Blade Kitten is the 2010 platformer from Australian developer Krome Studios. It's available on PC, XBLA and PSN though for this blog I'll be looking at the Steam version which comes with the skanky goth outfit because I'm a sucker for goodies. Blade Kitten caught my eye not just for its laid-back platforming but due to the fact it may just be the last original IP and perhaps even game we see from the sudio.
Krome had invested into buying fellow Australian developer Melbourne House from Atari and the developer appeared healthy, having a relationship with Microsoft for Viva Pinata and the Game Room and it had survived a recession where EA-owned Pandemic had not. It was also one of the last big Australian development studios that wasn't owned by a foreign publisher. Seperated into two episodes Blade Kitten was an attempt by Krome Studios to break away from PS2/Wii ports of the 'big kid' console titles on the 360 and PS3 and underwhelming liscened titles.
Unfortunately poor reception of their titles lead to the closing of their Adelaide and Melbourne offices leaving just a 'skeleton crew' to finish titles they have contracts for. The future, if there is one, seems to be in the downloadable or handheld space which seems to reward other Australian developers like Halfbrick (Fruit Ninja) and Infinite Interactive (Puzzle Quest).
Onto the Game: For this blog I will be tracking progress through the game, since I was already most of the way through though I thought I'd start at the beginning since most of the fun is backtracking levels to save up for costumes and weapons.
Blade Kitten is a 2.5D scrolling platformer based on the webcomic by Krome Creative Director Steve Stamatiadis under the pseudonym SpaceCaptainSteve. Its heroine, Kit Ballard, a bounty-hunting catgirl with hotpink hair and a Californian accent will likely be devisive but spend enough time with Kit and you'll eventually become attached to her sarcastic, wise-cracking ways. She's impatient, flirtacious (even a little dirty minded) and determined.
The adventure starts on the planet of Hollow Wish:
Kit's space ship lands and we're given our bounty for Terra-Li who apparently has been such a naughty girl she's racked up a reward that has Kit dropping her jaw.
But it's not long until we meet Justice, another Bounty Hunter keen on stealing Kits Breaker Key, a device which from my limited knowledge of the Blade Kitten world seems to allow Bounty Hunters to 'claim' bounties.
You'll regret that Blondie.
Kit turns the tables at first, using her agility to disarm Justice and playfully kick her blaster into the distance but before Kit can say "So ninja" her spaceship explodes and Justice swipes the Breaker Key.
You'll regret that too!
The authorities are happy to let Justice be, apparently Bounty Hunters have to solve their own conflicts so its up to Kit to chase her down. Through a cutscene we're introduced to Kits weapon, a hovering and somewhat sentient Blade that follows our protagonist around and doing her bidding. I'm now one step closer to conquering the world.
We're now allowed to play around and get accustomed to Kit's cat-like climbing skills through small tutorials. The first playthough will be spent getting to the end, however repeated playthroughs will see you finding all sorts of alternate paths and hidden piles of currency ready for Kit to get her paws on. The big deal are the Datapaks, Chests and Skiffs that reap big rewards.
It's time for the mid-level Justice confrontation. She asks why we don't know how to give up, Kit informs her they don't teach that in Breaker school. Justice retorts by mocking our fashion sense. What hot-pink hair and goth outfits aren't in this season? She manages to slip away again, come on Kit, this could be so much easier if you just clawed her eyes out.
That ****! Claw her eyes out!
We can climb on just about every surface and even hang from walls or slide down them like a kitten hanging from a curtain. We've also been caught up on a lot of platforming game tropes like things crushing you causing instant death. Checkpoints are liberally placed though so the occasional screw up is never a set back.
We now know how to slide and sprint, double jump, to lock onto platforms, to hang on to surfaces when the environment tries to knock us from them. There's also a potent aoe attack but we still haven't learned what to do when Kit builds up a combo or how to use the sword to allow Kit leverage to reach higher places. Things which I did by accident later on in the game.
So we've gotten all the way through this first level and now it's time for another Justice confrontation. It appears there might be a showdown until in true anime fashion she flips off a platform and lands on the wing of what seems to be her own ship.
Regret blondie! Regret!
In the future: More level recaps, costumes and unlocks.