GAME REVIEW | Bullet Hell Silliness Via "Cat Girl Without Salad"
Can an April Fool’s joke go way too far? In life, perhaps. But within the realm of video games, the goofiest of concepts can lead to a good time. Such is the case with WayForward’s Cat Girl Without Salad, which first sprung to life in 2013 as a joke preview. Well they then turned it into a video game a couple of years afterwards, amassing something of a cult following. Now two years later, it hits the console realm with plenty of jabs at the funny bone.
Trying to make sense of the story of Cat Girl Without Salad is borderline impossible. You are a cat girl who hates nutritious foods, and are seeking three bounties to satisfy your sweet tooth. The universe throws everything at you, as you attempt to shoot down everything in your path. Why? Erm, reasons, I guess...?
The gameplay is pretty standard, as you just blast away everything that’s in your path. At times, you’ll earn special weaponry that’ll have you launching golf balls, dance routines, RPG maneuvers, and even a little blue bomber who may get a cease-and-desist from Capcom one of these days. At the end of each of the three levels, you’ll face off against some pretty unique bosses. From rock stars whose heart you’ve stolen and culinary chefs who hate your taste in food to a doppelgänger of sorts, these bosses throw everything at you in order to take you down. Why they have a vendetta against you...well, who cares?
Our hero Kebako is an incredibly dense hero, the polar opposite of WayForward’s golden half-genie Shantae. She’s like a mixture of Unikitty and Star Butterfly, with less intelligence and more wacky off-the-cuff comments. But her nonsensical bantering with her comrade Squiddie help to make it all the more enjoyable rather than annoying, with non-sequitur back stories that make the whole thing confusing. Thankfully, that’s the point of this bullet hell game, which takes an insane (and often stressful) genre and jams it with some hilarity.
It also helps that Cat Girl Without Salad is insanely cute to watch unfold. Mixing anime-like visuals and some of the better Disney XD animated styles, the bright colors and snuggly attitude contrasts with the chaos that unfolds on the screen. WayForward’s golden girl Cristina Vee takes the reigns as Kebako, who showcases a wild and zany personality that’d make Pinkie Pie look like Eeyore. Meanwhile, Jake Kaufman continues to be a tour-de-force in the soundtrack business, crafting sweet and kooky melodies that fit perfectly with the mood this game offers.
Gameplay-wise, it’s very easy to just jump in and start shooting. It’s the specialty weapons that will have you doing trials to see what they do and how they deliver damage. Get it right, and you can deliver a solid dose of hurt to anything in its path; just don’t take damage yourself, or else you’ll lose the powers. These certainly come in handy when it comes time for the boss battles, which can grind a bit if all you have is your pea shooter.
The only downside to Cat Girl Without Salad is its time is pretty short. You can complete the game in just under 90 minutes, which isn’t too bad considering the $8 price tag that’s on it. Once beaten, you’ll have the chance to play the game with all the special weapons earned, without worrying of losing them if you get damaged.
- Very funny script
- Adorable visuals
- Good challenging gameplay
- Very short experience
Cat Girl Without Salad is sort of an anti-bullet hell game, but it’s wicked fun and hilarious. Although your time with the game will be wicked short, it still packs a load of fun during its quick runtime. Here’s hoping Kebako is convinced to save the galaxy sometime again in the near-future, albeit with a longer mission this time around.
Promotional consideration provided by WayForward. Reviewed on the Nintendo Switch.