Time to catch up again with my list of finished games: <span class="bold">The Cat Lady</span>
Wow. I had read very good things about this game so my expectations were quite high, but it still managed to surprise me for good. The Cat Lady
is an adventure game that touches some adult and dark themes. It's quite plot-heavy but it never lost my interest thanks to its devs' mastery of narrative rhythm: the combination of slow-paced, introspective scenes with more shocking and action-packed sequences worked wonderfully for me. Plus, there's also some classical point'n'click puzzles here and there, only there's nothing to click here as this game is fully controlled with the keyboard. At first this control method felt a little weird to me, but after a while I had forgot about it and I was completely inmersed in the story.
The game runs on the AGS engine but, contrary to most games that also use it, it doesn't use low-res pixel art. Instead it sports a truly unique and characteristic style, with big (but somewhat clunkily animated) sprites, and a limited color palette that perfectly matches the dark tone of the story. Despite the general bleakness, there's also room for a bit of humour and some funny moments: like a short sequence in which you get to control a cat, or [url=https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BsOVQ6lIAAABDNG.png:large]a not-so-subtle homage to Maniac Mansion
[/url]. Sound-wise almost everything is voice acted, and quite well I might add. The music is excellent and helps setting the contrast between the different parts of the game.
It's got some replay value as there are several different endings, which depend on your actions throughout the game and, particularly, on a couple of decisions near the end. After experimenting a bit and witnessing some endings I checked a wiki to see what I had missed. Apparently there's a best possible 'Golden Ending', and according to the wiki I had done everything right during my playthrough in order to get it, but for some reason the ending I got was not that one. But frankly, after reading about what happens in this 'Golden Ending', I kind of prefer the one I got.
I know this is a kind of a sequel to Downfall
(or at least both games share the same universe and some minor characters), a game I have not played, so I might have missed a couple of references. I'll probably get and play the recent remaster eventually, provided it runs well with the Linux native AGS engine port. This is how I played The Cat Lady
, as I got it with some old bundle which only included a Windows version, and it worked rather well except for a couple of inconveniences. Namely: I couldn't get it to render at full screen so I had to content myself with a 800x600 resolution; also, sometimes the parallax scroll failed so the foreground and the background weren't properly aligned; and finally in some scenes the game slowed down noticeably, probably because of some effects, like rain or fog.
Technical issues notwithstanding though, I can't praise this game and recommend it enough to everybody, adventure game enthusiast or not. My list of finished games in 2017