Space Kitteh (aka Space Kitty)


spacekitteh.jpgzxoMe, I don't know of any problem that can't be solved through the liberal application of kitties. That must also have been the mindset of Zach Archer and Miles Johnson when they came up with Space Kitteh for our recent CGDC #4. I mean, here you have this breathtaking array of worlds which orbit each other in mesmerizing patterns, the beauty of the galaxy all around, cosmic audio pervading your ears. What could possibly make it better? That's right: kitties!

The game starts you on a familiar-looking blue and green planet in an alternate and terra-centric universe. Use the [arrow] keys to walk around the surface of the planet and talk to Mr. Shoehornhair (no, not his real name) who hired you to save the kitties in nearby planetary systems. Press the [spacebar] to jump off the planet and use the [arrow] keys to control your flight using the jetpack (of course you have a jetpack!). However, the gravitational field from nearby planets is strong and constantly in flux, so it may take a while to get used to the controls. Surrounding this blue and green planet are three portals to other planetary systems, manned by Rock, Paper and Scissors (yes, the real names). Each has a different challenge for you to complete. Finish them all and return to Mr. Shoehornhair to complete the game!

The biggest challenge in Space Kitteh is mastering the controls and timing your jumps. Rescuing the kitties is pretty easy. It does help to read the directions carefully so you know how to zoom in and out — it's a lot easier to navigate the swirling systems when you can see all of the gravitational sources surrounding you. However, zooming out too far diminishes the excellent visual effects — spiraling animations on the portals, for example. I found myself zooming in a few levels, trading broader vision for fuller enjoyment without rendering the game difficult in any way. Trust me, getting the full effect of the sun in the Gamma system is worth it.

Perhaps the most charming element of all is one that has absolutely no effect on the gameplay whatsoever — booting the rescued kitties off of a planet. That sad meow they emit when bumped is both extremely satisfying and slightly guilt-inducing at the same time. Between these little touches, and the solid all-around execution of the core game mechanics (physics, art, soundtrack, controls, etc.), Space Kitteh provides an immersive, top-quality, casual gaming, excess-adjective-inducing experience.

Zach and Miles have been working on an improved version with improved grammar: Space Kitty! In it you'll find new and (yes) improved features such as a welcome screen, an inset map, a laser-arrow to help you out when you are lost in space, and a guided help system to get you going. The dialogue has been changed to lend some coherence to the game, though it comes at the price of some of the whimsicalness.

dancemonkeydancemonkey - I wasn't too sure about this game at first, mainly I guess because of its name (I am vehemently and irrationally opposed to using "-eh" in place of "-y" at the end of a word). It ended up being one of my favorites. The competition theme is realized in a brilliant and unique way, and the designers (Zach and Miles) have created a fun and challenging platformer. I was also surprised at the differentiation between each of the levels: they were all challenging in entirely different ways, which I was impressed by considering how similar each level seems at first glance. One major wish I had was for some sort of guide or indicator that would lead me towards either the next cat or at least towards the exit portal, since I was getting frustrated eventually at constantly winding up at exactly the same spot after a several tries at finding the last cat. Otherwise, I found saving space cats realleh fun.

Play Space Kitteh

64 Comments

I saved all the kittehs!

Incredibly fun little game. :D I loved the whimsical humor. And in an amazing coincidence, just today I happened to save a real-life kitty! It doesn't get better than that...

this game was fun, but froze my firefox twice... :(

Fun game :)

Very fun game with humorous ending too. Took me a little while to get used to the controls, especially the jet pack and zooming in/out

The game is fun at start, but it gets a little boring. There are no maps, and so, sometimes to navigate through the planets you need to float around in a black screen, and that's not fun. Is the mission to find the kittehs or to find the planets? Also, sometimes the gravitational drag from the big moons seems kind of too strong.

