Cats and The Other Lives Review: The Cat’s Meow of Family Trauma


The quiet ingenuity of “Cats and The Other Lives” reminds us of the narrative power of indie game development. With its unassuming point-and-click mechanics and artful pixel design, the game invites you into the Mason family’s intimate world, unveiling layers of emotional complexity through the lens of a seemingly indifferent domestic tabby named Aspen.

YouTube player

As you meander through the intricately detailed Mason Manor, you might find it tempting to classify this as just another indie game with an artistic twist. But as Aspen, you’re not just knocking priceless heirlooms off shelves or chasing virtual mice—no, you’re uncovering a labyrinthine narrative woven from family drama and personal regrets. The narrative is deeply engaging, beginning as a family melodrama but unfurling into an intricate story that includes themes of toxic relationships, mental struggle, and the haunting quest for personal liberation.

Yet for all its emotional depth, the game isn’t without its glitches—while easy to move Aspen with a controller, selecting the correct icon can be a bit of a challenge, albeit nothing game-breaking. And while some may find the early narrative clichéd, including a disturbing puzzle around a lawyer trying to poop, the game almost taunts you into underestimating its depth. It isn’t until Act 3 that the veil lifts, revealing a storyline that transcends the mundane to deal with human vulnerabilities and psychological dilemmas, creating an indelible emotional impact.

In deep story-first adventures, “Gone Home” and Freebird Games’ oeuvre are inevitable comparisons. “Cats and The Other Lives” bears the hallmark of artful storytelling that is increasingly the specialty of indie studios, and yet it goes further. Most noticeably, it introduces the unique device of a non-human perspective, Aspen, to navigate these intricate human emotions, breaking away from the human-centric viewpoints that limit most games of its genre. This artistic choice adds a psychological detachment that paradoxically makes the storyline even more poignant.

We love the classic Lucasfilm Games adventures, and the game’s aesthetics are a pixel-art dream with smooth animations that elevate the point-and-click format from mere nostalgia to art form. The gameplay mechanics might be simple, but they serve their purpose, deferring to the rich narrative that truly makes this game a gem. For any enthusiast of indie games that prioritize story over spectacle, “Cats and The Other Lives” will prove a compelling playground.

The game might seem tailor-made for cat lovers, yet its appeal is far broader, touching on universal themes that resonate on a deeply human level. So if you’re willing to navigate minor bugs and a deceptively clichéd beginning, “Cats and The Other Lives” rewards you with an emotional depth rarely achieved in this medium. Cleverly capturing the essence of its genre with its innovative narrative devices, “Cats and The Other Lives” is not just a game to be played; it’s a story to be lived, felt, and remembered.

See also  Minecraft Legends Review: A Symphony of Strategy

RATING: 3.5 out of 5.

Cats and the Other Lives is now available on Steam, and Xbox Series S/X.

YouTube player

Disclosure: We received a free review copy of this product for Xbox Series S/X.


  • Luis

    Wish I could watch these movies everyone else gets to see but I'm too busy playing games 24/7. Thanks Dad for the trust fund!

    View all posts

You may also like...

2 Responses

  1. Feray says:

    cute game for cat lovers. going to check it out on my xbox

  2. Divina Murral says:

    I used to play all those old adventur games so looking forward to trying this. Thanks for the recommend!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *