Thursday, 13 December 2012

Review: The Cat and the Coup

On the 7th of July, 2011, our very own Cynic Harvey (Billy Bob) said this about Cat and the Coup on the Steam Recommendations page.

"It's got all the mystery of Midsummer Murders, the beauty of Jo Brand, and the gamplay of Kaplunk". 

Now, ignoring the fact he misspelled "kerplunk" and "gameplay", and I haven't noticed for the year and a half I have been laughing at that, this is  pretty apt. 

If you aren't British and have no idea what any of those things are...I envy you. Onto the review!



Yep, three buttons, Arrow Keys and Space, this thing could be played on a Gameboy

So yes, the reason I am making a Cat and the Coup review is because, from what I have seen, no-one has bothered. And I completely understand why. The Cat and the Coup is a free to play game on Steam, I believe it was the First Free to Play Game on Steam, it is also made seemingly entirely with University/academic scholarship. It is a game designed to explain a specific part of history, the fall of Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh. In this sense it is a success. However I assume it was designed to be fun. In this sense it is a failure. Allow me to explain.




Here you have your main protagonist at the start of the game, of which you shall be guiding through your epic quest into 20th century Iran, we start at the end, with the death of Mohammad Mossadegh, and from here we shall walk through the hallowed halls of his life.


 But NO! Not as Mohammad Mossadegh, that would be ridiculous, you get to play as his cat. Now, I understand the idea of this, it is suppose to be a short, puzzle based game, largely designed to take you on an artistic journey through the event.  Quite unique, but unique is not an inherent good word.



So Mossadegh gets up and begins this game by strolling from his death bed into his "house arrest in a walled village". Of course, he doesn't move of his own free will, as will be a reoccuring feature in this game, Mossadegh only moves if his cat is an asshole to him.

So while trying to write his will, or last testament, or his autobiography or something while under arrest. Your job as the cat is to vigorously torment him and his ink pot, while tilting the room he is in back and forth from it's pivot on what appears to be a fountain pen.


So upon messing up his work enough that the Ink Pot goes out the door, the room will tilt and Mossadegh will slide out of the room, plummeting into the symbolic abyss that is the rest of this game. You as the cat, must of course follow him to torment him further.


As you might not be able to see past all the symbolism, there is the Cat and Mossadegh falling in the bottom right hand corner. This is actually quite a nice picture of the student clashes that occurred after Mossadegh was removed from power.


The British Bulldog we can assume means Hitler Stalin  Churchill. I believe the iguana type thing is suppose to be the US. The Peacock you probably hadn't even noticed until now I believe is the Shah. Notice that I've already started messing up his paper work in this scene, right before I think you force him to fall down a hole.




Yep, move pushing him around as he tried desperately to defend himself in court. This cat man. This cat.


It is amazing this game is short enough to get away with making the review. I like this one, because it has a pig tank. For all this game lacks in being a game. It has a pig tank.


So as the mob closes in around Mossadegh, your job is to do nothing except the aforementioned Kerplunk-style tilting that got you here in the first place, never to help him, just to hasten the crushing.


If this isn't suppose to be iconic, I don't know what is. More falling. Cat on-top of the UN flag.


Don't take the "U.S Assistance Available" sign to mean you have any choice, as you are about to see, your only options, as before, is to tip the room, and be an ass to Mossadegh.


Yep, you knock him out his chair, and then out that door. Great.


This one is particularly harrowing, as it shows the cat being stroked by the British Bulldog, further lending to my theory that the Cat...is infact the Coup! I think I've just solved this case. Also, Mossadegh turns off the oil or something.


As you can see, the aim of this next level is to throw yourself at Mohammad Mossadegh, in the most blatant act of violence shown by the cat yet. Every time you do, it causes a bit more of the room to fill up with Oil, as you can see here.



The bang, you kill him, Mossadegh gives up under relentless torture from his cat. Then the oil starts to rise and his body with it.


His body then continues to rise on a tide of oil as it passes historical events from his life


And...that is it...Congratulations, you've just witnessed me play the entire of Cat and the Coup. I've completed the entire thing twice, and on Steam it says I have played for 0.5 hours overall. This time, 0.2, so we have worked out I am improving. But yes, short as hell.

So I get the idea, as I said prior, to make a fun way to teach a historical event many people have probably not heard of, and with Iranian politics playing an increasing part on the world stage due to America's attachment to Israel. There is a slight problem with this one, it isn't fun, or, I suppose, more importantly, it isn't a game. If these guys made it for their dissertation or whatever, I hope they didn't do very well on the gameplay front. Then there is also the fact it is free, but when did that ever stop me ripping into something. I'm not quite sure why this was the first free to play game on Steam

So, to conclude, the mystery is non-existent, the beauty, well, I will call Harvey out on this one, the backgrounds are nice, if horrendously laid out and, at times, misplaced, and the gameplay is worse than kerplunk, because at least that had more than three variables.

So there you have it, the most comprehensive review of the Cat and the Coup on the web...Probably. Glad to be back. Now we can get onto the real articles. Glad to be back. Let's get cynical. 

4 comments:

  1. Hmmm. (That's a speechless commentator). Game looks rubbish. However, happy Christmas to you all and thanks for 5 mths of entertaining blogs!

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    Replies
    1. It is quite a silly game, and thank you on both counts. Here is to five more months, unless those Mayans got it right. (thankfully they definitely didn't)

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  2. He was Prime Minister, not President.

    ReplyDelete