A platformer in the true sense of the word Blade Kitten takes us back to gaming days of yore!
With a sleek tail swishing out of the back of her skin-tight trousers, and hair so pink that even Barbie has had to go home and take a good hard look at herself, Blade Kitten comes crashing onto our screens with all the flash and style that we have come to expect over the years from the guys and girls at one of gaming’s greats, Atari.
The title is based on the intergalactic bounty-hunting exploits of your main character, ‘Kit.‘ This is no ordinary feline female as she is one of the best bounty hunters in the business and with her trusty ‘floating sword’ in tow she sets about proving her worth at every opportunity by scouring the spaceports for the scum of the universe and transporting them back to jail. But not before giving the villains the pasting of their lives.
The game begins with our heroine having her spaceship blasted apart by a rival bounty hunter forcing our Minx of Mayhem to drop onto a nearby planet. Here in lies the obligatory tutorial level as we are introduced to Kit’s control system and her athletic prowess as she leaps and springs around her 2D environment with all the cat-like agility of…well,…a cat.
The environments and platform level designs are set in cracking vivid colour that at times is only rivalled by the hair of our pussy protagonist. Excellent mechanics are coupled with first-rate level design that make for a bright classy environ that is packed with checkpoints, and enemies and teems with hidden bonuses and short cuts that Kit can access by using her sword to cut a path through.
The combat is, thankfully, as easy on the thumbs as the title is on the eyes, with Kit being able to blast at her enemies with the ever-present ‘floating sword’ as well as her kitty claws in well executed melee moves. The enemies that present themselves in the game’s opening scenes are simple enough for Kit to overcome but be warned that they do get steadily stronger as you progress throughout the game.
Being a half feline/half female creature you would expect Kit to be able to have all the climbing abilities and grace of one of our furry friends, and this is an area where Atari have outdone themselves as Kit is able to adapt and alter her path around the gaming zones as she see’s fit by the use of her amazing cat-like agility to overcome obstacles, or by simply crashing through them if it is not possible for our heroine to scale the blockage.
This gymnastic ability that rivals and shames that other great female lead, Lara Croft, also gives it the edge when it comes to combat as it also allows her to cling unseen to the walls and ceilings as she bypasses enemies that are unaware of the bounty hunters precence. Unaware that is, until Kit comes crashing down on their heads in a flurry of high kicking and claw raking moves that leave the trounced troopers in a pool of kitty chump on the ground at her feet.
Great graphic’s also help distinguish Blade Kitten from other 2D scrollers out there as the game just looks and feels a lot sharper than other platformers of the same genre. The colour schemes make the renders stand out from the rest of the platform crowd as Blade Kitten just looks that more polished than its rivals. A superior gaming mechanic makes for a far greater experience that at times will have players totally engrossed in the job at hand, whilst at others have them truly amazed that they are playing an arcade title.
The feel is typically Atari, by which we mean that you know that there is a pedigree in the games design that comes from a developer that has been at the forefront of the industry since the days of its birth when we are played on our 2600’s.
Atari have come a long way from the times when we used to have to load our games with a cartridge and this is blatantly obvious with Blade Kitten when you consider that this is a developer that can make an arcade title look and feel as good as a disc based premium release.
Take for example the hidden area’s within Blade Kitten that can take the player to a whole new region and set Kit on a completely different side mission as she scales the heights of the zone with her claws acting as climbing spikes. In every other 2D scroller that we have played via the arcade format this year it has been played out with a kind of WYSIWYG styling. Whereas with Blade Kitten it is completely different in that What You Don’t See is often where the action and the nous is so it really s best to take Kit on an access all area’s escapade if you want to truly get the most out of your time with the ferocious feline.
Graphics: Brightly lit with a hint of the Eastern ‘Day-Glo’ feel of downtown Tokyo Blade Kitten looks fantastic as you get to grips with Manga-esque Minx. Smooth and silky the handling matches the imagery on offer as Blade Kitten gets a huge thumbs up for the effort made by the Atari designers. 8
Gameplay: Simply sizzling stuff as you swing from every conceivable hand hold and outcropping, back-flipping and cartwheeling your way around the zones before meting out retribution with your trusty sword or flaming paws of fury. 8
RePlay Value: There is just so much going on in Blade Kitten that we seriously doubt that you will have completed everything in the game even on your second or third play through. A fantastic environment that just keeps expanding with every move you make in any direction will have you coming back for more time and again with Blade Kitten as you strive to unlock all of the games hidden secrets and gameplay zones. 8
Presentation: It has been a long time since a platformer brought us the sheer unadulterated gaming pleasure that Blade Kitten has and we make no bones about it that we have not even managed to discover even a fraction of what this top-notch 2D scroller has to offer. Great visuals bring to life the excellent gameplay that is awash throughout every section of the game. A bargain of a title for a mere 1200 of your Earth Microsoft Points. Simply cracking! 9