Also, I know that the theme is supposed to be freely interpreted, but what can I say? I guess there are some linguistic or logic problems in this interpration and some others CGDC4 entries, as "Ball Physics" does not means the same thing as "Ball AND Physics". I can't see how do gravity games fit in the theme, just because there are circles and a physics engine. I mean, any cube or pyramid would have the same behavior in "gravitational situations", which means the ball part has been ignored when the concept was created.

Wow. That was incredibly amazing! My favourite of the competition so far. I love how psychedelic it is at the end when the

camera zooms in and you get that blue trail

The whole thing felt very polished, and I LOVED the music. A truly beautiful game. GREAT work, Zach and Miles! I especially liked navigating the solar system, trying to figure out where I was supposed to go.

I really like this one.

Someone mentioned on the comments of another game about how playing through all the competition entries is rather taxing, given how many are being released in such rapid succession. A lot of them are challenging... which normally I enjoy, but I find a short, easy, and delightful game like this is more suitable right now.

It feels great to play. I could see this same engine with more levels, dangers, a timer and a high score list... but it doesn't need all that for what it is.

My only complaint is with the controls. Not how your character moves; that's great... but the buttons assigned to certain actions. I'm sure there are more convient keys for zooming than [ and ]. Some of the letter keys around where one's fingers would rest when their thumb is on the spacebar would work wonderfully. Also, this game makes a UI mistake that is all too common in flash games - the gameplay is completely keyboard controlled, but the menus and in-game conversation require the mouse. It's much more convenient to be able to control the menus with the keyboard as well, and not difficult to add to the game if the designer doesn't overlook it.

eric_mo - "freely interpreted" implies that "ball physics" can mean anything the designer wants it to mean.

Therefore there really should be no criticizing a game for not meeting your own personal interpretation.

The best part of this game is walking round the planets punting teh kittehs into space.

Aside from that, the story is funny and, apart from some (already mentioned) control problems, this is another good entry.

Now, we've had escaping brownies, zombie nuns and now space kittehs. I can't wait to see the next random concept. Maybe cheese burgers? With rocket launchers? Anyone?

Hey guys, thanks for all your feedback, both positive and negative! It's all very helpful. We're reading every comment, and your feedback will influence our next project. Please keep it coming ;)

This game was great, I think it was my favorite so far.

If you're lost, zoom out -- there was nowhere in the game where you needed to navigate a black screen with full zoom level.

Well I must say i enjoyed this one. This thing with solar systems rocks. Though gravity seems to be not right... I mean that it does not work on long distances and after you cross some kind of border it suddenly starts working... Though I am not shore about that. It's just that it feels kind of strange...
Other then that it is one of my favorites so far. Simple to get used to and gives good feelings about this. Idea with solar systems rocks ;)

Hey! Who told you about my rocket-launching cheeseburger game? Are you a spy, LazyPint? IF THAT IS YOUR REAL NAME!!!

So, the game. Pretty fun, and the special effects are nice. Each area is distinct, despite the fact that each one is composed of a bunch of rocks in space. And the physics are entertaining, if not necessarily realistic. Punting kittens after you save them is a nice touch.

It took me a little while to get used to the controls, because I expected that holding left or right would walk me all the way around a planet, rather than stopping me at the equator. But I got used to it. The mouse/keyboard issue and the awkward placement of the zoom keys bothered me, too.

The big thing that interfered with my enjoyment was the humor. I don't mind silly humor, but a lot of these are internet-message-board jokes, which aren't really funny so much as clannish. It's weird to see that sort of Newgrounds/4chan stuff here, out of context.

That's subjective, of course, but I think it's holding back the game in more than one way. There are several characters in the game that could be entertaining as individuals, but they're all stuck with a handful of generic one-liners. They seem out of place in a game with otherwise high production values.

Heeheeeeeee! I saved them all!
First time I tried this game, it was very hard, because I didn't use the zoom keys. Second time, I zoomed out, and could actually see all the planets that were affecting my trajectory. Then it became much more understandable.

Fun concept. I got lost because I forgot about the zoom keys, putting them somewhere I could rest my fingers while playing would help with that.

