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Little Kitty, Big City Review (Reviewed on Steam via GeForce NOW)

Little Kitty, Big City isn’t your typical video game adventure. It doesn’t boast sprawling open worlds, complex narratives, or intense combat encounters. Instead, this charming indie title from Double Dagger Studio carves its own niche, offering a delightful and relaxing romp through a vibrant cartoon cityscape from the perspective of a lost kitty. Get ready to explore a world brimming with personality, meow your way into the hearts of fellow critters and maybe even snag a few strategically placed balls of wool along the way. Is Little Kitty, Big City a purr-fect adventure, or does it just scratch the surface of feline fun? Read on to find out!

Open-World Prowl

Little Kitty, Big City begins with the titular kitty snoozing on a wide window ledge at the top of a very tall building. They adjust themselves and stretch just a little too far, causing them to fall off. As your kitty sails through the air, they encounter a crow and then a dog behind some glass in another building before landing safely on the ground, now a very long way from home.

Let’s get something out of the way right now – your cat is adorable (see screenshot above).  Now that that’s out of the way, let’s continue.  Your job is to help this adorable kitty to get back up to their rightful place! You immediately notice how movement feels fluid and natural when controlling your cat.  The controls are responsive and everything feels smooth and quick.  Despite boasting a cartoon-like environment and characters, the surroundings feel truly alive.

As you navigate the busy city, it is easy to get distracted by several different elements along the way.  For example, there are plenty of people hurrying around, most of whom have their heads buried in their phones and it is little touches of realism like this that make for a very believable experience.

The core gameplay revolves around exploration, basic platforming and completing fetch quests for the diverse cast of animal characters you meet on your journey (most of whom are hilarious, by the way). The city itself acts as a giant playground, brimming with details that capture the essence of urban life from a cat’s perspective. Tightropes made of wires crisscross alleyways, cardboard boxes become impromptu forts and balls of wool (or yarn for my American readers) become the ultimate treasure!

Progression in Little Kitty, Big City hinges on befriending the neighbourhood animals. From a gruff stray with a heart of gold to a wise old basset hound running a detective agency (seriously), each character interaction is brimming with personality. Completing quests for these animal citizens unlocks new areas of the city and progresses the story. The humour in the narrative is lighthearted and relatable to anyone who’s ever shared their life with a cat. Whether it’s the sheer joy of discovering a perfectly sunlit napping spot or the mischievous delight of knocking over a plant pot or a precariously balanced stack of cans, Little Kitty, Big City captures the feline psyche perfectly.

The story itself is a heart-warming tale of finding your way back home, but it’s the quirky side quests and character interactions that truly steal the show. Unravelling a neighbourhood mystery with the detective basset hound or helping a nervous chihuahua overcome his fear of heights adds a layer of charm and humour to the overall experience.

Claws, Leaps, & Purrs

Little Kitty, Big City is designed with accessibility in mind. The core mechanics are simple and easy to grasp, making it a perfect title for casual players and/or younger audiences (read my five-year-old’s thoughts). Players primarily navigate the world using basic movement controls and a simple jump mechanic.

There are no complex combat mechanics to master. The biggest threat you might face is the occasional grumpy dog (who can be easily avoided) or the occasional precarious jump that requires a second attempt. This focus on relaxed exploration allows players to fully immerse themselves in the world and the joy of being a playful kitty.  You also can’t hurt your cat from high falls.  They simply land on their feet, ready to continue whatever it was that they were doing!

One especially fun mechanic is the one that allows you to steal things.  Almost anything, actually!  Your cat can pick up almost anything and do with it what they will!  I managed to trip somebody up who was distracted with their phone, causing them to fall and drop said phone.  I then went over, picked their phone up and made off with it!

Jumping is context-sensitive, with the kitty automatically leaping when encountering climbable surfaces or reaching the edge of platforms. Climbing mechanics are limited to scratching post-like textures marked on walls and furniture, reinforcing the feline theme as kitties can only climb specific surfaces with traction for their claws.

Interaction with various objects and characters in the environment is done by pressing a designated button. This allows your cat to nudge objects, bat at toys, or initiate conversations with other animals. Headbutts are another key interaction, used for showing affection, activating certain mechanisms, or indulging in a bit of feline mischief by knocking over precariously balanced objects.  You can also knock people down by swiping at them and even trip them over by walking between their feet!

Little Kitty, Big City doesn’t feature a traditional inventory system. However, there are collectable balls of wool scattered throughout the city. Finding these balls of wool acts as a simple yet rewarding side objective for players who enjoy exploring every nook and cranny.

While the game lacks complex combat mechanics, there are a few feline-themed “abilities” that you can earn. There is even an emote wheel of sorts, allowing you to have your cat perform many typical “cat actions”, such as pulling a “yuk” face, sitting down or even having a “biiiiig stretch”!

