The Binding of Isaac had to be one of the best examples of how to make an addictive indie roguelike work well. Many developers have tried desperately to recapture the frustrating but fun gameplay found in The Binding of Isaac and most have come close…but even more failed. Cat Lady by developer Rose City Games—and published by VIZ Media—takes a stab…or paw at the roguelike genre with Cat Lady. This precious and puurrfectly adorable game—expect several more cat puns in our review folks—looks adorable but is it the game for fans of titles like The Binding of Isaac? We find out in our Early Access game review of Cat Lady for PC!
What to Expect
Cat Lady is a top down action title akin to games like The Binding of Isaac. Players assume the role of Ally Marie who has quite a dilemma to face. Her grandma’s estate has been overrun by monsters and now the only way Ally Marie can save this home is by utilizing a bunch of strange cats with powers. Use numerous cats as weapons—no cats are actually being hurt they just have mystical cat powers—to defeat these monsters and rid them from your grandma’s home! A cat-tastic adventure awaits in Cat Lady!
Excited to visit her grandma’s mansion, Ally Marie’s excitement turns a bit sour when she arrives in the cat filled home. Ally Marie’s grandma is nowhere to be found and via some strange event, various items in the home have become possessed turned into odd monsters! Thankfully, the cats have also been powered up and can both talk and use super cool cat-powers! Together, Ally Marie and the cat army will need to track down grandma and defeat these monsters by whatever means necessary! Can you harness your cat-like reflexes and take down these baddies in Cat Lady? Time to grab the catnip and show these monsters how scary an angry cat can be once they miss meal time!
As far as indie roguelike titles go, Cat Lady is pretty simple. Players control the human Ally Marie who is blessed with an army of cats who have powers that can defeat the various baddies now in her grandma’s mansion. You’ll need to use a wide arsenal of cats to tackle Cat Lady’s numerous enemy variants and tough as nails bosses. The reason we keep talking about The Binding of Isaac is that like that title, Cat Lady is a twin stick shooter where death means losing most of your progress and the maps you went through change in format. Now that the simple premise is out of the way, let’s dive deeper into the Cat Lady and explain why this format works so well despite it seeming so similar other roguelikes.
What makes Cat Lady so unique is the weapons you use…or lack of real weapons. In this strange cat-filled place your only arsenal lies in the now amped up cats. These supernatural talking cats—yes they talk don’t question why—can unleash numerous powers you’ll need against the monsters. Some cats can use ice to freeze your targets in place while others can shoot lightning that—while weak—chains to enemies dealing damage to not just one target. As you progress through the multiple layers of this seemingly never ending home, you’ll find other cats to cuddle with…we mean attack with that have other abilities. These cats will need to be utilized as the enemies in each floor begin to change and grow increasingly harder to take down. You can also find cat themed items to use as currency to unlock abilities and power ups to make your adventure that much easier…or at least manageable.
Now you might be wondering, where does the roguelike exist in Cat Lady? Well that comes from the tough as a cat’s tongue difficulty you’re going to face. Dying in Cat Lady means being sent back to the first floor, losing your arsenal of cat buddies and losing half of your currency. Making matters worse, this wouldn’t be a true roguelike without the map changing with each death. Thankfully, some loss of progress can be mitigated a bit as you keep some of your currency that can be used for power ups to make the next trip a bit simpler to endure. Cat Lady might be cute and adorable but the word easy can’t be found in this title.
Another element we loved about Cat Lady is the whole aesthetic. Cat Lady’s art seems extremely retro but never does it feel old. The simple color palette changes show you’re getting further into the depths of this mansion but one thing that doesn’t change is the absolutely adorable cats and the designs of the monsters. Each new cat pal has a truly cute look that might shoot terror into enemies but for us just made us smile. Monsters too can range from cute-scary to just flat out silly. That doesn’t remove their difficulty that will always remind you to not take them lightly but it makes Cat Lady a great looking title. The sound also needs to be noted for having some truly catchy tunes that you won’t want to turn off.
Honey's Gameplay Consensus:
Cat Lady sticks close to the themes/gameplay elements of roguelike titles but that isn’t a bad thing by any stretch of the imagination. With a goofy story to love, fun cat-like allies and some solid—but tough—gameplay, Cat Lady is a blast and we can only wait for the full title to be out of Early Access! While we hope for some more cat powers in the future, right now we see little wrong with the Cat Lady aside from how angry we got when we ran into some truly tough sections! Overall though, you need to paw up the money—that’s the end of the cat puns we swear—so you can help Cat Lady become the next big Steam title!
Absolutely adorable designs that truly made us smile from ear to ear
Simple but tough twin-like shooting to keep you on your toes
Numerous cats to use that all have their own strengths and weaknesses
The ability to use two cats at one time leads to some nice combo skills most twin stick shooters don’t have
Great music that works well for the game
Could use some more cats
Be prepared to die…a lot…nine lives won’t be enough trust us
Honey's Final Verdict:
What caused a lot of indie games to fail as they tried to mirror The Binding of Isaac is they took too many risks while forgetting how simple but fun that game is. Cat Lady keeps the core themes of The Binding of Isaac and games like it but utilizes its cat style to create its own identity that players will love. Cat Lady is a truly impressive Early Access game and we think you’ll love it like we did! Are you going to nab it as it is now or wait for the full version? Comment below to let us know! For even more game reviews and anime themed articles be sure to keep stuck to our magnificent hive here at Honey’s Anime! Have a cat-tastic day folks! Okay…we lied about the end of the cat puns earlier…we’re not sorry.
Hey everyone I’m Aaron Curbelo or Blade as I’m called by my YouTube Subscribers. I’ve been an anime/manga fan since I was a young kid. In terms of anime I have watched nearly a thousand shows and have read hundreds of manga series. I love writing and honestly was so happy to join Honey’s Anime to get a shot to write articles for such a wonderful site. I’m a firm believer in respect in the anime community being the most important embodiment we should all have. We all love anime and we have varying opinions of series but we should respect one another for those differences! Life is too precious to spend it making needless arguments in a community that should be the shining example of loving an amazing medium. I hope as a writer for Honey’s Anime I can bring you folks some amazing articles to read and enjoy!