Heck of a time to start a site up when my house is dealing with a freshly neutered kitty who will not stop jumping around like crazy. A new 8 week old kitten who is not really getting along with the other kitties. As well as me trying to wrangle them all and make sure they are safe, not opening surgical incisions, eating, clean, and so on and so on. Needless to say my couch time is intermittent at best, but that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy what little I get. So what game do you play when you don’t have the time to even look at graphics?
Kittens Game! Now there is actually a free web client version of it.
As well as mobile apps if that’s your thing. It sure is mine… and I just realized there won’t be many pictures in this review as the whole game is text. Text about cats that is. So have a few pictures of cats in-between.
But yeah so it’s one of those Incremental games, or idle games as I was taught to call them. Your first click is to get cat nip from the forest, but then you click to get catnip from the forest. Well that for a few clicks like ten or twelve or something. Just enough to buy your first Cat Field.
The first few days are mostly just building up a steady stream of nip which you basically use as food while you balance your growth. Now I should mention I have played this game a lot in the past so I have boosts. That is a thing you can do in the late game, time travel game resets for extra boosts and achievements. Though that comes later.
Each time you purchase a field or hut or anything like that the next costs a little more, as one would expect it to. Which brings us to the real meat and potatoes or I guess fish and nip of things to this game. Taking something to make something else. Here it starts with nip to wood. Seems simple and like no big deal right? Ho-ho boy we are just getting started.
Here we see you can start getting some houses which will give you more kitties, and we all know the “Cat loves food, yeah yeah yeah” so you have to keep enough nip on hand for the kitties to eat. With seasonal differences in yield for your farm it’s easy to just have a winter of death.
My first playthrough was rough. I thought I was just Clever Daniel with perfect plan for my kitten collective. I was so wrong. So many kitties died and it took over a year to recover my gains in a sustainable way, but the emotional loss still lingers.
So after a few months you are probably sitting good on how much nip and wood you need to keep the kittens alive and the town growing. You might even have noticed that you can make libraries. Well in the town tab (it has the number of kittens in brackets next to it) you can set some jobs to your kitties. Woodcutters will automatically make wood from your nip, and scientists will generate science actually. You can spend your science on learning to make calenders and farms which let’s you start to harvest more food faster and with kitten automation. Which starts the game in earnest bin my eyes. You can now come back to progress without worrying to much about kitten death from food shortages. Good for you!
With science comes innovation, and that means more jobs! These new jobs will give you access to hunters who produce Cat Power! Used for hunting luxury resources and exploring for other civilizations.
These other animal tribes will trade certain goods for other resources that you usually can’t convert to directly. Say like iron for nip, for example. Which is nice enough though as with all games with a crafting element to it, it’s time to get down.
Down to the depths of kitty coal mines that is. This is when you have to really pay attention to how much of each resource you get each second, how much you use, how it is automated with your kitty colonists, and how bad winter will hit you. All this and you are barely scratching the surface of the sofa here. You will get to more complicated resources to craft like beams and paper and stone slabs. All the time being bombarded with cat puns in every menu and all over every screen. Not to mention sweet sweet multipliers just start showing up. You are ramping up production, storage, and a whole lot of kitty cuddlin’ as your town grows even bigger. So the game is growing more interesting but at the same time stuff starts to slow down.
That lull is actually pretty well placed as you have to make a choice here, faith or rockets, the choice isn’t mutually exclusive mind you. You can have both, just this is where you start to get into reset territory.
Resetting is actually required to do several of the challenge modes. Some specificly need a fresh start from the challenges menu. Though it is actually super useful to even have a shot at late game space exploration. Honestly it might seem like I went on a long time about this, but we aren’t even a tenth of the way through this. It gets crazy.
The religion side is complicated, really complicated, it has several different tech trees and resources and unicorns and time vortexes… I would say it’s because of spoilers I don’t go into it, but really it’s more that I don’t remember all of it’s ins and outs. It ramps up fast, way better gains than space stuff though largely self contained gains. Space on the other hand is big and scary and slow. You are talking years of game time to get to the other stars. Just maybe some unicorn murder could possibly open time skips, hint hint, both Science and Faith are needed to progress decently.
Still seems pretty straight forward right? Well the way you play it grants you Karma and Paragon points. These points are the largest contributing factors to new game + bonuses. You do get stasis pods, time crystals, and paradox things that let you take specific kittens and resources with you. Yes each kitten is named. Yes you can change the names (but why would you?!) as well as their jobs. Yes they do level up. Also the can be made kitty president!
Honestly this game is just fun in a time wasting way. Logging back in after a few games with updated storage and automated workshops is hands down the best feeling you will get from most any idle game. The lack of graphics made me hesitant. I thought is was going to be like that paperclip game at best. Which barely held my interest if we are being real about it. The paperclip game never once got me invested. Even it’s biggest selling point, it’s humor, never got much of a chuckle from me. Kittens Game just oozes charm. The writing and wit are suPURRb and always catch me off guard. I am constantly in almost disbelief when the next crazy thing happens.
I never in my wildest speculations expected to be sacrificing unicorns on megalith slabs to harvest tears of sorrow to was an ivory tower to the old gods in order to open a doorway to the future and instantly gain years of resources just before starting a one hundred year long party to make my kitties forget about being unemployed when I first started this little game.
Each time I come back after a break I fall in love again. I’ve been at it for years now off and on and I still find new challenges, new jokes I missed, and a new reason to hit that restart button and give up a few more nights to the Kittens Game.
As for couch time with this game I’d say nearly infinite. It’s more of a while doing something else game. Good for a distraction during the boring parts of a rewatch session of most any show. You could toss it on during loading screens or menus, especially because it will generate resources will you are busy elsewhere.
The lack of graphics could be considered a drawback, but to me it hits that sweet spot of “the comedy you don’t see is funnier than what you do” like in Looney Tunes when they went off screen to slap someone senseless. The kitty satellite you don’t see is way cuter than the pixel art one you do. Take SPACEPLAN by Devolver Digital.
It has graphics and still it’s honestly less interesting. Not to say it is bad, it’s all about potatoe based technology. Long story but basically you are stranded in space with nothing more than a few potatoes and need to repair your ship to get home. It’s way shorter than Kitten Game. So definitely a good starting point if you want to dip your toes into idle fun times. I wouldn’t blame ya. I know I fought tooth and nail against liking text only incremental games until I played Kittens Game. For that reason alone I have to say it is one of the best mobile games I have ever played.
As for snacks, I would say can’t go wrong with a snack that smiles back. That’s Goldfish crackers by the way. Or any easily munchable goodies. Think study snacks because most of this game is planning and math and watching numbers get to that perfect threshold to tap the screen one more time and feel the rush of seeing one more building or one more tech added to your kitty empire. So pick something that won’t overshadow the incremental rewards you will quickly become addicted to.
All in all I really like it. I know the review was a little all over and unfocused, but that is because well there isn’t a lot to say about this game that wouldn’t be as interesting as hearing someone talk about the weird dream they had last night. Still I felt it was important enough to share this with you all now before things really get kicking around here.
Final verdict has to be a solid 6. It’s free to cheap depending on where and how you play it. So you can’t base it’s value on money spent. So focus instead on the amount of time you spend on it. Even then I have to give it a high score. I have never felt like I wasted my time with this game, even when some misunderstandings or misclicks might have really set me back progress wise. There is just something special about it.