Little Kitty, Big City

Little Kitty, Big City review

Forget nine lives—cat exploration sim Little Kitty Big City gets it right the first time.

(Image: © Double Dagger Studio)

Our Verdict

Little Kitty Big City is an adorable, entertaining journey through a delightful world that’s just the right size.

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I'm not a cat person. Cats know this—they tend to watch me suspiciously from afar instead of being any sort of affectionate—but it took me mere seconds to decide that I would die for the titular kitty in Little Kitty, Big City. 

Need to know

What is it? Doing little cat things in a big old world
Expect to pay:
Developer: Double Dagger Studio
Publisher: Double Dagger Studio
Reviewed on: Windows 11, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060, AMD Ryzen 9 4900HS, 16GB RAM
Multiplayer? No
Steam Deck: Verified
Link: Official site

What was I supposed to do, honestly, after they tumbled innocently from their windowsill into the big bad world, buffeted along by mercantile crows and grouchy Shiba Inus, baffled and lost and trying to find their way back to their nap spot? It’s a cute premise made even more charming by Kitty, a clumsy, darling four-legged everyman. Everything Kitty does is adorable, from the way they squeeze under gaps in walls to their scrambles in local trash cans. Even if the rest of the game were an empty box I'd still get plenty of character from Kitty's big green eyes and the way they shake their head indignantly when they run too fast into something.

Luckily, though, they're not forced to be cute in a vacuum—their inadvertent adventure out of doors provides plenty of opportunity to dip their toe beans into the big wide world. 

Or… the big-ish wide world. The map of the game really works out to be about the footprint of a single city block and its surroundings. Normally I’d worry that it would feel confined, but considering the scale of a cat (little), it feels like plenty to explore. The levels are built strategically to complement Kitty’s increasing climbing abilities, so street level gives way slowly to walls and then the tops of cars, houses, and the lower floors of apartment buildings.

More than once as I balanced precariously on an air vent, guileless passersby walking right below me, I thought, wow…. just like Dishonored…

But perhaps not quite. Where Corvo Attano is a creature of the night, sleek and dangerous, I am more an inelegant terror of the midday, raising my chaos level by bumping into people's ankles. Being an inside cat, Kitty is not particularly agile. My jump height is pathetic, my footing less than precise, and I don't climb walls so much as desperately cling to them in a certain direction. This is charming in certain spaces of the game, where the platforming is forgiving and the objectives simple, but there are places where a single out-of-reach Shiny can become an absurd frustration, as the cat's jump radius refuses obstinately to land them on a box they are clearly supposed to use to reach a winking bottlecap or glinting key.

While a cat's disregard for the laws of human geometry is certainly in character, it doesn't make for the most satisfying platforming. It gets worse when challenges late in the game are increasingly vertical, where a jump you really should have landed sends you tumbling hundreds of feet to the street below, wincing as you wait to become a kitty-cake... and then, of course, pop right up onto your paws again, because just like in real life, cats don't take fall damage. But surviving doesn't make the trek back any less tiresome.

Though the platforming is occasionally frustrating, the other systems Kitty learns to use are simple and satisfying. Catching birds is one of the most fun activities in the game; a wise elder cat instructs you on obtaining bait (tripping a human carrying a sandwich), setting your trap (dropping a piece of bread in the middle of a parking lot), and finally catching your prey (pouncing from afar on the birds that come to peck at it, an incredibly fun slow-motion animation that I never got tired of watching). It's fairly foolproof but complicated enough that you really feel like you're doing something, so that when Tanuki sent me to gather three feathers for her fast travel system I cheerfully skittered off to do as she asked.

Tanuki, you say? Fast travel system, you say? Yeah, did I not mention there's a raccoon variant building a subspace highway in the sewers?

Tanuki's certainly one of the more memorable animals you'll meet throughout the game, as she warps you into trash cans and has one-sided conversations with statues of kaiju and pops her head out of manhole covers at the worst possible time. You'll also come across Beetle, the stressed-out sidekick to a popular but demanding social media influencer, and Chameleon, who's convinced your weird eyes can see past his incredible "camouflage" (he is fully visible all the time). One of the best sidequests involves collecting Papa Duck's lost ducklings, who trail you in a cheerful line until you collect them all—I spent a good hour of the game with at least one feathery companion, who will dutifully waddle through air vents and flutter their tiny wings up onto stacks of boxes in order to follow Kitty into whatever shenanigans they can find.

I was very sad to entrust my new little siblings back to the care of their dad, and delighted when they showed up later in the game for another cameo. The simple, funny writing lets the characters shine, giving them personality while letting their sprightly animations and sidequests do the brunt of the work. 

When I’d finally eaten enough fish to gain the outdoor cat skills needed to ascend my apartment tower and finish the game, I found myself feeling a bit rueful at the prospect of leaving all my new friends. What do you mean, I have to go back home? Sure, I miss my favorite nap spot… and my human's up there, waiting to pet me and play with me and give me treats... but what about Crow and all the Shinies I've collected for him? What about Tanuki's inventions? Will Chameleon be okay if I'm not there to spot him the next time he climbs up too high? What about my best friend Big Potato????

But luckily for Kitty, they've learned on the wild streets the skills they need to stay in touch, and the next time they venture down from their window they won't have any trouble finding their way back up. The city, it turns out, is not too big—it's just the right size for a curious cat.

Disclosure: Former PC Gamer editor Philippa Warr was involved in the development of Little Kitty, Big City. She had no personal relationship with the reviewer.

The Verdict
Little Kitty, Big City review

Little Kitty Big City is an adorable, entertaining journey through a delightful world that’s just the right size.

Maddi Chilton

Maddi Chilton is an internet footprint from the Midwestern US. Formerly a staff writer at Kill Screen, she now talks about video games for Unwinnable, Heterotopias, Bullet Points Monthly, and other places. The majority of her personality can be traced back to The Elder Scrolls 3: Morrowind.