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Little Kitty, Big City Switch review - a playground of paw-sibilities

It's time to butter those toebeans, as we head out on a cozy adventure in our Little Kitty, Big City Switch review and explain why it's the cat's meow.

Little Kitty, Big City review - the kitty wearing a witch hat and standing in front of a pond with a father duck and four ducklings

Our Verdict

Little Kitty, Big City is a purr-fectly charming game with oodles of personality. Short but incredibly sweet, it invites you to explore a metropolitan playground through the eyes of a curious kitty in the most delightful way. A must for cat-lovers, and a meow-gical time for gamers of all ages.

I love cats. In fact, everyone who knows me is aware that my cat (otherwise known as my son, my precious baby boy, the light of my life, or by his government name, Mr. Xiao Meow Pretty Paws) is about as spoiled as a feline can be. So, naturally, when the trailer for Little Kitty, Big City popped up during the indie showcase last summer, featuring a slinky black cat that bears a striking resemblance to my Xiao, there was no question. I had to do a Little Kitty, Big City review.

Now, if you love kitties as much as I do (of course you do, why else are you here?) I can promise you that this game will charm you right out of the gate. It begins with the titular little kitty luxuriating in a prime snooze spot on a high-rise apartment’s window ledge. Then, suddenly, a series of startling noises send this kitty plummeting, and he finds himself in a trash can on the street below.

The issue is, this kitty is a house cat, so the big, busy world appears even bigger and busier, and he has no idea how he’s going to get back to his human all the way up there. Luckily, he meets a variety of helpful (and some not-so-helpful) new friends along the way, who all play a part in helping (or hindering) his journey home.

The main obstacle our kitty pal faces is that the climb up to his prime window ledge is very high, and he’s pretty hungry. So your main goal is to find and consume several fish around the town in order to build up the stamina you need to make the hike. However, there are plenty of little side stories and quests along the way, and lots of other fun adventures and activities for you to embark on – after all, it’s easy to get distracted when you’re a little kitty in a big city like this.

Little Kitty, Big City review - a screenshot of the kitty in a model city, knocking buildings over as ducklings follow behind him

The world of Little Kitty, Big City truly feels like a playground above anything else, with very few compulsory quests, no fail states, HP, or timers to worry about, and plenty of fun mechanics to engage with. It’s a relatively stress-free and relaxing game, but still maintains player attention through all the little discoveries you make along the way, which truly makes it stand out in a sea of wholesome and cozy games. In fact, I find it more reminiscent of a laid-back PS2-era platformer than anything I’ve played recently, with elements that make it appealing to all audiences, from youngsters and inexperienced gamers to veteran players looking for a chill time.

Kitty can perform a quick jump or precise jump, swipe with both paws to knock things (or people) over, pick up or drag certain objects with his mouth, go zoomies (sprint), meow, and emote. He can also crawl through small holes in hedges or fences, and, once you’ve snagged at least one fish, he can climb ivy. I love the later introduction of the climbing mechanic and how it’s relatively limited until you collect more fish, as it not only allows you to access new areas but also brings new depth to existing areas, making great use of the relatively small map that makes up the city. It also allows you to progress at your own pace, while still giving some gentle structure to the gameplay.

While the core mechanics are quite simple, you can use them in some pretty imaginative ways during your adventure. Accidentally zooming into a wall and bonking your noggin transforms into a way of pushing a button too big for your little paws. Nuzzling a human’s legs and tripping them over is still funny, but also allows you to steal whatever they’re holding – be it a bagel or a smartphone.

Little Kitty, Big City review - a screenshot of me getting the Axolotl hat

Naturally, this not only enriches your experience exploring the city but also helps you complete quests and earn achievements. After the initial shinies you give to the crow in exchange for a fish, you can then use them to purchase adorable, wearable cat hats from the same crow (via little gachapon machines around the city, which is categorically adorable). After learning that you can sneak, catch, and release birds to collect a feather (and use the bread or bagels you steal from humans to lure the birds), you find that you can give feathers to Tanuki in order to unlock magical, cosmic fast-travel manholes (you heard me).

These little quests are also absolutely adorable and fit perfectly with the themes of the game. Whether you’re hunting down ducklings to return them to their dad in time for show and tell at the pond, locating a Shiba Inu’s favorite tennis balls, or finding a chameleon who’s very good at hiding, every element oozes charm and adds a sense of life to the city, and the way kitty responds to the world with such curiosity and positivity is enough to melt your heart. Also, the dialog between kitty and the other animals in the game? Impeccable. Absolutely perfect. I love every second of it.

