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Gaming Evolution
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Gaming Evolution
Gaming Evolution
Published By: Atari
Developed By: Krome Studios
Genre: Action
Players: 1
Rated: T (Teen)
Release Date: September 20, 2010
Screenshots: Link
Price: $14.99
Written By: Matthew Prunty

September 26, 2010 - When Blade Kitten was first showcased to the public via its debut trailer, I had mixed feelings about the title. While I did love the presentation and the variety within the environment, not enough was showcased to sell me on the title. After seeing a few more gameplay trailers and getting some hands-on time with the title, the title starts to grow on you as you start to embrace the Ďopen worldí nature of the title. Itís the protagonist of Blade Kitten; an adorable cat-girl by the name of Kit Ballard, that helps carry the game from simply being another downloadable title into the realm of satisfaction. ĎThe cat is out of the bagí on Blade Kitten so now itís time to sit back and enjoy.

Thanks to Krome Studios experience developing TY the Tasmanian Tiger, Blade Kitten offers a variety of gameplay styles which keeps the action fresh and enjoyable. No matter what level you are playing, you will find yourself do some platforming alongside solving some simplistic puzzles. While that doesnít seem like much, you will soon realize that each and every level is a giant set piece for Kit Ballard. While there is obviously only one way to finish each level, there are several different ways to traverse the level in order to reach said destination. Littered throughout many of the levels, you have the option to stick to the ground and traverse the level that way or take to the skies or mountains, finding hidden paths that take you around a lot of the action and danger, while also leading you to different areas that you may see in background. Itís these different ways that open you to hidden treasure and artifacts which will come in handy if you are trying to acquire that trophy/achievement for collecting everything in the game.

When it comes to combat, the system is rather simply. You have two types of attacks at your disposal; a melee attack and a long range attack. While the melee attack will serve its purpose in eliminating any enemies that get in your way, the long rang attacks allows you to attack enemies that be separated from by a large gap or trigger switches that are blocked by a giant laser beam. You also have the ability to perform a special attack in which time slows down as you deliver a devastating blow to the individual in front of you. The special attack becomes available after you defeat enough enemies and build up the meter to unleash said attack. But be warned that the special attack can be accidentally triggered if you are not mindful of the button combinations you are using. You also have an attack which will help you clear out your surroundings if you are being attacked from both sides. Simply perform a double jump and before you start coming down towards the ground, press down on the analog stick and the melee attack button in order to drive you sword into the ground, producing a shockwave that takes out all foes around you. This is certainly an effective attack that you will be using in the latter parts of the game.

While that part of the combat system was all about offensive measures, there are also a few defensive tactics you have at your disposal. Whenever Kit Ballard is being overwhelmed by enemy attacks or is low on health, you can activate your shield, which will protect you from oncoming attacks, while you rest to regain health. There are platforming elements that you will come across where the shield will help you reach higher areas without being blown of a rising platform due to an industrial size fan blowing. Another obvious defensive measure would be to simply run away. While Blade Kitten utilizes a 3D plane for action sequences, Kit can only fight in the 2D plane. Because of this, you will have enemies attacking you from within the background, which you canít attack do to them being on a different plane than them. If you allow them to hit you enough time with their attacks, you will have just lost a lifeÖ and well all know cats only have 9 of them.

A catís best skill is the ability to stick to surfaces to avoid confrontation, and itís a skill that Kit Ballard has in her arsenal. Whenever you want explore different areas and your trusty dusty double jump wonít allow you to reach the higher levels, you can trust in Kitís cat-like abilities to help save the day. You are able to climb along the sides of mountains, rock formationsÖ pretty much anything as long as it isnít metal piping. It is here, that she will simply slide down the pipe, requiring you to double jump back and forth between pipes in order to reach the higher area. If you want to avoid fighting all together, you can also stick to ceilings on certain levels traversing the room that way until of course; you have to drop through a hole in the ground or activating a switch to go through a door.

The last element of Blade Kitten that was incorporated to diversify the gameplay comes from a little create called a Noot. Whenever you are in certain areas and you see Hex (currency) floating in the foreground; out the reach of Kit, you can send the Noot to grab the Hexs. Your new bff will also be able to disable machine boxes on certain levels, which control machines dumping sewage out of piping, laser beams moving back and forth and so on. The Hex allows you to purchase various items from a merchant, which you have access to at any point within the gameÖ that is of course once you have successfully returned his sausages to him. It is here you can buy new, more powerful swords or diversify your appearance with some new threads. You can also buy some crazy concoctions which will increase your stamina and health, allow you to take more damage and be about run much longer. While you donít have to buy these goodies in order to complete the game, it does help as you transition to tougher levels.

The presentation within Blade Kitten is a big draw for the title. The decision to go with cel-shading has paid off in allowing creating a more visually immersive environment without having to sacrifice overall quality. Whether we are talking about buildings, character models or the floating Hexs, the visual design of Blade Kitten is a nice departure from the games that try to go for a more realistic look. The voiceover work is very solid, offering up playful banter between Kit and other characters throughout the game. You get a since of innocence within her, which helps you connect with the character better. The animations of the various characters within the game a very fluid; especially Kitís. When she is traversing different areas or in the thick of combat, here movements are very fluid, sort of like she took ballet when she was growing up.

Atari and Krome Studios approach to Blade Kitten was not to make one long, immersive title; but to make an episodic experience, which will warrant those who life the game to come back for more, while those who werenít too keen on the experience to stop with the current purchase only. This was a smart move is it lowered the price of the title to $15 an episode, instead of $60 for the complete experience, thus opening the door for more people to embrace the fem fatal. Upon completing the first episode, you have the option to go back through the game from beginning to end with the new gear you collected along the way or simply choose a particular level to play again, making sure you collected or the hidden items.

Blade Kitten is an enjoyable, albeit short experience. Considering the game was broken down into episodes, itís quite understandable. Depending on if you are simply trying to beat the game or are looking to acquire everything humanly possible in the game, it can last anywhere from 4-12 hours. While this title is far from perfect, itís an enjoyable experience that anyone can playÖ except little kids of course. If you havenít picked up this title yet, itís now available for download on PC, Xbox 360 and PS3 consoles.


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