Catlateral Damage (2015)
Developer: Chris Chung
Last year I played Gone Home, a story-based walking simulator in which I spent a good portion of my playthrough throwing items, leaving doors open, and laughing quietly to myself about it. Ever since then, I was in a search for a game where the only goal was to do just that. I believe I have found that game. Catlateral Damage is a 3D simulator of being a house destructive house cat knocking over any and every item in the house.
Catlateral Damage starts you off in a regular environment of a house, but has many more stages to offer as you move along. As you proceed through the game there are different stages, from different types of houses to a grocery store. The objective is simple: knock over items. Books, glasses, toys, dishes,books, TVs, plants, chairs, books... The ridiculous amount of books in this house kind of makes you want to call Marie Kondo on whoever lives here. Books are especially satisfying to knock over though, so I won't complain. You swat at items with your left and right paw, and when you pick up some speed behind you, you can really launch some big items. Most items just lay on the floor, defeated, where you throw them, but some break on landing.
Catlateral Damage has two game modes: objective mode, where you have to knock over a certain amount of items in a specific amount of time to proceed to the next challenge; and litterbox mode, where there's no time limits and you can knock over all of the things you please. For me, it's all about litterbox mode. I'm not in this game to rack up points - I'm in it for the genuine satisfaction of making a mess. That being said, I'm really glad this game has that mode, as it adds challenge and make the game more inviting for more competitive players. Playing objective mode also unlocks more cats you can play as, so that's important. During both modes, you'll occasionally find power-ups such as speed, jump, and swap boosts to help you be even more of a monster cat. You'll also randomly get modes come up such as disco mode, moon gravity, and black-out. When black-out happens, the room gets darker and the fun music stops. Knocking over items in silence really makes you take a step back and think about what you're really doing here with your life. I guess that's what it's like being an actual cat. Someone really trusted this cat to not destroy their house and they're going to be terribly disappointed when they finally come home.
Catlateral Damage has a VR mode as well, which I'm sure is an absolutely wild ride of destruction, but I can't speak to as I don't own a VR headset. It's probably for the best - even playing this game non-VR, after a few hours I had to take a break since I got a little nauseous. I've heard others mention this problem, too. If you're prone to this type of motion sickness in games, I'd recommend playing without using headphones and taking breaks. I'd love to play this game for many hours at a time, but surprisingly, intense cat running and trashing starts to feel very intense and give me motion sickness.
There's two types of people: ones that will be stressed out just by watching Catlateral Damage, and those who can actually de-stress from playing it. I'm the latter, but I understand why playing this would have an opposite effect of playing Katamari Damacy for some people. I've only put a few hours into this game at the time of review, but I will continue to come back to game on a regular basis. After a long day at work, it really does feel good to run through a grocery store and push every box of cereal off the shelves. The bubbly background music and simplistic cell-shaded art style are also just a extra treat that make this a wholesome experience.
Catlateral Damage is a simple idea, but it does it well and lets you really run free. If you're the type of person who likes to put every item back exactly where they found it, even in games, maybe this isn't your thing. However, if you've ever wanted to see what your cat sees when they're knocking cups off your table devil-may-care, this one's for you. It's an older game and it's nothing too fancy artistically, but holds up and continues to be entertaining long-term, so I'll be coming back to it consistently at the end of a long day.
Catlateral Damage is available on PC and available in VR on HTC Vibe.
Played on: PC (Steam)
Last Played: 4/1/2019
Playtime: 4 hrs
How I heard about this game: Recommended by friend