The ball physics are easy to see, and eric_mo is way off. Ball physics is balls under the action of physics. Planets and stars are perfectly acceptable, they're just *really big* balls!

Hmm, makes me wonder if anyone went the other direction. (Sub-)atomic physics?

Unfortunately, just as I was getting into it, it ended. :( It doesn't need to be (and probably shouldn't be) a 40-hour epic, but a few more levels would have been nice.

Very cute and fun game. My favourite so far, but maybe that's just cause I love cats. I also lucked out and did the Gamma system (red transporter) first. It was almost too challenging...

I kept getting sucked in by the sun's gravity and singed. But, having got the jet pack upgrade from the kitty god,

I then found the other systems a bit easy. Perhaps the system 'representatives' should appear one at a time, so you have to do the planets in order of difficulty? And only get the

jet pack upgrade

in time to complete a more challenging level, for which it's really necessary? As is, you get it AFTER completing the only system in which it would have been really nice to have. Although the challenge there did make it interesting.
I did have the same problem as eric_mo as I once inadvertently went shooting off into space away from the system entirely, and didn't know how to get back. But if you refrain from using the jet pack for a while the gravity will eventually suck you back in.
Just one thing... "save 'teh' kittens" !!
Also, it would have been nice if you could somehow participate in the

kitty massacre

at the end, as a final requirement to winning the game.

I love this one so much. It's so nonsensical, but I keep coming back for more. The physics are a bit off, or at least don't work how I think they would, but once you sorta figure out what will happen, they're easy to get along with.

I'm sorta with eric_mo on the interpretation of ball physics, but I do see how others' interpretations may differ from mine -- even though they're wrong ;) Congrats on making such a fine, if short, game.

Fun game, the effects in particular were impressive.

Unfortunatly the game froze up when I was at the last level :(. I can't be bothered going back and doing it again right now but from other people's comments it seems like I might be missing out on something...

So apparently I finished the game, and I jumped off of the quick teleport and i went flying into space lol

Awesome game- fun control, and I loved the humor. My only complaint is that it was a little short- it took me less than two minutes. All the same, I really hope to see more games from the talented Zach Archer. Keep up the good work, guy!

FadeThen: Thank you!!! But, did the game really take you 2 minutes?? Did you finish all 3 missions?

I finished all three in about six minutes, but then, I lucked out.

I went straight to the Catgod by a massive coincidence.

"eric_mo - "freely interpreted" implies that "ball physics" can mean anything the designer wants it to mean.

Therefore there really should be no criticizing a game for not meeting your own personal interpretation."

Sorry jay but I have to disagree with you on this.
If a theme can be freely interpreted to the degree that it can mean anything the designer wants it to mean, then there seems little or no point in having a theme in the first place. You could in effect disregard the theme entirely and submit any game stating that it was your interpretation, and without being due any criticism for it.

Therefore, I believe that if a commenter does not believe that a game fill the criteria of he theme he is justified in making that criticism.

Please understand, I'm not talking about this game in particular, I'm just musing on a general principle.

ok, zeroster. :)

My point is that there are many possible interpretations of what "ball physics" could mean, and just because a particular implementation doesn't fit what you expect it should be doesn't make it wrong.

Agreed on that Jay. Guess I was just being pedantic over the wording of your first post. :)

It's kind of like that Nitrome game, Space Hopper, only not as good.

I guess this was just me, but when the game first started, I didn't know what to do. At first I thought I was the cat. I was moving my mouse around but nothing happened. Finally it occurred to me to try the keyboard. But some indicator would have been nice from the start.

I like the swirly cool visuals, the planetary orbits, and the entertaining names. The timer

on the Bast quiz was a nice touch. I was about ready to kill that cat.

I love the little vector sprites. The physics is a little disorienting at first, but you get used to it after a short while. This is to be expected of games of course.

Fun game, too bad its a little bit short. Also I found the gravity sometimes acts strange, but maybe thats just because there are so many of them.

And:

Is there an answer to the third question from Bast?

