Why do people put things on other things when there’s a perfectly serviceable floor with plenty of space available? All those high spaces would be better served empty and open, perfect perching spots for a cat to keep an eye on every little thing happening in its domain. In Catlateral Damage it’s your job, as the house’s resident lord and kitty master, to free all those surfaces from the obnoxious books, DVDs, TVs, pots, pans, plates, clothes, and other pointless detritus that clutters up your domain.
Each level is a house with a goal to reach, sometimes based on number of things knocked on the floor and other times based on points. You can swat left or right with either the mouses lmb/rmb or a gamepad’s triggers, and do a kitty kung-fu paw strike with the bumpers. Each house is randomly generated with rooms, shelves, desks, tables, and even closets and refrigerators packed with stuff to send flying, all rendered in a simple cel-shaded fashion for maximum clutter volume.
As you explore each house there are cat toys to play with, each holding a power-up that increases jump, speed, swat power, or some combination of those stats. You can also earn a stat bonus by completing secondary objectives and finishing the level, leading to a powerful feline whirlwind of destruction. The bonuses are fun to chase after, but honestly in Catlateral Damage’s current version they’re not all that necessary. Even without the powerups it’s fairly simple to beat a level with minutes left on the clock in the current preview build, so much so that I decided to go with bulldozing items in one level rather than swatting anything and still beat it with two minutes to spare. The demo we checked out was much stingier on the clock, though, and seeing as there’s a sandbox mode for when you don’t want to be rushed it’s likely this version will be closer to the final form.
Easy or not, though, Catlateral Damage is good, cathartic fun. Long row of books on a shelf? A quick strike sends them tumbling to the floor. Big pile of dishes? They break nicely when they hit. TV? Go away tv, you bother me. The house (and bonus levels) will be an utter mess when you’ve done your job right, but at least the shelves will be clean.