Cat Girl Without Salad: Amuse Bouche
Catgirl Without Salad is a 2D Side Scrolling Shooter for the PC developed by Wayforward studios released on June 3rd, 2016.
Catgirl Without Salad started out as a 2013 April’s Fools joke. “Originally” slated for 2DS, DS, Wii, Wii U, XBLA, PSN, PC, Vita, iOs and Android, this tongue in cheek game was going to combine elements of a puzzler, platformer, shmup, shooter, adventure game, action game, strategy, fighter, rhythm game, arcade game, horror game, RPG, RTS and visual novel. Needless to say, even if they tried to make it then, using those guidelines, it would’ve been a beautiful, hot, technicolor mess. Regardless, it garnered a following, spawning fan art and even an unofficial soundtrack
— Humble Bundle (@humble) May 26, 2016
It’s unfictionalization would come three years later when Humble Bundle announced its June Humble Monthly Original would be none other than the long desired Catgirl Without Salad: Amuse-Bouche on May 26th, 2016. Wayforward channeled the talents of Voice Actress Christina Vee, “Shantae and the Pirate’s Ruse” designer James Montagna and character illustrator Lindsay Collins.
Kebako, intergalactic catgirl bounty hunter, must track down three bounties. This would be nothing out of the ordinary, but they seem to be well acquainted with Kebako. What ties do these evil doers have to Kebako? Is there some sinister conspiracy that could spell her demise?
Despite the april fool postings’ lofty aspirations, Catgirl Without Salad in it’s present form is much more straightforward. Kebako will need to dodge enemies, and their projectiles, who enter from the right and exit on the left. Destroying enemies awards you points or, in this case, spacebux. Interestingly, this becomes relevant later on in each level. Whereas the first part of the level is a multipart boss battle (the levels target bounty) where a continue is purchased for 50,000 spacebux. Destroyed enemies can also drop pickups, be they health or weapons.
You know that long list of game genres that couldn’t possibly be packed together into one game, at least not in any meaningfully coherent manner? Well, Wayforward did the next best thing. Kebako doesn’t use your stand types of weapons so much as she weaponizes game homages and their main mechanics against her foes. For example, the arcade gun fires out a neko-themed pac-man you can control that can bite enemies a few times. There’s even a DDR weapon that fires directed blasts of varying power proportional to how well timed your button presses are. In the practice, it feels like playing a mini-game each time you switch weapons – which makes the fact that they’re represented in game as game cartridges all the more fitting.
This all take place across the span of three different levels, each with their own theme. While the enemies will be different to fit with the levels theme, most follow a similar pattern of firing at Kebako before rushing her a short bit later. Now don’t get the wrong idea, it gets pretty challenging. Level 1 saw me dispatching most of the enemies I met whereas level 2 pushed me into paying more attention to dodging projectiles and level 3 was a frantic bout of dodging enemies and projectiles alike.
The Tasty Parts
Humor – Kebako can be obtuse at times, much to everyone’s chagrin. Everyone plays straight man to her random, usually food themed, ramblings leaving most exasperated and dumbfounded. Beyond Kebako herself, numerous puns that compose most of the cast’s names are a nice touch
Art Style – What can I say? I’m a suck for colorful toons and Cat Girl Without Salad delivers this in spades. Lindsay Collins and the art team did an amazing job. I especially love the way the character portraits emote during dialogue.
Weapons – Hats off to Wayforward for their interesting selection in weapons. You’ve got homages to Megaman, Puzzle Bobble, Final Fantasy, Pac-man and even DDR. And you’re not alone. At some point you’ll face the likes of someone using Guitar Hero, Sonic and Tetris themed weapons. Each weapon functions like a mini game in and of itself so while there’s a straightforward way to use each weapon, if you plan on getting the most out of them you’re going to have test your peripheral vision and manage controlling both Kebako and her weapon.
Slightly Less Tasty Part
Media Gallery – This isn’t so much a complaint as it is a plea for more. It’s a neat little game and I’d love to get a better look at some of the art assets and audio outside of the fray of combat.
For those who may not know, Amuse-Bouche is a french term referring to a chef’s special hors d’oeuvre, of sorts. They’re served gratis and solely by chef discretion. In that sense, Amuse-Bouche is a pretty apt way to describe this game. This is a game that you can get through in an afternoon or so, but it’s jam-packed with enough flavor to not disappoint. Wayforward definitely gave us an interesting dish and I await more tasty dishes from Wayforward and their space faring catgirl.
I give Cat Girl Without Salad
: This is a Humble Monthly Original, meaning it is only available (to my knowledge) through the Humble Bundle Monthly subscription