There are a handful of characteristics that get me really, really excited about a video game. First, having a less-traditional art concept or style, which becomes even more enjoyable when paired with a lively story. Options of female playable characters always gets a thumbs up, and co-op games are great, too. But anytime a developer throws cats into the game world, I go nuts.
Which is why I am, quite literally, counting down the days until Night in the Woods is released. The narrative-driven, adventure/platforming game currently has a vague release date of sometime in 2015, and is set to be available on PC, Mac, Linux and the PS4.
Players explore Night in the Wood's game world through its main playable character, Mae the cat, a college drop-out who returns to her troubled mining hometown that's also filled with troubled youth. And there's something lurking in the woods...
The game's development was largely made possible to a massively successful Kickstarter campaign launched about a year ago that raised more than four times the team's original goal. That dev team is made up of Alec Holowka (another favorite game he's contributed to is Towerfall Ascension), Scott Benson and Bethany Hockenberry. Based on what we know about Night in the Woods, it shouldn't disappoint, even if you don't get amped up for a game with a playable cat character.
As independently created video games continue to exponentially grow in number, it gets harder and harder to sort through the noise to find something you'll love and that's worth the time invested. I have no way of knowing if either of these games will meet all of my ideal expectations outlined above. Like any form of entertainment — just because a trailer looks cool doesn't mean the game or film is going to rock.
Yet, based on what we know and have seen so far, I am incredibly hopeful about Night in the Woods, as well as another in-development game recently discovered on Steam's Greenlight system. Greenlight is intended to spur support from potential players of a to-be-released game, and also serves as a source of audience feedback for developers.
Another platformer/adventure style game, The Purring Quest also offers what looks to be some beautiful 2-D art. Described as a "stealthy" platform game, users play as Kimchi the cat, who's on a journey to find his sick owner. Along the way, Kimchi meets and gets to interact with a handful of Internet-famous cats: Henri, le Chat Noir, Nala, Cooper the Photographer Cat, Nora the Piano Cat, Oskar the Blind Cat and Tika, lead game developer Jose Gines Picon Lopez's cat.
In a recent interview, Lopez revealed his hope is to donate a portion of the game's sales to support animal welfare groups aiding the abundant stray cats in his hometown in Spain.
It's not known yet when The Purring Quest could be released, but trust that I'll be following the latest announcements about both of these projects.