Sneaking up and pouncing on unsuspecting birds is also a thing in Little Kitty, Big City.  There is a reason, though – to obtain their feathers which is considered as one form of in-game currency.  (Also note that the birds are released afterwards!)  You can even have your cat help clean up the environment by recycling cans in exchange for Shinies (the main in-game currency).

There has clearly been a lot of attention paid to natural cat behaviours during development and these have been incorporated in a very smart way into the game. Instead of using invisible walls, for example, the game uses puddles of water to prevent your cat from going a particular way.  This is nothing short of genius.

One in-game interaction made me pause, impressed by the developer’s attention to detail.  Rounding a corner, my cat froze. Several crates overflowing with cucumbers lined the wall with one having fallen on the floor.  Just like their real-life counterparts, the cat launched itself into the air with a startled yowl. (Those who know about this phenomenon will be equally as impressed as I was.)

A Solo Stroll

Little Kitty, Big City does not feature any form of multiplayer functionality, which is not necessarily a bad thing. It is designed as a single-player experience, reinforcing the game’s core focus on a relaxing and personal adventure.

Sandbox Shenanigans

Little Kitty, Big City is a relatively short experience, clocking in at around 3-5 hours for completion. While the main story doesn’t offer extensive replayability, there are hidden collectables scattered throughout the city that encourage further exploration. These collectables come in the form of colourful balls of wool, which are typically located either in high-up or tucked-away places, adding a simple yet rewarding side objective for completionists. Beyond collectables, there isn’t much else in the way of true replay value.

Cartoon City

The visuals in Little Kitty, Big City are a delightful blend of simplicity and vibrancy. While the art style doesn’t push graphical boundaries, it perfectly captures the essence of a cartoon cityscape. The world is bursting with colour and each area feels distinct and full of character, with details that cater specifically to the feline perspective, all the while remaining simple with little detail.  The animation of your cat is particularly noteworthy. The movements are fluid and believable, capturing the graceful agility of a cat. Whether you’re slinking through an alleyway, chasing a butterfly, or batting at a ball of wool, the animation makes it totally believable.

The audio design complements the visuals perfectly. The soundtrack is a collection of light-hearted and whimsical tunes that perfectly fit the game’s ambience. From the gentle strumming of a guitar in a park to the bustling sounds of the marketplace, the music creates a calming and immersive atmosphere. Sound effects are equally well-crafted, with the playful pitter-patter of paws, the satisfying thump of a well-placed headbutt and the chirping of birds adding to the overall experience.

The attention to detail is especially noticeable when you are on a high rooftop, for example, because you begin to hear the wind rushing past your ears.  It is small details like this which fully cement the experience and create the most impact.

BabyBear Gaming’s Thoughts

I asked my five-year-old some questions about Little Kitty, Big City.  Here are his responses (in italics).

  • What did you like about it?
    • “I liked that they use water as a barrier because cats don’t like water!”
  • What didn’t you like about it?
    • “I didn’t like the bit where you just have to go around the water instead of over the water. I didn’t like that you have to do the easiest things.” (Like what?) “Like ‘break ten things’ – that’s so easy.” (He thinks that the minigames are too simple.)
  • What was your favourite part?
    • “None of it was my favourite – I just liked everything!”
  • How did it feel to control the cat?
    • “Awesome, but a bit hard.” (What was hard about it?) “I kept getting the buttons wrong.” (Like what?) “Like when I’m going to jump I would just miaow.” (He frequently pressed Y instead of A.)
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?
    • “Nope.”
  • Would you recommend it to other children your age?
    • “I think other people my age should play it.” (Why?) “Because it would be very good for them. They can learn that cats don’t like water (for example).”

Conclusion

Despite its simplicity, Little Kitty, Big City is a delightful and fun game to spend a few hours in.  It is simple in its execution, but what it lacks in complexity it makes up for in loads of charm and humour. It’s a delightful escape for cat lovers and casual players alike, offering a relaxing and heartwarming journey through a vibrant cityscape.

Whether you are an adult or a young child, Little Kitty, Big City can be enjoyed on so many levels that it is bound to entertain you for several hours!  While the short length and simple mechanics might limit its appeal for some players, Little Kitty, Big City delivers a unique and thoroughly enjoyable experience. The charming world, quirky characters and focus on relaxed exploration create a perfect escape for anyone seeking a stress-free and heart-warming adventure.


Pros:

  • Amusing conversations between your cat and other animals.
  • You can steal things.
  • A very well-thought-out mechanics system.
  • Minigames are fun.
  • There is plenty to do.
  • The world looks and sounds amazing.

Cons:

  • Short playtime.
  • Repetitive side quests.


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