#19 (#7 NEW!): Cat Planet

I first heard of this game via a topic on Speed Demos Archive. It seemed like a cute, short game, with multiple posts along the lines of “Cat Planet Cat Planet Cat Planet!” (Which I’d later learn is derived from both the game and a Let’s Play thereof). In checking the Tech Support forum on SDA, I found a quality test that covered the entire game. After watching it, I decided to play through the game myself.

Created for Ludum Dare 16, a competition where you make a game in a weekend, Cat Planet is a free-to-download PC game where you play an angelic being on a, well, planet full of cats. You fly around, talking to the cats, all of whom say different things. There are several areas to visit, including the cat village, a jungle, and a factory (What does the factory make? Nobody knows!).

Because it was created in a weekend, the game is simple graphically. Solid color backgrounds and simple lines for the ground are the order of the day here. The controls are also simple, although this doesn’t mean they are easy. Left and right move you left and right, and most other keys make you flap your wings. Like swimming in Super Mario World, holding up or down while flapping controls the height of your flaps. The controls are easy to grasp in concept, but can be squirrelly in practice. Once you gain horizontal momentum, losing it is very, very difficult, and will oftentimes cause you to crash into obstacles despite your best efforts.

Cat Planet is not a long game. Getting through the whole thing with all the cats took me 15-20 minutes, which, being as it was a game conceived in a weekend, makes sense (I should note that watching the aforementioned quality test helped a lot in that regard, as I knew how many cats there were to collect before a certain point). Despite that, though, there are definitely some challenging bits–one screen with four firebars, in particular, held me up to such an extent that I tried to see if I wasn’t actually supposed to approach it from the other end (I wasn’t). And the entire last section of the game is probably the hardest part overall, with crows that home in on you and chase you about. Between the crows and the controls, the game can get frustrating near the end. The good thing is that there are checkpoints on every screen, so dying doesn’t send you back that far. Finally, there’s no saving in this game. While the length of the game means it’s not a huge deal, it does mean you should probably have a spare half hour or so for your first playthrough, if you’ve never seen the game before.

In all, Cat Planet is a fun diversion for a half hour or so. Its short length also lends itself to speedrunning, as you can get to the end of the game in under 3 minutes if you don’t care about talking to every cat. It’s certainly an entertaining game for its short length. You can download it here.

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