Once I realized the arrow keys were four directional rather than rotational and tried zooming out I really liked this game. Great story and tunes. Once I mastered the controls it was great fun using the planets for swing shots to get around quick. Of all the games I have played before in this planet hopping style, this was my favorite. I also loved the way the cats always made it back to the teleport if they were knocked away, I'm curious to know if they cheated, or if the AI used the in game physics to get back - which I would think is very hard to program.

Could have been longer. But I don't think that is a problem in a competition like this where it had to be developed so quickly.

My favorite is still 'Angular Momentum', this coming a close second. I'm just a sucker for rolling ball games. I've been hoping for a spin dizzy style game. alas not yet.

@Jay:
Yes, I do agree with you, perhaps you misunderstood me. I'm not saying that the designers interpretation was wrong or right, just that to me, it has no coherence if the theme is to be considered (which is supposed to happen when people cast their votes). Also, if I'm not mistaken, you'll analyze yourself if a game is inside or not the rules, and that includes being related to the theme proposed.
Also, I'm guessing your reply was a little bit too hard. I mean, "ball physics" mean "ball physics" anywhere in the world, but free interpretation comes up in implementation, on what to do with the "ball physics", not what the designer think ball physics is.

You know, there's supposed to be only one winner in CDGC. But CDGC4 has received something like 50 entries, and so, I do need to take a less open approach to the rules if I do want to choose one game as a winner, as taking only quality as a indicative will not work. You'd had to choose a bunch of games to win this.
If there were less games, it would be easier to choose, and I would not be complaining.

Sorry about being annoying, that is not my intention.
I'm just trying to give a second thought.

Played this again, and the gameplay seems a little better now. But there should be some way to play this in full screen.

eric_mo - I apologize if you thought my reply was too harsh.

If you have questions about how each game will be scored, please see the competition specifications page for a list of criteria we will use.

The competition theme is just one of many elements each game will be scored upon. It's not just about the theme.

Also... I swear the voice effects are from the game Startopia. Made me very nostalgic :P

DLand: What would have made the game better, or comparable to Space Hopper?

I knew a Space Hopper comparison was inevitable, although the only common traits (in my opinion) are the platform mechanics, and the space theme. Everything else, including the physics and the gameplay, feel quite different to me.

I don't think the idea is so unique. Miles and I had the idea for the Space Kitty mechanics years ago, independent of each other. The book The Little Prince (published in 1943) used these mechanics, too.

Redmess: In regards to your question...

No, every answer to Bast's third question is incorrect ;) With more development time, we probably would have changed that.

Sky: The cats do indeed have AI! If you go to the Beta (green) system, rescue 1 cat, and then boot it off the transporter, you'll see that it tries to climb back, by jumping in the direction of the transporter. The same code is used for the non-rescued Beta cats, except they're running away from you!

lol I jumped off the planet while it was taking me to another system now I'm lost in space

A marvelous, clever little game. The zoom option was impressively original. You can really tell that you guys had fun making this game.
The gravity is a little frustrating at times, but once you get the hang of it it is a wonderful game.

And as for the Third question Bast asks:

Here is an Association study of chromosome 4 STRs polymorphisms with nasopharyngeal carcinoma:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=16825163&dopt=AbstractPlus

At last, a platform game where even I can't fall off!

Whee - played this a couple of days ago. And I still smile when I see it.

Got to play it all the way through today.

Nice intepretation of the theme. I can imagine there will be many possibilities to expand the game in future versions. As already mentioned in previous posts, the controls are a bit of a fiddle. On the plus side I can't emphasis enough how nice it is to only have to wait a while instead of falling off platforms.

Keep up the good work

E.G.


Great Job! I played 5 other games on here and none was as satisfying to play or as visually fun as this one!

I just LOVE the blue jet trail at the end, and the new camera angle!

I couldn't get the hang of this game for the first few tries, but if you go to the 3rd planet first, everything seems easy after that!

