Little Kitty, Big City Preview

Published: June 15, 2023 3:40 PM /

Previewed By:

The kitty looking toward the camera in Little Kitty, Big City

Some say everybody wants to be a cat, and that’s never been truer than in recent years. Everyone remembers Stray, but it's time to move over; Little Kitty, Big City is the next cat-based game looking to nuzzle its way into our hearts. I’ve been looking forward to the game for a while now, and I luckily got to play a preview build at Summer Game Fest. Set in a simulation of Tokyo, you play as a little black kitty who’s trying to get home. According to game director Matt T. Wood though, going straight home really isn’t the goal here.

Cat lovers know that cats will do as they please. To translate that into a game, Wood and Double Dagger Studio created a world of distractions and curiosities. Twinkling trinkets, like paper clips, nuts, and bolts, are collectable and lovingly called “shinies.” Trash cans can be rummaged through, kitchen counters can be climbed, and there’s no shortage of tantalizing plant pots to boop off high places.

The kitty knocks a plant pot off a fence in Little Kitty, Big City.
You see that plant pot? You can boop it.

So I, the little kitty, proceeded to cause as much mischief as I could in the big city. Wood anticipated that I (and many others) would want to do the same, so everything is gamified to reward that type of behavior, in an almost Untitled Goose Game sort of way.

For example, early on, I ran into a young boy who had a large white sheet on the ground with paint buckets to the side. He’s clearly working on some art project, but he’s hit a creative block. Being a cat, I wasn’t concerned about any of that. Instead, I wanted to knock over the buckets and leave purple paw prints everywhere. Wood, who sat next to me, told me that I actually helped the boy by sparking some inspiration, and the game recognized that I finished a quest.

Other humans walk through a nearby alleyway, and they all have different interactions. Wood mentioned that some are programmed to be cat lovers, so they’ll stop and try to pet you. Others are indifferent or might even actively avoid you (huge red flag, am I right?). Some humans carry phones, a few of which are super distracted. If you stand in front of them, they’ll trip over you, and you can then steal their phone because... well, why not? Though Wood said there would be a future quest that involves stealing a specific phone.

The kitty steals a smartphone in Little Kitty, Big City.

When it comes to the early build I played, there were only a handful of quests, one of which involved stealing a sandwich from a human. Using the bread, I could distract birds, allowing me to sneak up and pounce on them. Your reward for this is a feather, another collectible, but then the bird is safe to fly free. No birds are harmed in the making of Little Kitty, Big City (potentially).

Shinies and feathers are given to different NPCs for different upgrades. For example, a very enterprising crow will trade you some shinies for a fish, which upgrades your climbing abilities. On the other paw, an eccentric tanuki will happily take your feathers to open portals around the world. These upgrades, along with other potential ones in the full build, are all in service of helping you get back home, which is an apartment that definitely isn’t on the ground floor.

The last type of collectible I ran into are the little capsule toys you get out of gachapons. They’re hidden all over the map, and getting one will unlock a total game changer: hats. Your kitty can wear these cosmetics, which include bunny ears and ladybug hats. There are dozens of them, and they do absolutely nothing to improve your abilities. They’re also unquestionably the most important collectible in Little Kitty, Big City.

The kitty wears a daikon hat in Little Kitty, Big City
I'll never be as cool as this little guy.

While I’m only joking (partially), the different hats really lean into the game’s electrifying charm. Your cat can meow and nuzzle up to humans, and every animation, like squeezing through small holes or flinching at water, feels true to life, with an extra dash of adorable. The captivating art style is very cartoony, almost anime-esque. Once players unlock photo mode, I’m sure we’ll see a lot of this cute black cat. 

Little Kitty, Big City could be the ultimate cat fantasy game. It’s cozy, playful, curious, and charming. While the setup is all about getting back home, the real goal here is all about being a curious cat who’s exploring the world. It’s a world I can’t wait to explore when it comes to Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One via Game Pass. It’s also slated to release on PC and Nintendo Switch, and we can expect it in early 2024.

Little Kitty, Big City was previewed at Summer Game Fest Play Days. Screenshots were provided by Double Dagger Studio. 

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