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Posted by drew10 on Sep 27, 2010
Blade Kitten: Atari – PSN

Blade Kitten: Atari – PSN

Faster Pussycat!

Lately there have been a great deal of excellent PSN and XBLA games coming out. This content allows once lost genres to be reignited. One genre that was all but lost to us a while ago was the 2D side-scrolling platformer. Luckily, some developers realised there was still much that could be done with this often overlooked game style.

Step forward Krome studios and their stunning new game Blade Kitten. Based on the comic book series of the same name by Steve Stamatiadis, Blade Kitten is a side-scrolling platform game par excellence.

You play Kit Ballard a part human, part cat bounty-hunter on a mission which acts as a prequel to the comics themselves. Set in the world of Hollow Wish, Kit is the last of her species and is aided on her quest by the “Darque Blade” a floating sword with AI. She can also call on the help of Skiffy, a small creature that flies alongside you and can be used to grab items or use switches that are otherwise inaccessible. Kit can also ride upon Noot, a Yoshi-like dinosaur creature that can break walls with its head, nice!

Blade Kitten reminds us of the best 2D platformers of yesteryear but with all the bells and whistles of the current gen. Kit is not only a gorgeous character with her pink hair and tail but is also a very dexterous lady, er cat, whatever. Controlling Kit is a joy and her many skills include being able to climb walls as easily as walking and hanging from ceilings. Kit can also run, jump, slide as well as using her sword to grab onto walls and the springboard herself into hard to reach places. She can also break through walls and floors to reach secrets as well as fight enemies in various ways. All of these controls are simply and logically thought out and make learning the game a breeze. It is just simple to pick up and play and yet has a depth to the gameplay rarely seen in a title such as this.

The story is narrated through beautifully animated cut scenes with voice acting that put many full price releases to shame and Kit herself is a likeable, cheeky character that has been well scripted and excellently acted.

When fighting the various bad guys, who whilst trying to destroy each other all seem hell-bent on taking you out, Kit has some neat tricks up her sleeve. She can use the “Darque Blade” to swipe her enemies using the square button, holding it down will block and parry an enemies attack. The circle button will send the blade out in a ranged attack where its AI will take over. You can use the L2 button to stab the sword into walls or floors and this not only holds you in place, very handy when it gets windy, but also erects a shield bubble around you. Double jumping whilst pulling down and square will perform a heavy attack onto your enemies heads. Your health meter in the bottom of the screen will occasionally flash red indicating that pressing the R2 button and square will initiate a super slow-motion move. If timed right this move take out all of the enemies around you. There are other moves too but these will be best left for you to figure out.

As well as all of the jumping, fighting and running, this is a platform game and as such there are plenty of things to collect. Coloured jewels of varying value are littered throughout the levels and these can be collected to buy different blades, outfits and upgrades. There are also chests, Kiffs, fish and disks to collect and not only will these open secrets but also add replay value to the whole experience as you will find yourself going back to the levels to try to find everything it has to offer.

Graphically Blade Kitten looks great and stays faithful to its comic style with excellent cell-shaded, Anime-style characters. The backgrounds are also nicely drawn and add depth to the screen with animations going on in the background. Although the settings do vary quite a lot the overall gameplay is rarely effected by the locale and some different goals would have added spice to the levels.

Apart from the superb voice acting, the sound in Blade Kitten is slightly disappointing. Whilst there is nothing particularly wrong with it, there is also nothing really to write home about. The music that backs most of the levels is repetitive and bland and the sound effects are not really anything special.

If we were to be hyper-critical then the fighting in Blade Kitten is a little too easy. Most of the time you can simply run past enemies with a simple single swipe although there are ones who do offer slightly more resistance. Bosses are again a little more of a challenge but even these are not very difficult to take down. More varied bad guys with differing tactics required to defeat them may have added depth to the gameplay. Still, when compared to most platformers when dispatching an enemy amounts to not much more than landing on their heads this really is a minor gripe.

Overall we are highly impressed with Blade Kitten, its high production values and ease of play make this a very enjoyable romp and whilst £9.99 isn’t exactly cheap for a PSN game it is well worthy of its price-tag.

This being Episode 1 it is safe to say that we are very much looking forward to Episode 2 and until then, where the hell is that chest on level two?

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