Mu-Tant

I love this game so much.
It took me about three minutes to find

Bast

lol.

Hey guys. Miles and I will be updating Space Kitty soon, sorry to keep everyone waitng. We're grappling with other deadlines, and we both worked through the weekend on those projects. Soon, soon... Thanks for your patience!

really great little game! cool design and mood, brilliant music. actually I found the controlls pretty intuitive, after some minutes of experimenting. best game so far and I tried most of them.

one thing to improve: more level please!!!!!!!!

good luck!

Hi!

If you update the game, will you please change the controls for zooming in/out? After some trying, first using AltGr+8 and AltGr+9 where the [ and ] are (which didn't work), and then pressing all the keys on my keyboard, I found I could zoom out with the "..." key, but it was impossible to zoom back in again. Probably the ¨/^/~ key is used for that, which is a "dead key" on swedish keyboards, and does not generate a keypress event.

boh: AAAAAaaaaahh! Sorry :(

We're going to support a few combinations of zoom keys. The brackets will still be accessible, but I think we're also going to use 'W' and 'S' for zooming in/out. These keys should be easy to press, if you have your left thumb on the space bar (for jumping).

Fun game, especially with the upgrades at the end. I appreciate the extra camera options, I realize you likely did some gametesting to decide on the most usable option out-of-the-box, but I enjoyed the Giant Turntable style for a bit more of a mesmerizing gameplay experience.

antill: "Giant Turntable" is my favorite camera mode, too. It has the nice side-effect of making the Gamma level very easy to traverse. Most of our testers said it made them feel nauseous, so in the end we set the default mode to "Sober" ;)

DLand said:
It's kind of like that Nitrome game, Space Hopper, only not as good.

I am going to have to wholeheartedly disagree with this statement.

I really like most of the work on Nitrome, but I never bothered getting past level one on Space Hopper. I was just not interested in it at all after getting a taste of the gameplay, mostly because the main character's actions and abilities were severely limited. He didn't jump very high, and he fell too quickly, which felt way too clumsy for the type of game it was. Also, I felt that the introduction of "invulerable by default" enemies was a poor choice. Undefeatable enemies generate the same effect as moving blocks with spikes protruding from each side. If you're going to have me play a game where the main character, who has no way to defend him/herself, is surrounded by homicidal whatchamacallits, you might as well tell me beforehand that (s)he has no survival skills whatsoever so that I can contemplate how the hell (s)he made it out to wherever (s)he is in the first place.

Basically, it seemed as if Space Hopper was the result of someone shoddily grafting a puzzle game onto an adventure game.

Space Kitteh is refreshingly different.

Whether or not the physics are realistic is irrelevant. I liked the fact that my blue-haired tunic-wearing protagonist actually floats when he jumps. Additionally, giving the player the ability to directly manipulate his/her jumping path makes for more enjoyable gameplay.

An adventure game should rely more on the skill of the player rather than the skill of the protagonist. I don't really like it when, in an adventure/platformer, a player is treated to the illusion of difficulty because the character (s)he is playing is just barely given the adequate amount of jump height/distance/speed to complete a certain task. Every task in Space Kitteh is completable with only a small amount of logical thought required, which is just the way it should be.

The other aspects of Space Kitteh are fantastic as well. The cosmic soundtrack fits nicely into its theme, and a zany sense of humor is always welcome in my book (except for maybe the Zero Wing references from Scissors; it seems a bit tacky after this much time). I believe that if it was just longer, it could have ousted The Tall Stump as the top runner in this competition. I'm not sure if Jay would think this is stretching it a bit, but I still believe it.

As for the debate over if it fits the "Ball Physics" theme...I wasn't sure at first, but now I think it does. All objects exert a gravitational pull on all other objects. Therefore, balls have a gravitational pull, and planets, which are shaped roughly like balls, have a gravitational pull as well. And since gravity is a concept of physics, this game, which concerns spherical planets that exert a gravitational pull on the main character, completely fits the theme of "Ball Physics". I guess I was assuming at first that "Ball Physics" merely involved spheres colliding into each other and ricocheting at strange angles.

