I would like to think I am good at keeping living things alive. I mean, I’m still here. That should count for something. I have plants in my home that were given to me five years ago as a housewarming gift. (They aren’t even cacti!) I’ve had cats depend upon me, aided at an animal shelter, and even been trusted with keeping people’s children safe from harm for a whole evening. But for all my success, I experienced a notable failure with A Street Cat’s Tale. For the longest time, I just couldn’t keep that kitten alive.
Spoiler alert: There is a rainbow bridge and boy howdy, did this cat cross it.
A Street Cat’s Tale seems fairly simple and sweet, but man is it filled with death and despair. A mother cat and her kitten are trying to get by while living on the unforgiving streets. She heads out to get food for her baby during the day. However, people in this world are absolute jerks. Not even five minutes into the story, the mother’s been hit by a car and the kitten is completely alone in the world.
That’s apparently my cue to turn up and make everything worse.
Everything has a chance of killing the kitten in A Street Cat’s Tale. Food could be as likely to fill them up as it would to lower their health. Even if you obey the rules of the road, there’s nothing to keep a light from abruptly changing and a car from taking advantage of that to mow this sweet summer child down. Time passes more swiftly than you’d expect, meaning you might not even be able to each every corner of the map in a day. Due to the isometric nature, you might not have the best view of your surroundings. You’re also not guaranteed certain drops from cardboard boxes and trash cans, so it isn’t like you’ll absolutely get all the parts you need to upgrade your home—a permanent upgrade that endures across playthroughs—or keep a kitten alive for about two weeks.
Basically, A Street Cat’s Tale ends up feeling more like a roguelike game than a life simulation, even though you aren’t fighting the traditional sorts of enemies.
A lot of managing to survive and thrive comes from actually playing A Street Cat’s Tale. Experimentation is critical, and it might take some time to recognize what items are. Food waste, for example, will refill 60 hunger and be one of the most substantial meals, but it will also take away 10 health. A huge fish will give you a major hunger boost and restore your health, but you’ll have to steal from the fish shop and risk your relationship with all humans for that. Building up the house is a huge deal, especially since some endings require you to have certain relationship levels with other characters and a fully embellished home will let you have more than two interactions with each character per day.
This all means there can be a lot of heartache as you even try to reach a point where you could get one satisfactory ending.
Fortunately, there’s really only one ending that makes you feel like death is all around this sweet animal. I mean, you could see it a lot as you get a feel for the game’s controls and how cheap those traffic lights can be. Though with the ones that are happier, it can mean needing to find specific items or talk to absolutely everyone. A Street Cat’s Tale really makes you earn that happy ending, but at least it can feel incredibly satisfying to finally see a kitten survive.
A Street Cat’s Tale is available for the Nintendo Switch, PC, and both Android and Apple iOS devices.