Cat Girl Without Salad
Switch version tested
Review code provided
The folks at WayForward are known for their two-dimensional Metroidvania Shantae series, but they tried their hand at a shmup this time. Cat Girl Without Salad: Amuse-Bouche looks like it took a feather from their hat in terms of look and style. Released on April 1st, this horizontal shmup costs $7.99/£6.24 on the eShop.
From afar it seems as though Cat Girl has a similar look to other WayForward games because of the bright pinks and colourful aesthetic but there is a reason the eShop doesn’t have a video to showcase it. Once the game starts, that familiar look shimmers away with how flat the characters look and feel. Small enemies and bosses also share the limited movement and appear to be paper cut-outs. Character movement is stiff, there are no upgrades, customisations, or other ship options. This could be a mobile game if auto-fire was added and maybe that’s what should have been done in the first place. To add insult to injury the play screen doesn’t fit the Switch screen entirely. I’m not sure why that was done.
Apart from looking like a game fit for kids, I would not recommend it for that purpose as the difficulty spikes feel unnatural and there are no different levels to choose from. The constant chatter from the protagonist and sidekick have a cartoon network vibe paired with the look and it becomes very annoying. The banter between them and the bosses is a silly, tongue in cheek humour that was a bit juvenile and har har. It was overbearing and took over the music so that couldn’t be enjoyed at all.
Aside from scrolling horizontally there is barely any ‘shmup’ feel to this game besides the stock weapon pea-shooter. As one would expect, pellets shoot from our character and along with the other weapons I’ll mention next, they are all unsatisfying. Destroy a particular enemy to receive a power-up that changes your weapon to Pac-Man, Mega Man, DDR, a golf club, bubble bobble shot, and an RPG shot. They each shoot off in their respective way but ultimately they are frustrating and I avoided them at all costs. Stick with the pea-shooter and trudge forward.
I don’t recall exactly why salad should be avoided but some silly jokes were likely made in the dialogue and just don’t run into them. Obtain tacos and ice cream to fill a hit point back. No visible unlockables but once you beat the game you get to cycle through any weapon at all times but I already said I avoided these weapons so that was pointless.
I’ve had an awful one session play-through of Cat Girl Without Salad and I did not enjoy it. Three stages and bosses with unsatisfying shots and stiff characters. It looks like a kids game but feels more like a mobile game. Look for this on the sale page on a deep dive sale if you ever choose to pick it up. I haven’t seen anyone else in the shmup community playing this.