Steam Madness #1 - The Cat Lady

Over the past few months, I've been getting back into gaming in a pretty big way. So I thought it might be fun to share some of the games I've come across with you guys :)

First up for review has to be The Cat Lady.

Story

The Cat Lady tells the story of Susan Ashworth, a deeply depressed woman who we meet at the very end of her life. When the game begins, she is in the middle of a suicide attempt, alone in her flat with just her cat for company. But for Susan, death is not the end. Not even close.

What follows is a twist on the traditional good versus evil tale, in which the lines are deliberate blurred, and the morality and intent of your own character as well as those around you is murky at best. In death, Susan strikes a deal with a mysterious entity, and embarks on a quest. But who is really in control?

I won't spoil anything for anyone, but I found the story really engaging. It asks some difficult questions about death and depression, and could easily lapse into a standard overly written, feels heavy indie game, but it never quite does. If anything, this game gut punched me from start to finish. Good voice acting and decent writing keep the characters from becoming grating or cliche.

There are a few hammy moments, but overall I admired the ambition of the story and felt it was paced brilliantly.

Gameplay

Cat Lady is probably best described as a side scrolling point and click game. Luckily, it doesn't fall into the trap so many games of this genre do, and leave you pixel hunting to solve puzzles and advance. It has a certain internal logic that lends itself well to the kind of object finding/using puzzles you'd expect from this type of game. The things you need to do make sense, even if they aren't immediately obvious.

Atmosphere is arguably the most important thing for a psychological horror game, and in that sense Cat Lady really delivers. It's never going to make you jump or scream, but the sense of tension is undeniable at times. Minor spoiler: in one section of the game, you are trapped in a house with two crazed killers, hiding under tables and creeping quietly around. And you feel it.

It has a nice length to it (lol), and with alternate endings and other significant story choices going on, there's enough there to justify playing at least a few times through.

Overall Pro's

  • Interesting story
  • Voice acting
  • Atmosphere, and lots of it
  • Soundtrack

Overall Con's

I personally have no gripes about this game, but because of it's overall tone and dark subject matter, it's probably not for everyone.

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