The internet sure does love a cat, as illustrated by games like Stray, and Copycat eagerly jumps on that bandwagon in its demo debut. Thankfully, that never feels gimmicky, and the Steam Next Fest sampling is packed with enough emotion to make the grumpiest grouch’s heart melt.
Copycat illustrates a somber mix of both loss and belonging through Dawn, the cat, and Olive, an older lady who adopts her. Dawn isn’t receptive at all to her new home where even the ring of a telephone has the feline racing for cover. Before her adoption, somewhere along the line, the cat learned to be cautious around humans — honestly, not a bad stance to take.
The woman has experienced her fair share of loss as well, and you learn this as you take control of Dawn and do all the usual daily cat duties, like walking on counters, stealing food, and hissing when annoyed. It’s evident the two need each other, and even in the short space of a demo you can see their relationship slowly build.
Pay attention to the items all over the home, and you’ll understand what led to Dawn’s adoption. It’s a sad tale, but one that’s not uncommon. Perhaps most interestingly, messages hover all around the house that convey cat logic and why they do cat things like scratching up couches or ripping up toilet paper, and it’s as humorous as it is aesthetic.
As a fan of environmental storytelling, Copycat definitely presents itself as one I’ll like. There’s enough intricacies throughout the home to paint Olive as someone with real dimension. Done right, this game might be the first tear-jerker I’ve had in a while.
It’s not a triple-A style game, though it does have a piano soundtrack that’s hard to not fall in love with, as it carries with it a whimsical sense of curiosity. It’s ambitious with its offering, giving the curious cat plenty to sniff around in, and my biggest hope here is that this feline lands on all fours to really stick the landing, whenever that may be.
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