This review was originally created in August 2018 for HTC, targeted to their Vive/Vive Pro (VIVEPORT). It is reproduced here without alteration.
ThoughtCatalog has described cats as the “unofficial mascot of the Internet.” Although a seemingly outrageous statement, if anything, this declaration doesn’t give the importance of cats in popular culture enough credit. It’s no surprise then that cats are a regular subject for virtual reality experiences. Kitty Rescue VR is one such experience, with not only much to enjoy for cat lovers, but also a little something that might even please cat haters.
The premise of Kitty Rescue VR is simple. The cat, conveniently named “Kitty,” is always getting herself into trouble. It’s up to you to defy the odds and rescue Kitty from ridiculously high places.
While some virtual reality experiences try for longer play sessions, Kitty Rescue VR focuses instead on short and punchy, with the whole game broken up into three scenarios and a bonus level, taking just 5 to 10 minutes or so to complete. The three scenarios are: Window Washer, Walk The Crane, and Girder Jump.
In Window Washer, Kitty has walked onto a window washing rig that was closed for repair and is now swinging about 200 feet in the air. In Walk the Crane, Kitty wanders onto a rickety old plank at the top of a crane. And in Girder Jump, Kitty had fallen asleep on some girders and woke to find herself trapped high up on a ledge.
Each scenario builds up in intensity from the last, with Window Washer tasking you with reaching out across a void to rescue Kitty, Walk the Crane tasking you with walking across a plank and grabbing Kitty, and Girder Jump requiring you to jump from crane-to-crane, and back, to return Kitty to safety. If you have a fear of heights, this will definitely play to that, but the thoughtful scenario progression can also help you overcome it, at least within virtual reality.
Once you complete all three scenarios, the Bonus Skill Level unlocks. To play, at the scenario selection screen, you grab Kitty to begin. Targets appear and you then have to try and throw Kitty at each target in a race against the clock. Although like in the main scenarios there’s never any violence depicted – Kitty vanishes whether you miss or hit a target – it can still be cathartic to give Kitty a hearty toss if cats really aren’t your thing.
As you might expect for this type of game, Kitty Rescue VR is played standing, preferably in a larger room-scale setup because of the walking requirement in the various scenarios. Of course, you have to be careful not to walk in the wrong spot and fall down, ending your game. Each Vive controller represents a hand and is used both for grabbing Kitty in the scenarios and tossing Kitty in the bonus level. If you accidentally release the trigger when holding Kitty in the main scenarios, the cat will fall, also ending your game.
Visually, Kitty Rescue VR has a clean, clear look, with a nice mix of realistic and more cartoon-like graphics. There’s also a convincing sense of height when trying to rescue Kitty. The animation is OK, but Kitty herself is rather stiff and robotic. Music and sound effects, including Kitty’s meows, suit the overall theme.
Although Kitty Rescue VR errs on the shorter side and only features three scenarios and a bonus level, what’s there is definitely fun. It’s just a shame that this excellent foundation is not further enhanced with additional whacky scenarios to rescue the hapless Kitty from.
Score: 3 out of 5 stars.
Kitty Rescue VR is available on Viveport or with a Viveport Subscription.