have when playing Ratchet & Clank games: Did I hear that ri–did they really… what, wait… yes, yes they did!! Hahaha.

      Stuff like that makes me smile, and I bet those silly red soldiers have a Watson Tango Fletcher code, too.

    • jon_hill987 says:

      It certainly isn’t made with the Gears of Modern Warfare crowd in mind…

    • Wulf says:

      “It certainly isn’t made with the Gears of Modern Warfare crowd in mind…”

      To be honest, I think it would cause a Hard Gay Reaction™ in the minds of members of that particular crowd. That specifically being: Traumatised, hoo!!!

      Which is a shame, because they’re probably the market share of gaming-kind at the moment. Still, I hope this game will do well.

    • mihor_fego says:

      Can I get a Hard Gay game, please?

      Old skool side scrolling beat em up that uses “Traumtized, Hoo!!!” as the special move cry. Enemies can be clones of Master Chief and Markus Fenix, please.

  19. ulix says:

    Looked at the picture and thought: meh.

    Looked a the trailer and exclaimed: WOOT! I need to play this immediatly!

  20. DevilSShadoW says:

    I can’t say i dislike this game. The humor is definitely pleasing and the art style is beautiful as well. As for the gameplay, im not huge fan of sidescrollesr but this is definitely a nice tribute to some good old timers.

  21. Zogtee says:

    This will sell for pocket change in the Steam Christmas Sale.

  22. Ryuga says:

    The gameplay sorta reminds me of castlevania: symphony of the night. But of course Alucard was way cuter. And yeah, over the top gothy crazy is a pretty sweet style, too.

  23. Dominic White says:

    Welp, just beat it. Good game, solid length. Possibly a bit easy overall, really. My main gripe now is that it’s just Episode 1. It was decently long, but it’s still only the first act of the story. There was one enemy type they introduced on the final level, and there was only one of them. Feels like they were holding back.

    I hope that they make enough money to produce the other episodes – I’d assume two more, if they’re going for a three-act kinda deal.

    Some nicely creative level design overall. The nightmare level was really smart. Clever use of 2.5d environment layouts. Overall, I’d say this is a solid 7/10, or ‘good, but could be better’. Given that I went in expecting it to be pretty terrible, I must say I’m very pleasantly surprised overall.

  24. cubed2d says:

    re the whole why do games keep trying to install directX/visual c++ runtime thing. Someone mentioned why they cant just check the registry. The reason is you cant. if you read the documentation on the MSDN (Microsoft Developer Network….. and im not suggesting you should :P), the only supported way to check for installed framework versions, in most cases is to run the installers. Its also probably a million times easier than figuring it out manually, the hard works allready done for you.

    In directXs case, the main version number may only go up every 2/3 years or so, but there are 4 SDK refrshes every year. DirectX is massive, and in most cases theres no reason to have all of it on your PC, just the bits rhe software you want to run needs. The reson a games installer calls the directX redistributable installer is to check your system has the right packages at the right versions to run. If it doesn’t, it downloads them.

  25. relenian says:

    FWIW, it looks like Wulf is correct regarding a variable control experience. I purchased this, and it is incredibly sluggish and delayed- dodging is impossible, the character alternates between ice physics and tank-like immobility. There must be some processing issue causing this- hopefully it gets fixed, because as it stands it’s infuriatingly unplayable.

  26. Max says:

    +1 for Nick Cave reference.

  27. Serenegoose says:

    I played the demo, enjoyed it enough… especially for the asking price. I’m considering buying it just to show my support. I’d hate to see a project like this vanish at episode 1. Like Trine, I have a major difficulty remembering that where the mouse is pointing is as important as where my character is facing, but hopefully I will overcome that.

    • Dominic White says:

      It really doesn’t handle that well with anything but a gamepad. Which is fine, really – mouse and keyboard were just not designed with this kinda thing in mind.

    • Wulf says:

      The weird thing is that I found the mouse & keyboard intuitive, and I had a blast playing it that way. But I definitely put this down to years of playing Abuse back in that particular era of PC gaming, Abuse was awesome, and both Trine and Blade Kitten use the Abuse control system, which I’m innately familiar with after playing that game so much.

  28. Corbeau says:

    I really didn’t think that I’d like this game, but playing the demo was like being transported back to the era of old-school PC platformers like Jazz Jackrabbit. Except now it’s got a modern engine.