Home > Reviews, Video Games > Review: Blade Kitten (XBLA)

Review: Blade Kitten (XBLA)

Did you know that Blade Kitten was based on a webcomic? No, I’d never heard of it either before the appearance of this nifty little title from Kroze Studios. You don’t need to have read the source material first though, as this is both a prequel and pretty light on plot. The main character is anime catgirl Kit Ballard, a bounty hunter in your standard sci-fi future world. There’s something about her “breaker key” (a license that allows her to legally hunt certain bounties) getting stolen at the start, but that plot point is resolved about halfway through and never really followed up on. Really, it’s just an excuse for a lot of 2D platforming action and quite a bit of fun.

Not only does Kit have access to all the Standard Platforming Hero Abilities (such as the dash and the double-jump), she can climb almost any surface. Climbing comes as easily as walking and is a welcome addition to this character’s ability set. Each level is teeming with hidden treasure chests and collectables, and Kit’s abilities are perfectly honed to appeal to an explorer’s heart. Though the levels aren’t teeming with the kind of imagination present in games like Sonic 4 or Earthworm Jim, they do a good job of keeping the action well-paced. Occasionally you’ll get a section where you get to ride dinosaurs, and any game that lets you do that gets points from me.

Combat is a hack-and-slash affair handled by Kit’s telepathically-controlled sword called, uh, “Blade”. Blade has a ranged attack that can take out most enemies, and a few specific manoeuvres designed to work on specific enemies; a little bit of variety would have been nice, instead of assigning one counter to one enemy type. Kit has a recharging health meter, a nice sweet spot between casual and hardcore that means you won’t die unless you take too many hits in too short a time (or fall prey to one of many “instant death” traps). There are a couple of boss monsters, but the spectacle is undercut by the lack of challenge.

For a simple platform game there is a surprising amount of additional collectables for you to buy in the in-game store, using the game’s equivalent of Sonic’s rings or Mario’s coins. Along with a bunch of health upgrades you have additional Blade types (the fast-but-weak one, the slow-but-strong one, etc.) and additional costumes for Kit. The costumes seem to be the extra given the most attention: they offer no benefit except for a cosmetic change, but are the most expensive items and have the greatest variety. You can even transform Kit into an anthropomorphic bunny; a replica of a character that has no relevance to the game itself, and is probably only there as fanservice to Blade Kitten’s target audience. At least it’s a step up from forcing RPG elements onto a game that doesn’t need them (here’s looking at you, Sonic).

Blade Kitten is a charming title and gets a grade of Recommended from me. It’s not all that challenging but that’s to its advantage: it’s a great casual game to play if you need some time to kill. Meanwhile, the vast number of collectables and emphasis on exploration appeals to the hardcore completionists. The game is billed as “Episode 1” and ends on a cliffhanger, which means that more instalments will be coming if the game is successful enough. I hope it is, as XBLA could do with more titles like this.

[Pictures courtesy of the official Blade Kitten website.]

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  1. July 25, 2013 at 3:00 am

    There is definately a lot to know about this topic.
    I really like all the points you’ve made.

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