Anyone who knows me knows I am NOT a “cat person”. Part of that is my intense allergies of cats and part is my realization that cats don’t need humans…they tolerate us. So when you give me a game like Kittypocalypse that lets me mow down thousands of cats with lasers, mines, and machineguns it takes considerable effort to conceal the smile on my face. In all fairness these are not real cats. They are aliens wearing adorable kitten costumes so they can infiltrate and take over the planet. Holy crap…they are REAL cats. I knew it!
Honestly, from the elevated camera angles you will mostly be playing Kittypocalypse from, you won’t know what you are blowing up. They could just as easily be Raving Rabbids, assuming Ubisoft had thought of this game first. Which leads me to my first question; do we really need a tower defense game in VR?
Honestly, I’m not a big fan of the tower defense genre. I find it a bit repetitive and frustrating, but the implementation of VR is actually what kept me coming back to Kittypocalypse long after I would have normally bailed, and it’s not even the 3D visuals – honestly the visuals are pretty bland for the most part with the exception of some texture and design work on the individual turret weapons. What kept me playing was the interface and the effortless control system that made micromanaging numerous turrets a complete joy.
Using the Oculus Rift I only had to look at a turret (or an empty turret pad) and click a button to bring up a simple overlay menu where I could build and upgrade my defenses against the incoming alien hordes. A simple status display at the bottom of my peripheral vision indicated current funds and a wave counter/timer. Once you find the perfect vantage point to surveil the battlefield you have instant access to all your defenses with a simple glance. And when you do have things setup to your liking you can zip around the level using an intuitive teleport function that can put you smack in the middle of the rampaging cats where you can watch them get decimated up close and personal.
Gameplay is fairly simple and totally intuitive while winning is challenging and completing all the optional challenges is next to impossible, but you will certainly want to try because that is how you unlock the bigger and better weapon upgrades. There are several weapons to choose from ranging from gatling guns to laser turrets, mine layers, and this fun weapon that puts an anti-grav bubble around the cats and sends them skyward so your turrets can engage in some aerial target practice. There are over 50 upgrades available for these weapons allowing for increased damage, area of effect, and other bonuses.
All this cat carnage is spread across 15 unique islands that mix up the flavor of the battle as well as certain terrain elements that factor into your strategy. Some weapons have unique line of sight fire, so you have to check their area of effect when placing and choosing upgrades. Some turrets work better when side by side with others. There is an amazing amount of depth and strategy involved that starts off easily enough then ramps up the difficulty by the third island when the cats catch on to your plans.
At first the cats try to overwhelm you with numbers, and then they get sneaky. They’ll come at you wearing various bits of armor like cardboard boxes, metal boxes, and even a brick chimney. This is when you need to start mixing up and upgrading your turrets fast because before you know it the aliens will send in multiple waves of cats, some to distract your turrets while these other fast cats race past your defenses to infiltrate your base.
Your base consists of a recessed circular platform with numerous slots. If cats make it safely into this pit they will take position against the wall and one of the segments will light up. If enough cats make it into your base and light up the entire ring you will lose the battle. There are also sub-challenges for finishing a level and not losing more than a certain number of slots.
While seemingly simple in design there is a lot of trial and error trying to figure out which weapons work best against which cat, and that is where the shooting gallery comes in handy. Between missions you can head to this indoor facility and pick from all your unlocked weaponry and choose your type of cat to learn all about them in the database then see how to kill them the fastest.
If you love turret defense games and/or dislike cats then there is a lot to like about Kittypocalypse. What seems like a casual installment in the tower defense genre turns out to be a surprisingly engaging and totally addicting strategy game that doesn’t work in spite of VR but rather works better because of VR. The only things that could make this game better was if they had some awesome 3D fireworks at the end of each victory…oh wait…THEY DO!!!