The Cat Lady Review and Impressions – Spoiler Free

It’s time for another “Lydia recommends something besides mushy visual novels” post. This game is different. Really different.

On a game-play level, Harvester Games’ The Cat Lady is a narrative-heavy adventure game with fairly simple puzzles and lots of dialog.

On a story-telling level, Harvester Games’ The Cat Lady is a dark, mature examination of depression and how individuals cope (or can not) when faced with others’ cruelty. The screen that appears upon starting the game warning of the gore, violence, and other adult subject matter is needed. It’s the scariest title I’ve played.

It’s unnerving.

It’s bloody.

It’s horrifying.

It’s beautiful.

It’s funny.

It’s hopeful.

It’s a horror title in which the horror is not the main point. A plot summary would spoil much of the experience, so I shall only say: Kudos. I commend the plot for staying mysterious and surprising. I really had no idea where the story would go, and I appreciate the different endings.

Susan Ashworth, the protagonist, is now one of my favorites. A forty-something near recluse, she is almost painfully believable and identifiable. Even before I researched the author’s background, I could tell Michalski either has suffered from depression or knows those who do. (According to this interview, he knows those who do.) Susan’s outlook and the responses from those who interact with such a deeply hurting person are spot-on. I also liked the close friendship between two women characters. Very few games show a platonic relationship between women, and fewer still that do not spend most of their time discussing stereotypical girly topics.

Recommended to those who crave an identifiable, human story and can handle the horror elements.

Harvester Games’ The Cat Lady is available on PC and Linux.

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