In addition to the quests, collectible hats, and shinies, there are also optional cat-chievements (yes, that’s what they’re called) for you to complete. These include ‘If I Fits, I Sits’, which requires you to ‘enjoy five cardboard boxes’, ‘Trip Hazard’, which tasks you with making 20 humans stumble, and ‘Back of The Net’, which you can achieve by hitting four soccer balls into their respective nets around the city. These neat little bonuses don’t really reward you with anything other than a sense of pride, but they do reward you for exploring the city and playing the game to its fullest, and I honestly love that. I spent far more time than I should have in my quest to complete them all.

Little Kitty, Big City review - a screenshot of a human carrying the kitty out of a construction zone

Visually, Little Kitty, Big City is equally as adorable. I love the juxtaposition of the simplistic humans with the more detailed, cartoonish animals, and the stylized environments perfectly capture bustling city vibes. Additionally, the choice to have the pipes in the city burst to prevent cars from driving through is very welcome, and doesn’t detract from the life of the environment due to all the humans and birds populating the streets (of course, the water also works as an obstacle for our hydrophobic kitty, pushing you to explore the map vertically rather than simply strolling along the roads).

The interactive nature of everything adds yet another layer to the playground feel of the environment, inviting you to climb, leap, slap, and investigate everything, from trash cans and vents to paint cans and plant pots – all of which are very in character for a kitty. And speaking of kitty-isms, Little Kitty, Big City absolutely nails it (or should I say ‘claws it’?) in this department.

Whether our kitty pal is having a stretch, taking a nap, making biscuits (otherwise known as ‘making muffins’ in-game or ‘padadoodoos’ in my house), leaping back and hissing after coming into contact with water, or preparing to pounce, Double Dagger has perfectly captured everything that makes a cat so cat-like. And this goes beyond the main kitty, too – the dogs, crow, Tanuki, and every other critter you become acquainted with are so beautifully animated, and it’s so clear that a lot of love and attention went into bringing them to life.

The menus and UI clearly have a high level of attention put into them, too, with clear, easy-to-read text, vibrant colors, and an overall playful, cartoonish vibe. The cursor is a little cat’s paw, the map appears to be roughly drawn by hand in pencil, and you get a lovely view of your kitty idling when you want to try on hats. There are multiple save slots, you can save any time you like, and there are some welcome options in the menu that allow you to change the size of the dialog, field of view, camera sensitivity, and more.

The sound design adds yet another layer of life to the game. Of course, Little Kitty, Big City doesn’t have traditional ‘voice acting’, but I’ve heard that the purrs and meows are actually real recordings of the dev team’s own kitties, and I suspect the other animal sounds have similar origins. The other sound effects are playful and unobtrusive, and, to top it off, the game features a lovely soundtrack of live music composed by Riley Koenig and recorded especially for the game, which gives off a wonderful smooth, jazzy vibe that perfectly compliments the gameplay.

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Now, let’s get into performance. I’ve been playing the game on my OLED Switch, and have spent a few hours in the game both in handheld and docked mode. The controls are intuitive and easy to grasp, and the game drip-feeds you the tutorial as you explore and interact with other critters. It could’ve benefited from a control layout page in the options menu to refresh your memory if you take a break from the game, especially for younger players, but it’s easy enough to slip back into the rhythm of things without it.

The game runs very smoothly on my Switch, and I experienced no stuttering or lag along the way. As the map is quite small, there’s no need for load screens, and teleporting between locations is snappy and quick, only pausing progress long enough to show you a cute animation.

I did, however, experience a few minor glitches and bugs in the pre-release build. I’ve gotten stuck behind boxes, clipped through walls, and momentarily levitated above ledges a few times, and at one point I found myself peeking under the map. Luckily, these glitches were relatively rare in my playthrough (they mostly popped up when I was scrambling around in places that I shouldn’t). The game also manages to fix itself very quickly in these situations, and I’ve never managed to softlock myself or crash the game. I also have hope that Double Dagger will work out these minor kinks in the full release build, so they may not be an issue that you experience.

Overall, Little Kitty, Big City is an absolutely adorable adventure, and achieves everything I hoped it would. It has an estimated runtime of two hours of gameplay or five for completionists, but I actually ended up spending longer in-game simply playing around, as it’s just such a charming experience that I wasn’t ready to put it down. It’s very clear a lot of love went into this project, and I’ve come to adore the titular kitty almost as much as my own. Almost.

Little Kitt, Big City review - a photo of my own little kitty, Xiao, hiding under a rug and peeking out

Little Kitty, Big City is pouncing onto Switch, Xbox, Game Pass, and PC via Steam (it’s also Steam Deck compatible!), and has certainly earned a spot on our list of the best cat games and cute games. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna go hang out with my own little kitty (pictured above because I can’t resist – just look at that face!).