Catsperience may be the cat simulator you’ve been looking for if the Victorian era is something for you. Bear in mind that this puzzle game isn’t a walk in the park. Or country manor.
This experience had the potential for disaster. Doing the equivalent of bass fingering (ooer) exercises to jump from place to place while suffering from tendonitis, then having to solve problems using numbers… as a cat… Catsperience sounded like my own personal hell. To put it in further context, I rage quit it too.
The first time I played Catsperience was a quick five minute taster. On the second appraisal, it only lasted about ten minutes before my hands gave way. For some reason, my controller wasn’t recognised, so enlisted the help from my eldest to be the brawn, I’d be the brains. Pah!
Catsperience Review (PC via Steam)
On the second brief play, I’d conclude that I didn’t like the game. It was painful to control, both physically and the timing too, plus it was all so… dark. There was something I wasn’t getting about Catsperience, so re-read the write-up: it’s an escape room type game – the first-person perspective and mauling of rats were initially distracting.
So, armed with a proxy set of arms, gave it another chance. The whole thing with escape rooms is about working it out together, and while this can be a solo effort, it’s much better with someone else to bounce off.
Within a few minutes or so, we’d completed our first objective: to find some catnip. This was the first revelation: this cat is a junkie. If it goes without a nip-hit, it’ll space out, so you give it a shot with R (on the keyboard).
Fortunately, this is a game device too, as when under the ‘instruction’ of catnip, you can see things. This could be a clue, spring to elevate you onto a lamp or moving platforms that grant access to the prime real estate of the wardrobes.
Cover The Table Legs!
The decor is very apt of a Victoria manor home, and once you’re out of the first room, it’s quite a large, well-crafted space. My only beef is the jumping aspect. First-person is always a pig for precision jumping, and here it can be quite testing in places.
Your goal in Catsperience is pretty straightforward: find your human, get out of whichever room you’re currently located in. Usually, that means finding a key that could be located in a drawer, or perhaps you have to solve a puzzle to be awarded a key for your exit strategy.
There were many times I was hoping that the Morse code pictures or Planck’s Constant references were just for show. Ignoring the physical restraints of the controls, these puzzles were the real challenge, and after finally getting the Morse code puzzle, I moved to the next and had had enough by then, feeling mentally fatigued!
Despite my tantrums, these puzzles are very clever but might discriminate against your average puzzle fan. Or maybe I’m just thick. There are optional tasks in the game too, and the odd achievement of smashing objects such as vases. Additionally, you can attack the very many rats and chow them down.
The cat in Catsperience is a bit of a dick and will let out quite a few quips that confirm that cats are selfish. I mean, the motivation for this game is to get fed, and it couldn’t give a toss what it does to get to that goal. All the meows in the game aren’t in vain as there’s a cat translator that says what it’s saying, and despite the sarcasm, it’s often funny.
If you like cats, Catsperience may be that cat simulator you were always looking for, and why Black Vertigo made it in the first place, due to the lack of choice. Do note that the puzzles are complex, and truth be told, I still haven’t finished it, though I believe I’m near the end. It isn’t packed with puzzles, but the kind that will have you thinking for some time (maybe too long!).
Check it out on Steam.