Strike Force Kitty 2 Game Review: Kitty Returns for More Fox Hunting

Catchup

In case you're not familiar with the Strike Force Kitty series, the idea is that you need to slay large numbers of despicable foxes, steal their pop-culture costumes and weapons for attribute bonuses and special abilities, and collect fish, which can also be used to improve attributes. Expect to spend a lot of time repeating the same level many times to unlock everything - these are games aimed at people who enjoy grinding. If you missed my review of Strike Force Kitty, you can find it here.

What's New?

Strike Force Kitty 2 is by no means a lazy effort on the part of Deqaf Studios. They've added and changed so much in the sequel. Let's get started, there's a lot of ground to cover.

Abilities have been reworked - there are now more meaningful and impactful ones - such as the ability to use teleporters that will give you access to sections of a level that you'd otherwise be unable to reach. Some costumes will allow you to break through fortified structures and walls.

Each time you begin a level you'll be presented with a functionally laid-out graphic showing you what costumes are available to unlock, what you've unlocked so far, which abilities are required to complete the level and which abilities you currently have equipped. You're also given a plan of the level, which allows you to think ahead and strategize. These are welcome additions, although it would be nice to disable them if you've repeated the level several times.

Battles have now been made into a kind of mini instance, slowing the action down slightly and introducing action bars that reduce the characters' rate of attack. Given the game's reliance on grind, it would have been a good idea to allow the player to speed up proceedings wherever possible, but these instances just slow things down even more. Now more than ever, Strike Force Kitty 2 needs a fast forward button.

Release Date: 02/01/2015

Portal Rating: 4.7/5

Strike Force Kitty 2 is developed by Deaf Studios.

A positive change is in the level design. In the first game, the early levels were drawn out and really quite mundane. With Strike Force Kitty 2, the developers have chosen to introduce mechanics at a fairly rapid pace - the first level already contains blocks and switches that change the direction of your party as well as teleporters and golden chests.

The levels are also now much smaller in comparison to the first game - this is likely to facilitate play on mobile platforms - but it's a change that does take away some of the frustration that came from grinding. You no longer have to slog through a lot of irrelevant content just to get to the one fox you need.

Deqaf have also introduced an element of Metroidvania into the game - some levels can't be completed fully until you have the correct ability equipped, which means you'll spend some time backtracking.

Another new mechanic that they've added is lotteries. In your run through a level, there's now a small chance that a lottery ticket will spawn. Collecting the ticket allows you to access a screen from the map menu where you can spend that ticket to unlock a chest. Depending on your luck, you'll receive several costume pieces, or nothing at all.

The purpose of fish has been tweaked, too. Rather than collected fish counting toward the level of all of your cats, they can now be spent directly in the new training room, and there's no requirement to distribute the points equally between all four members of your gang. You'll have to select an activity and then click and hold the relevant piece of equipment to improve an ability.

This new dressing room also provides some useful quality of life improvements, such as the ability to sort costumes.

What's the Same?

Thankfully, Deqaf haven't messed too much with the character of the game. It's still adorably cute and funny, it still features the same terrific costumes that accounted for so much of the novelty value of the original game.

The art style and animations haven't really been touched, either -and that's fine - there was nothing wrong with them in Strike Force Kitty and they still look perfectly serviceable in Strike Force Kitty 2 - especially on mobile devices.

An Improvement?

Sadly the answer here is yes and no. Some changes have worked, but some have exacerbated problems that the original game had.

The game is still based around grinding to unlock costumes - only they've now compounded this by placing ability requirements on the completion of levels. In the original, grinding was optional. Now, the player must unlock certain costumes fully in order to progress.

The separation of equipping and improving your characters is a mixed change, for me. It certainly adds a little more immersion, but the new system is much less streamlined than it was previously. The training mechanic is best described as ‘faffy.' I'm not sure why they spent time making the parts outside of the actual gameplay slower and more time consuming.

Thankfully what has greatly improved is the performance. Strike Force Kitty 2 does not become laggy the longer you play it, and the control responsiveness benefits greatly as a result.

Final Thoughts

It's hard to give Strike Force Kitty 2 a better summary than its predecessor. While some areas have certainly improved and a lot of effort has gone into adding new mechanics, there are some fundamental issues that haven't been addressed, most notably the several ways that the game hinders and slows down the player. For me, in a game based on grind and 100 percent completion, that's a no-no.

What's also frustrating is that the new mechanics aren't tremendously well explained. They are intuitive for the most part, but the developers are leaving this to chance - something that's intuitive for one person is often unclear to another.

They focused on adding more content in the right areas and working in even more pop culture references, which was the right decision. It was clearly the best aspect of the first game, and they've made it the best aspect of the second game, too.

Strike Force Kitty is also free and it promises over 10 hours of gameplay to unlock everything, so if it sounds like your kind of thing, check it out. It's far from a catastrophe.