Blade Kitten
Gameplay 6
Graphics 8
Sound 7

Blade Kitten is a nice platform game in a style that’s just not available on computer anymore. The visuals are nice, the characters likeable and the gameplay bar a few annoyances here and there is solid. It is obviously not going to appeal to the usual PC crowd but if you can appreciate a platform game that won’t tax your skills too much and stars a pink haired cat girl heroine then there’s no excuse not to pick this up.
Gameplay: It’s a little low on challenges and feels like it’s over too soon but definitely fun while it lasts with some nice replay value.

Graphics: Colorful shell-shaded visuals set this one apart from the pack.

Sound: The voices are ok and the music not too bad either. The theme song is damn catchy though

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Blade Kitten

Developer: Krome Studio | Publisher: Krome Studio | Release Date: 2010 | Genre: Indie Action / Platformer | Website: Official Website | Format: Digital Download

Fans of the Internet comic book series will need no introduction to Kit Ballard and her adventures, but to most people this game will be their first glimpse of the pink haired bounty hunter. How they will react to this game will be heavily dependent on how much they enjoy platform games though. This once thriving genre has fallen out of favor on PC so it is refreshing to see this game at least try.

The game apparently takes place before the events in the comic series, but if it was supposed to give more insight into the characters origins it didn’t do a very good job. Kit arrives on the planetoid “Hollow Wish” in pursuit of the bounty on the head of one Terra Li. She immediately makes a new rival, Justice Kreel, who blows up her ship and makes off with her breaker key to claim the bounty prize for herself. This lead me to believe that taking down Kreel and claiming the bounty on Terra Li would be my main purpose in the game but story wise all kinds of bizarre new twists kept popping up that didn’t always make sense or seem particularly relevant.

Visually Blade Kitten looks very nice and sports a funky cell shaded, anime style that suites it perfectly. Kit is as cute as you would expect a pink haired cat girl to be and smoothly animated to boot. The levels are large and vibrant, but could have benefited from a bit more variety. It’s cool to see scenes in the background that you can later reach and this makes the levels feel even larger. Kit is accompanied by her sidekick “Skiffy” which can be sent out to interact with some objects in the fore- or background, or to collect out of reach “Hex.” Hex is the currency in the game and litter the levels like coins in a Mario game. You don’t get any more old-school than this. The currency is used to buy cool new outfits for Kit or to upgrade her weapon, the “Darque Blade.”

Instead of getting blood on her paws (not that there is any in this game) Kit uses the Darque Blade as her primary weapon. It floats around following her ominously and with the tap of a button attacks at either close or long range. Not many enemies can stand against it, so to make things more challenging you are usually swarmed. Even this isn’t enough to raise the difficulty much and nobody should have any trouble completing this game. If Kit gets over-run she can use a dash or slide move to get out of harms way or even put up a shield, which makes her invulnerable but unable to move. Health regenerates automatically and Kit instantly respawns at the nearest checkpoint when killed. To give you an idea of how easy the game is there’s an achievement for dying nine times on one level. I didn’t manage to get it on my first playthrough of the game. About the biggest challenge is finding all the optional hidden treasure chests. Some levels sprawl in all directions and getting to the hidden areas require breaking through walls and floors.

The majority of time in Blade Kitten is spent in combat with one enemy faction or the other and liberal amounts of platform navigation in between. There are some cut-scenes to break up the action and further the plot as well as a few short sections on Noot back. What is a Noot you might ask? Well imagine a featherless pink Chocobo and you won’t be far off. I would have liked to see a bit more puzzle solving or interaction with items in the gameworld, but sadly that didn’t happen. Even the platforming doesn’t prove to be much of a challenge due to Kits generous health meter and invulnerability to falls. One section where you navigate pink laser beams of death hint at the potential the game had with regards to memorable challenges.

Of course, a platform game lives or dies by its controls and this is where Blade Kitten falters badly. Even when using an analogue gamepad it feels way too loose. Kit is very nimble and can climb walls and ceilings, so its puzzling why the controls haven’t been tightened more. Combat often comes down to button bashing and some sections like the final boss fight is let down by the controls. You will get used to it after a while, but it will never be totally comfortable, which might explain the forgiving nature of the game. The audio was passable but I wouldn’t exactly call myself a fan of the actress that provides Kit with a voice. Somehow her vocals doesn’t quite gel with Kits design but that’s just my opinion. After playing for a while some of her comments will start to grate as well. The rest of the limited cast provide some decent voices but nothing that stands out.

I still remember playing games like Commander Keen, Jill of the Jungle and Xargon on my PC and these fond memories have perhaps made me more lenient towards Blade Kitten. Despite all the niggles I still had fun with the game all the way through and don’t regret the purchase. At about five hours it felt like value for money considering I picked it up for a fiver. Blade Kitten has received some harsh reviews and the fact that this is Episode One with part two perhaps forever lost. It really is a shame as I for one would have liked to see more of the characters and setting.
*Update: After more than four years Episode 2 is finally being released!

System Requirements

  • OS: Windows XP SP2, Vista SP2, 7
  • Processor: Intel Core2 Duo 1.8 GHz or AMD Athlon X2 +3800 or better
  • Memory: 1GB RAM
  • Graphics: ATI Radeon X1800 or NVIDIA GeForce 7800 or better
  • DirectX®: DirectX 9.0c
  • Hard Drive: 3GB free
  • Sound: DirectX 9.0c-compatible
  • Other Requirements: Internet connection required
  • OS: Windows XP SP2, Vista SP2, 7
  • Processor: Intel Core2Duo E8400 or AMD Phenom II X2 555 or better
  • Memory: 2GB RAM
  • Graphics: ATI Radeon HD 3850 or NVIDIA GeForce 8800 or better
  • DirectX®: DirectX 9.0c
  • Hard Drive: 3GB free
  • Sound: DirectX 9.0c-compatible
  • Peripherals: Xbox 360 Controller for Windows,
    Logitech Dual Action, Logitech Rumblepad 2
  • Other Requirements: Internet connection required

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