You are a cat. Your owner has left you home alone as they do every day. Your window has opened, and it is time to punish your unwitting human the only way you know how: mass destruction. Such is the premise of Catlateral Damage, a first-person cat simulator by developer Chris Chung. Similar to Katamari Damacy, you are in a space with a limited amount of time to do a lot of damage—but instead of playing an adorable alien prince rolling up items, you’re an adorable cat with a predilection for carnage.
Catlateral Damage, conceived at the 7DFPS game jam in 2013, was inspired by Chung’s childhood cat, Nippy, who he describes as the epitome of the aloof and ruinous cat. It was greenlit for Steam and Kickstarted in 2014, and the full game is finally being released next week. As a cat you roam your empty house, leaping onto countertops and racing the clock to push off as many valuables as possible. The rooms in the house are procedurally generated to maximize unique demolition possibilities. The game has collectibles and unlockable cats, so if the standard playable cat doesn’t look enough like the destructive feline in your life you can unlock one more like your little hellion.
The videogame community is clearly overrun with cat people. There are countless games about cats, even games for cats. Like Catlateral Damage, My Garbage Cat Wakes Me Up at 3 AM Every Day documents the supreme douchiness of cats—and the suckers who for some reason willingly put up with them. Neko Atsume, the Japanese cat game so adorable that people have ignored its language barrier for the sake of the cats, has been the obsession of many. I admit that, despite being a fervent dog lover, I am not immune: my kitten has her own special games installed on my iPad in a folder all for her.
The fact that Catlateral Damage glorifies the horribleness of cats shows that we are truly at their mercy, that the parts we love most about them are the parts that are their most psychopathic. When my kitten looks me dead in the eyes as she pushes a glass off the windowsill, she’s letting me know who is truly in power. This is the reminder in Catlateral Damage: we are not the masters of our homes, but rather the willing hostages of our feline overlords.