Whew. Now that I'm done with all that, I have some questions concerning the game. Actually, I have two.

- I've heard of a "Giant Turntable" mode, but there's no in-game documentation on how to activate it, to my knowledge.

...how do you activate it, exactly?

- I love this game's music, especially the Gamma sector theme! You wouldn't be able to have it somewhere, would you, Zach and Miles? If not, that's fine.

Yeah, it's a long post and it seems like a dredge, but I just never got to playing it. Sorry! And I can't wait for the updated Space Kitteh!

M: Thank you for your fine comments! I'm sorry the director's cut of Space Kitty still isn't ready; Miles and I are both busy with other projects, and we haven't had much time to sync up. Hopefully the new version will be finished in time for Christmas, so it can be a nice present ;)

If you beat the game, then Paper will tell you how to change the camera's behavior. There are 3 camera modes, you can switch between them (at any time, before or after winning) by pressing the "C" key.

As for the music, I'm thrilled that people like it. You can grab the versions used in the game here:
http://dev.zacharcher.com/atomsmasher/20071114_dev/space_kitteh/music/

There are longer versions on my hard drive, but I need a day or two to remix them, and I can't spare that much time yet ;) Again, maybe around Christmas? How about this idea: when you win the game, you should get a link to download the soundtrack. That would be spiffy...

Does anyone actually know the answer to the question about the chromosomes and whatnot?

it doesn't really matter if you know the answer to the thing about chromosomes, the result is going to be the same every time.

but honestly, I don't know the answer to that either.

If you go to the red galaxy first, get singed by the sun (it boosts you upwards) and get to the cat-god, (Meow, No, Any Answer, You get it wrong anyways. Yes, But what happened to the Kitties? But --) AND YOU GET AN UPGRADED JETPACK! This has probably been mentioned before, but still. THERE ARE NO KITTEHS? NOOOOOOO! But still, talk to Kat-God again and he'll blast you with a laser beam, talk to whats-his-name before Cat-God, and it's Lazer Beeeeem for him! ("But where did that laser come from?" I hear you ask? Listen to Kat-God. He Explains All.)

I love this game, it's a welcome relief to be able to actually finish without spoilers. My one criticism would be that the controls for moving around the planets take some getting used to. If you could just use left and right, it would make it easier to walk around a planet.

Other than that, it is a great game. Thanks!

After the game ended, I used my superpowered jetpack to kick a kitty into deep space and chased him for what I assume is one mile. Then I closed it.

We need a kitty grab time trial mode. Or, God forbid, a multiplayer (not online) kitty grabfest. Complete with kicking your opponent and taking their kitty. Ouch.

Beautiful game, I can see a lot of feline love has gong into this :-)

I'd really like to see the ending but after Firefox crashing twice I give up... shame.

Love this game, but it was a bit short.

Meow! Why do you torment me?!

I really like the music, reminds me of Kraftwerk and a handfull of other performers. I appreciate you're offering them for download :-) Greets from The Netherlands!

I agree with every nice thing people have said about this game. It's delightful, and much better than Space Hopper. But, gah, the length! It was over in less than ten minutes, just when I was starting to get into it! Guys, is there any chance of a longer version? I'd really love to be able to get at least an hour or two of solid gameplay out of this lovely game.

And, ah, if you do, could the blue ribbon be a feature from the start? It does make the swooping around more fun. Maybe add some pyrotechnics to it after you win. :)

Wow. Browsing through the "Recommended" games can be highly rewarding. The sole complaint is that Space Kitteh is sooooo short. :(

To beat this one you can head through the three solar systems: Alpha, Beta, & Gamma, collecting kittehs at each location amongst swirling planets, moons, satellites, and other inter-orbiting celestial bodies while avoiding a space laser and plummeting into the sun or you can just:

realize this game is simply amazing and go with it.

I love this game!!! The only problem was that it was way too short!! more please!!

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