Cat Girl Without Salad: Amuse-Bouche (Switch) | Review

It may look like a seemingly-random jumble of words turned into some sort of pseudo-title for a video game, but it’s legit! Originally conceived as an April Fools joke back in 2013, WayForward (famously known as the creators of the Shantae side-scroller series) turned a faux-screenshot into an actual, factual title. Flash-forward to the beginning of April, and here it is on the Switch as a fully-playable, and half-decent, side-scroller.

All you need to know from the get-go is that it features the intergalactic cat-eared bounty hunter Kebako and her squeaky-voiced chum Squiddie, as they fly through space in order to chase down the galaxy’s most diabolical scoundrels. The plot is wafer thin, though there are plenty of funny interactions between the two characters.

These two love to talk. It doesn’t damper the gameplay, and is still a deliciously mindless romp.

As expected of a WayForward title, it’s got itself some gorgeously vibrant and eye-catching visuals that are hard to not appreciate, like its creatively-designed enemies and cast of characters (by the way, can we all take a moment to appreciate Kebako’s outfit? It’s just so rad). The soundtrack is, befittingly enough, bubbly and energetic. Alas, it suffers from some framerate issues on the Switch. At least the controls are simple enough. All you gotta do is move and shoot. 

The real highlight of the game are its weapons, which are inspired by different game genres. The Platformer Gun, for instance, launches a pixelated protagonist that bounces off of enemies (just hit the fire button to make them leap), while the Arcade Gun launches a Pac-Man look-alike that chews through enemies. There’s even a Sports Gun, which flings golf balls.

Collect cartridges to get new weapons and junk food to replenish hearts, but avoid salad at all costs. It’s yucky, and will make you feel worse, just like in real life.

All of the weapons are straight-up improvements over the rapid-firing Pea Shooter in terms of damage output, though the Rhythm Gun (which summons directional arrows that you can match in order to randomly launch projectiles) and RPG Gun (which swings a giant sword) are notably tougher to hit foes with. Then again, the latter does allow you to perform alternate moves, like a healing spell. Regardless, this is easily one of the most creative weapon line-ups ever seen in an indie title.

Cat Girl Without Salad puts up a pretty decent challenge, especially in the second and third missions. Enemies are plentiful in number, and all have their own designated attacks and movement patterns to memorize. The bosses will certainly put your reflexes and reaction times to a pretty tricky test, which makes them quite tense and exciting to play. Alas, the game is awfully short, and can be completed in well under a few hours. Still, if you like chasing after high scores, there’s that to encourage you to come back for another game from time to time. 

Its boss battles are like bullet hell shmups. They’re far from impossible, though!.

Completely self-aware with its silliness, Cat Girl Without Salad: Amuse-Bouche is definitely one of the most amusing joke-games ever created. Thanks to its approachable difficulty, simplistic gameplay, luscious visuals and imaginative arsenal, it makes for a pretty damn good distraction on occasions. Think of it as a slice of cheesecake: small, yet sweet.

Rating:

3 Stars

 

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