Unlike Another Crab’s Treasure which I also got to play recently, Little Kitty, Big City is exactly as adorable as its protagonist would suggest. Last weekend was the first time players got the chance to step into the paws of the titular fuzzball, and while it’s still a work in progress, I had a great time with the game’s silly antics, quirky humor, and activity-laden world.
More like Untitled Goose Game than Stray to my mind, I start my preview in fear for the tiny protagonist’s life. Whoever decided to make it a rule that all cat-centered games need to begin with the adorable hero falling from a great height needs to just calm down. Luckily, the demo’s black-furred star breaks its fall on the back of an unsuspecting crow. After gliding with the winged creature to the ground, it takes off, expecting me to follow. My lack of wings makes that difficult and I have to find the creature somewhere in the distance.
With that, I’m off to explore the surrounding urban center. I don’t have objective markers, or really much guidance of any kind, so I sneak into an artist’s garden. The foolish man has a blank canvas stretched out across his yard with cans of paint lined up next to it. I know exactly what to do.
I pounce at the cans, using my dedicated paw swipe button to fling the full containers onto the uncommenced project. To my delight, I realize I can walk into paint blobs and leave little prints in various colors just by walking around. My artistic enthusiasm earned me a chuckle from the developer standing nearby, who was kind enough to introduce me to a few fantastic features. First, I learned I could rub up against people in the game and elicit a reaction from them. It turns out the painter whose work I just ruined — or vastly improved depending on how you look at it — is a cat person. It’s difficult from him to stay mad at me after I turn up the charm, and with my task complete, I head on to find my feathered friend.
Which is where I learn about my favorite mechanic by far: The butt wiggle. Cat owners will recognize this funny habit as a sign of a cat preparing to leap into action. As the developers spent a lot of time studying feline behaviors, this delightful mannerism made its way into the game. I could trigger the wiggle by holding the jump button. This brings up a kind of aim assist that shows the trajectory of my jump and allows me to pounce with precision. Of course, while setting up the perfect leap, my little cat’s butt does its thing, and I love it.
The demo continues on much like this initial encounter. I stumble onto things to do, either just laying around the environment or assigned to me by various NPCs. A fellow feline, for example, advises me on how to pounce on nearby birds — an action the designers have made less vicious by ensuring the cat releases its prey after catching it. But I do get to keep a few feathers for my trouble and that turns out to be the key to meeting my favorite character in the demo.
A tail, attached to a red creature’s oversized hind quarters, juts out of a pipe. Graciously allowing me to help it out of the predicament, I ease the mass of fur out of its prison and discover it’s a tanuki. And this tanuki has discovered the secrets of teleportation. I’m not joking. It ushers me into its — totally safe and tested — portal and I reappear in darkness.
I’ll leave the story on this cliffhanger, and simply say that the demo got me way more excited to play Little Kitty, Big City when it comes out. (Especially after I learned I could find hats around the city for my cat to wear.) But I can’t tell you when to expect the title because, taking inspiration from its independent-minded main character, the Steam page lists the release date as “Cats don’t have deadlines.”