A game based around the exploits of everyone's favourite retro YouTuber Octavius Kitten sounds like fun, doesn't it? But Dave E finds it's just yet another AGD platformer. Boo.Octokitty
Funnily enough, there's a distinct lack of women both programming games (retro or not) and/or making videos about them. However, a noteable exception is Octavius Kitten, a fictional character with a string of addictions including a love of 8-bit video games. Her channel has thousands of subscribers (including me) who love her quirky, irreverent take on everything from Granny's Garden to Dizzy. The production values have steadily increased over the years too, with some of her more recent work being practically broadcast quality.
And so it has come to pass that UltraNarwhal has made a Spectrum game loosely tied to Octavius. I say loosely tied because Octavius is the type of character who bounces between extremes - from the bottom of a wine bottle to sexual dominatrix in a couple of clicks - so if I were to theme a game on her, I'd probably go for something a bit more risque than Octukitty.
Octukitty is a simple platformer. You move Octavius (and the instructions make it clear that this rather short, squat sprite is the tall, thin YouTuber of that name!) left and right on a quest for six keys. The only game mechanic of note is that pressing fire drops a cat's head which can be jumped upon and then jumped from, in order to reach higher platforms. Everything else is decidedly standard fare with unintelligent patrolling nasties that are easily avoided. It's essentially Jet Set Willy with slightly bigger sprites.
The game is produced with Arcade Game Designer and it handles as you would expect - nicely tuned collision detection, a smattering of colour, little attribute clash... and nothing at all in the way of originality. Ho hum, I know every game won't be earth-shattering but couldn't we at least have brought a few of the elements from Octavius's most liked videos into any spin-off game? There's no amarous Hungry Horace to avoid, no snarling Granny's Garden witch to fear, no strips of bacon to cut away with the handy edge of the ill-fated Sinclair Vega Plus... And those are just my ideas from her videos that I've watched recently.
In fact, what the heck is the connection with a quest for keys and Octavius Kitten anyway? I'd venture that UltraNarwhal called this something dead boring like Key Quest to start with, and tacked on Octukitty a few minutes before releasing it simply to parasite off her fame...!
I mean, it's not a bad game in its own right. It's pretty easy, but that's no bad thing as I'd much rather think I'm in with a fighting chance of completing something rather than reaching for the Reset button after a few minutes of mandatory-pixel-perfect-jumping hell. What's here is sort of ok, but a game that's completely devoid of the charm, wit and humour of Octavius's videos. So it's really an opportunity missed in many respects.
If you really like generic flick-screen platform games then by all means give it a whirl. But if, like me, you were hoping for something a bit more daring, then you're only going to come away from Octukitty with a feeling of disappointment.