Krome Studios has left its mark on the industry across many franchises, from its original Ty the Tasmanian Tiger series to starting the Legend of Spyro series. They have quite an output, though hardcore gamers are likely to care about few of their games. However, at this year's E3, they showed off their attempt to change that. With Blade Kitten, they are taking an indie comic and turning it into a sci-fi action-platformer with a very old-school aesthetic.
This isn't exactly a random license. Blade Kitten is the work of Steve Stamatiadis, Krome's Creative Director and a primary driving force behind the Ty series. The world, however, is far removed from that series.
Blade Kitten features a bright-edged sci-fi world that wouldn't look out of place in 1980s Japanese animation. It's centered around the mercenary catgirl — OK, "felion" — known as Kit Ballard, who is trying to clean up various issues in the Korunda star system. The game takes place three years before the comic on the world of Hollow Wish, where she's followed a local troublemaker and gotten herself into much bigger trouble. In the tradition of classic animated heroes, she has to save the day with her trusty sidekick and sword.
At a glance, the gameplay is reminiscent of Megaman X. When there's nothing around to fight, Kit runs through 2.5-D worlds, using all of the classic skills — including wall-climbing by sticking her sword into the wall. When asked, Stamatiadis stated that gameplay was meant to feel like many different 16-bit platformers but pointed out how the sword mechanics were a little more modern. Kit is able to remotely control the sword, allowing for boomerang throws and other tricks. In a basic example, she tossed the sword through a set of lasers and then had it swing to break a power box. Gameplay abounds with similar tricks.
Another more modern conceit is the idea that Kit's mood matters. Her actions result in her mood icon (with health bar around it) shifting regularly, including critical hits making her angry. The game also has an episodic scheme, with two episodes planned, with each consisting of a set of levels. Notably, the episodes will connect to offer bonuses from each to the other. The game also provides limited third-dimension handling via Kit's fuzzy alien partner Skiffy, who will run into the foreground or background to manipulate items.
Blade Kitten was initially intended to be a PlayStation Network exclusive, but the Xbox Live Arcade and PC versions will also be released this September. Fans of classic-style games should find a lot to love in Krome's latest creation.
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