Little Kitty, Big City Lands on All Fours

Games Reviews little kitty, big city
Little Kitty, Big City Lands on All Fours

You can go far in this world if you’re cute and funny. Double Dagger Studio understands this; its debut game, Little Kitty, Big City, prioritizes being cute and funny above all else, and the result is a deeply charming riff on animal sims like Goat Simulator and Untitled Goose Game. Fittingly, it’s a game you’ll want to curl up with on a lazy, cozy day between naps. 

Little Kitty, Big City basks in the prankish irreverence of Untitled Goose Game but with softer edges befitting its furry little star. This kitty (who remains nameless until late into the story) doesn’t mean to annoy people or break stuff; that’s just what cats do, though, and so obviously you’ll be doing it too in a game where you play as a cat. From the expected destruction of knocking objects off shelves, to the more grievous mayhem of tripping pedestrians and stealing their phones, this little kitty can cause big chaos all throughout the Japanese city it lives in.

Along the way the cat will meet a menagerie of urban animals, some offering help, others demanding it. A greedy crow offers a variety of services in exchange for “shinies”—the game’s currency, which is basically any bit of human trash that’s small and glittery, eventually becoming something of a friend by the end of the game. An inventive tanuki who hates being mistaken for a raccoon builds a space-time warping fast travel network within the city’s sewer system. A stuffy British duck asks you to find his wayward ducklings; each baby has its own distinct personality and defining interest, the cutest of which is a baby duck fascinated by a duck version of Street Fighter 2. (He even wears a Ryu-style headband.) These interactions are almost always adorable, with a sweet, innocent sense of humor that’s still legitimately funny and not cloying or saccharine. 

Little Kitty, Big City

You’re not just roaming this city to be a Good Samaritabby, though. Helping other animals helps you get closer to your own goal: returning to the top-floor apartment you fell out of at the start of the game. You’re not strong enough to climb up that building at first, so you have to charge up by eating fish, most of which you can get to by helping out these other critters. Once you’re ready to climb, it works like it does in Breath of the Wild and Tears of the Kingdom: kitty has an energy meter that wears down the longer you climb, and when it empties out kitty’s going to take a fall. Eating a fish adds one extra meter to your total. I was able to climb back to my apartment and “finish” the game after eating four fish, making this a refreshingly short game if you want to beeline straight to the end of the main story. You can get back home within two hours.

Of course there’s far more to do in Little Kitty, Big City if you don’t want to rush through it. There’s a long list of collectibles and achievements to unlock, and you’ll have to explore every inch of this city to find them all. You’ll be looking for seven perfect nap spots, a number of abandoned bird nests to knock down, dozens of hats to find or buy (my fave is the corn cob hat), even a stage magician chameleon you can track down repeatedly throughout the city. Along the way you’ll continue to meet precious animals who quickly reveal their unique personalities through smart, concise, witty writing. The end goal is the least important thing about this game, especially since you can jump back in after the credits and finish up whatever business you have left in the city. 

“Hang out games”—games without urgency, that explicitly try not to stress you out—cozy games, as many call them—can be tough to get right. They can feel too much like busy work, with a checklist of stuff it wants you to do every day (hey, Animal Crossing!) It’s also not easy to build a world players want to hang out in. You have to be really good at writing stories, creating characters, and putting them in an environment that, if not warm and inviting, is at least compelling enough to keep players checking in. 

Little Kitty, Big City

That’s the greatest strength of Little Kitty, Big City. I love this little kitten. I love how it slinks, stalks, crawls, and runs through the city. I’ve tripped probably 100 very serious business people on their way to work and it’s never gotten old. I love all these characters—the brave ducklings who roamed the city for show and tell, the sleepy bodega cat who proclaims himself the mayor, the shiba inus who go out of their mind barking at the kitty unless you give them a bone, which they’ll manically gnaw and slobber on for the rest of the game. Charm coats this game like hair and dander on a cat lover’s couch. 

With Little Kitty, Big City, Double Dagger has given us an ideal “hang out” game, one I anticipate bouncing into until I’ve done everything there is to do in it. This has been a tough week for the Martin clan—elderly relatives don’t need to be fixing their own deck, no matter how healthy and resourceful they might be—but the low key adventures of this lovable little kitten has helped with the stress and the sadness. That means Little Kitty, Big City isn’t just a “hang out” game—it might also be the first “hang in there” game.

Little Kitty, Big City was developed and published by Double Dagger Studio. Our review is based on the Switch version. It’s also available for PC, Xbox Series X|S, and Xbox One.

Senior editor Garrett Martin writes about videogames, comedy, travel, theme parks, wrestling, music, and more. He’s also on Twitter @grmartin.

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