|System: X360, PS3, PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Krome Studios||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Atari||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Sept. 22, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Amanda L. Kondolojy
Blade Kitten is a charming game when you first start it up. The main character, Kit Ballard, is a spunky cat-girl who happens to be a bounty hunter with a new rival in town. The look of the game is cheery and bright, and the promise of a fun rivalry-based adventure sets the scene nicely. Although they say first impressions are generally the most important, this rule doesn't really apply to Blade Kitten. The game starts strong, but fizzles quickly due to some awkward mechanics, technical issues, and a paper-thin story.
Kit Ballard, as a main character, is interesting enough, and certainly fills the cat-girl "moe" archetype satisfactorily. However, the story, which starts off strong, falls into the "chase" trope fairly quickly, and becomes no more than snippy remarks and chase scenes during cutscenes. Although the lead and her rival certainly have their personalities, they just aren't enough to keep you engaged in the story.
However, since this is a downloadable title, a lax story might be forgivable. What isn't, however, is bad gameplay mechanics. The game's world is futuristic, and characters seem to hover around on a lessened gravity planet, which sounds cool in theory, but in practice proves to be quite frustrating. The game's levels feature platform-based gameplay, which means precision-based running and jumping is a must. However, the low-gravity properties of the game mean that there is a lot of skidding around, and you can't stop on a dime or take off at full speed. Though this isn't much of an issue in the beginning, you'll find the sliding mechanic increasingly annoying as the game progresses and you encounter "trap" levels that require precision button pressing and obstacle avoidance.
Another aspect of the game's mechanics that gets agitating quickly is the swordplay. Blade Kittens weapon of choice is a big, floating sword that can attack enemies near and far with quick or ranged attacks. However, the problem with the sword is that it only works half of the time. For instance, sometimes I would target an enemy from a distance, and when my ranged attack was unleashed, the enemy would still be standing there. Even the quick attack was flawed, and hammering on the swift attack button when encountering several enemies at once never yielded the results that I hoped. The floating sword mechanic could have really been cool, but with the lack of precise targeting, the sliding controls, and the lack of consistency in battle make this weapon more of a chore to deal with rather than an exciting gameplay component. The only bright spot in regards to the game's combat is that there are some levels that don't require you to use it too much.
The game's mechanics really handicap this title and cause it to fall short of its potential. And the real tragedy of this is that the level design is actually quite good. Though the game takes a traditional approach to the side-scrolling aspect, there are multiple paths you can take through each level, and there are tons of bonus areas with treasure chests to explore. However, these areas are normally hidden behind puzzles and switches, which can be difficult to hit because of the wonky controls. On more than one occasion, I passed by treasure-filled bonus areas because I simply wanted to finish the level instead of trying to suffer sliding around trying to hit switches in a precise manner.