Let’s blame Rick for this one, since’ he’s the one who forwarded me the Kotaku review of Bake450′s Bread Kittens.
Despite the reviewer’s own admission that he was hopelessly addicted to the game, I really wasn’t expecting much. I really like playing games on my iPad mini, and I’ve been known to go on weekend long Robot Unicorn Attack binges. But, I already had a couple games I was playing regularly and let’s face it. Bread Kittens sounds really stupid. Really. Stupid.
Yes, there are baked goods. Yes, there are kittens. Yes, there is an obsessive collection component to it (my casual game kryptonite). And yet I too thought I would be immune from Bread Kittens’ life-sucking powers.
Oh how very wrong I was.
The game is deceptively simple, the art is average at best and the animations aren’t even on par with most flash games. But I cannot. Stop. Playing it. It’s basically an ultra simplified mash-up of Cooking Mama & Pokemon. As the player you find yourself in Catlandia, a sort of Disneyfied version of Europe broken into districts that are unlocked as you progress. You are a kitten trainer and you need to tame ferral cats using “capture bread” and then battle them against other cats to capture more cats, level them up and outfit them with armour. I mean bread. I mean… oh whatever.
So this is where the Cooking Mama stuff comes into play. In order to better prepare your kittens for combat you have an array of baked goods you can prepare using the flour you receive upon completing battles. Different types of baked goods confer different types of buffs. Wheat bread gives a boost to attacks, whereas custard buns increase the likelyhood of critical attacks. Pancakes enable HP steals, etc. New recipes are unlocked each time you finish an area, but you still need to purchase the recipe in order to actually use it. This can be done for a typically ludicrous amount of flour, or the paid currency, called “Meowbux,” which I guess is how they get you.
Battling is done by tapping on a moving meter, the precision with which you do so determining the strength of the attack and the number of stars you get for that battle. Levels can be replayed with any of your cats, which is good for grinding to level up your stable and to 100% the gold stars for each area. Each area also has different cats to be captured, 161 in total, with various breeds raging from common to ultra-rare, which also affects how easy they are to tame. Sure you can expedite the process by using paid currency, but there is a certain satisfaction to tossing 30 pieces of “capture bread” at a cartoon spinx before finally adding him to your collection.
There is a competitive multiplayer aspect to the game as well, where you can play against your friends over local wi-fi, or battle random strangers online. Not knowing anyone else sad enough to download the game I opted to try the online mode late one night and quickly regretted it. The matches are completely random, so my poor level 12 tabby with nothing but a slice of rye bread found himself against a level 20 Ultra-rare General Meow with pizza armour. Realizing my error after only one punishing blow from my foe’s gold-line supercat, I opted to forfeit and leave the online play to the big spenders.
I should be embarrassed about how much time I’ve sunk into such a deceptively simple game, but I’ve already named a couple of my in-game battle cats after Gatsby and Kala.
And Kala is wearing a bagel.
That in itself would justify the cost of the game to me. But it was free. So. Yeah.