Hands-on with Kitten’d (HTC Vive)
For the purpose of transparency, this hands-on was completed using a code provided by the company or their respective PR company. The use of a free code does not affect my judgement of this product.
Please note this hands-on was created using a product that is currently in Early Access, meaning some of the issues could be resolved over time.
As someone who is dog owner and prefers them over cats, the only way I was going to get to try out owning a kitten was through VR. The question is has Kitten’d gave me the feeling I should have a cat in my life or left me still siding with dogs?
Ever wondered what being a crazy cat woman/man is like, well this is letting you experience that without the need of actual damage to your own house. The premise of the gameplay it you have these cats now keep entertained, or else you might be finding a lot of damage to the apartment you are looking after them in.
You are going to be given tasks throughout the levels which will be things like keeping them fed, scooping poop and most importantly happy. Now, where this might sound easy, as more and more cats come into the levels you never have a moment to yourself to gather your thoughts. Then add to this the fact these kittens do not take long to become destructive, and you are soon hearing smashing glasses and sofa’s being torn up.
In the early access version of the game you will get four different breeds to look after and entertain. This then throws in extra elements to the gameplay to make it more hectic looking after these mischievous fur-balls. They do this by making each breed have their own characteristics, meaning you have make sure you are keeping all their different personalities entertained. As if this wasn’t hard enough the plans are to have seven types of kittens to keep control off when the game leaves early access.
The final part is the upgrading system in the game to try to make your job easier. After each level finishes you are rewarded coins, based on how well you did. This comes down the damage caused and how happy the kittens are. You can then use these coins to upgrade items to help you out, like maybe get more bowls for them to eat out of or a bigger better litter tray – then you won’t have poo stains on the furniture.
Does all this busy kitten minding not sound like you? Would you prefer to just relax with kittens all over?… Well if that sounds like you the game offers that in a sandbox mode. Which will just have you hanging out and relaxing not needing to worry about the scoring system.
This kitten minding seems to take place in a very white looking apartment, in what I can only describe as futuristic city – if you look out the window. I am not sure if these very plain apartments were in order to give that clean futuristic feeling, or make the colours on the kittens stand out. Either way it works well and keeps a very sharp and clean-looking visual presentation. The sound is simple but effective, and that is really all the game needed. This is made up of light-hearted and relaxing background music, with the noise of the kittens meows, the objects interactions and the general sounds of the apartment. Like I said simple, but it keeps you immersed in the world.
When it comes to how you can play the game it supports standing, seated and room-scale, it really is your choice on how you want to tackle the fur-ball army in the apartment. The team at Star Vault have said themselves the controls are ‘easy to master’ and that is certainly the case. Most of the tasks are carried out in the game using only the triggers and the touch pad on the tracked motion controllers. For example the poop scooper/hoover you will pick it up with the trigger and use the touch pad to either turn on the suction or fire the poop out into the bin (yes you do just fire it at the bin).
To be honest I normally look at the bugs in early access releases, but apart from a couple of crashes I have not come across any. When it comes to what is planned before these kittens escape from early access, as well as the extra breeds the plan is to add two more worlds to make the total number of worlds to four.
The team is hoping to have the game out of early access come the end of 2018, and I would say the only thing it really needs is a bit more AI to the kittens. But, Star Vault are very much open to feedback on the game on the Steam community in order to improve the game before it’s full release.
At the current stage of development Kitten’d looks like it will be fun for a family environment, that will offer some fun and frantic gameplay for all ages – but, it might struggle to keep the attention of older gamers. With very little bugs in the Early Access version of the game, it is looking like it will not face many issues on launch. It will be interesting to see how this one develops over the year, and what the new breeds and worlds will bring to the game.
Also available on the Oculus Rift
Developer: Star Vault
Buy on Steam