When you think of the cat lady what comes into mind? The Cat Lady takes a new stance on this age-old image of the notorious old woman who seems to have an endless number of cats littering her home. Our protagonist, Susan Ashworth, is not your typical cat lady. She’s something much more than that; a cross between living and dead, human and immortality. The Cat Lady stars Susan Ashworth, a woman who takes care of a variety of stray cats, commits suicide only to be reawakened as someone different. The Cat Lady dives into a world where the wolf in sheep’s clothing is one of your greatest enemy.
This story-driven game gives the players options as to what to do and say. But do your choices really matter? And how so? What I found about the game, when it comes to choices is that they matter only in terms of relationships and achievements. The ending will happen regardless of what you do. Mitzi will die because that’s the story. What you do choice though is how she dies and when. Does she die from cancer or from the explosion? What you choose to say to her in this dire situation does matter indeed. Another example of choices that doesn’t matter is the choice between helping The Queen of Maggots in killing the parasites or not. Regardless of whether you tell her you comply or not, you will still have to kill the parasites. I did receive an achievement when I choose the option of Susan doing it her own way instead of the Queen of Maggots’. But it’s interesting to see the interactions between Susan and the other characters. Immediately, players will see that the graphics are of an artistic nature. I really enjoy these types of graphics. The color scheme is black and white with splashes of color, sometimes it’s red and other times the colors are of the landscape. Combat is simple with a point and click type of mechanism.
The character we first meet, and the one that we play as, is Susan Ashworth. She’s an older woman of forty who took too many pills and is now surrounded by her cats before slipping away into the otherworld. This world is where she meets The Queen of Maggots, a mysterious woman living in a small cabin in the woods who makes a proposition to Susan. Regardless of what you say to the maggot queen, Susan is now death itself, taking out the five parasites of the world.
Susan has many faces and issues that are all too real. Depression, loss of loved ones, and loneliness plagued Susan for years before she ended her life, or at least tried to before she is saved and sent to her first parasite. I really like this character and feel that she is so well-written and fleshed out. The ending is something that I feel gives a clear message for both Susan and others who are dealing with depression which is there is hope. I like how Susan changes for the better the more the players progress through the game.
But we must give credit to Mitzi and the relationship between the two women. Mitzi is another character that I really like because she is so different from Susan. I wouldn’t necessarily say she’s happy but upbeat would be the wording. Throughout the next chapters, we meet a variety of characters; a nurse and doctor, our asshole neighbor Bryan, Mitzi, the other parasites, and our other illustrious neighbors in the apartment building.
Let’s talk about the themes within the game and the storyline itself. The execution of death, suicide, and cancer in the game as a subject is phenomenal and makes the characters feel all the more human and makes the players feel empathy for them. Suicide and cancer are some of the most tough topics to talk about especially in video games. I really like the conflicts within the game. It isn’t just Susan dealing with parasites but with her own issues from her past and her depression as well as her relationship with Mitzi. Here, Susan is faced with dealing with all of this.
The story is a unique, but also darker, take on the cat lady. The game is about Susan coming back to life to rid the world of the five parasites, a task that’s proven to be not what it seems. The kicker is that she can’t die which is something she comes to terms with as well. Players will find themselves enjoying the story and how it all plays out.
Now, let’s go to the parasites. I really like these villains as they are so different and creepy as hell. What makes them good villains is the fact that they hide in public. For example, the doctor in the second chapter who loved art so much that he liked to recreate it using people or the couple in the later chapters whose day jobs were Pest Control. The Soundtrack is fantastic in my opinion. The sound track creates a great, dark atmosphere which delves the players even more into the world of The Cat Lady.
There is another game that takes place in The Cat Lady universe called Downfall. Remember Susan’s neighbors from across the hall, Joe and Ivy? Yes, that’s the story of Downfall. From TCL gameplay, players see that there is something wrong with Joe and his wife Ivy for that matter, so it’s no surprise when they released another game starring Joe himself. The Cat Lady gives players a dark, sad emotional experience that makes you think deeper into the story and the characters within them. I absolutely love this game and enjoyed it so much.
If you played the game, who is your mind is the fifth parasite and why?
- Unique Characters
- Nice, dark artwork/graphics
- Dark atmosphere
- Nice storyline/themes
- Soundtrack is really nice to listen to and fits the game perfectly
- Too short
- Some of the voice acting sounds strange. Sometimes too high and sometimes too low.