My Kitty is a virtual pet game for cat lovers that’s soured by a poor localization

Flash back to about five years ago, and the then-new Nintendo DS’s Nintendogs game was burning up sales charts and making Nintendo money hand over fist. It inspired a wide array of mobile game clones, most inferior but all cheaper, and usually more conducive to quick play. One of the launch titles for Nintendo’s struggling 3DS portable system is a game called Nintendogs + Cats that hasn’t made quite the same splash as the original, but does introduce the long-requested feature of letting players raise a virtual kitten. Kemco’s My Kitty appears to be a pre-emptive clone of Nintendogs + Cats, in anticipation of a massive hit that never quite came together.

That said, My Kitty is a clone in only the loosest sense of the term, in that it’s a virtual pet game where you raise a kitten. The interface, graphics, and game system are all otherwise quite different and actually very suited to offering a simple quick-play distraction. The basic idea of My Kitty is that you’ve adopted a cat (or up to five cats) and are now playing mini-games until you have enough money to shower your cat with fancy grooming supplies, a vast array of toys, and luxurious food. You can also play mini-games with your cat, enter it in cat shows, and attempt to breed it with other players’ cats to produce more kittens.

My Kitty My Kitty

My Kitty doesn’t use anything like the sophisticated 3D graphics of a Nintendo portable, instead opting for simple 2D sprite-based graphics. The game still plays well enough and your cat still does plenty of observably cute things, with the bonus of the game being relatively light on the battery life of the HTC Incredible handset used for this review. For moving around the game’s world, you use a series of simple menus that are quick and easy to navigate. Wading through the menus does make for an unattractive experience when you’re shopping or interacting with the game’s three or so NPCs, but it’s not a deal-breaker.

What could be a deal-breaker is the game’s localization, which could charitably be called “sloppy.” The original game was clearly in Japanese, and the current English text is occasionally baffling and forces some trial and error to figure out the gameplay. For instance, you can buy medicines for your cat, but it’s not at all clear which conditions various medicines cure due to the way they’re localized. It ends up easier to go to the vet since he can cure everything, despite the high price. There are also some mini-games whose rules are difficult to figure out due to localization issues.

The rest of My Kitty is quite enjoyable, though a bit shallow. If not for the localization issues, it’d be well-suited as a game for kids who want to have a pet cat but probably aren’t ready to take care of the real thing yet. The game progresses on a month-by-month time scale, so you can watch your kitty grow into an adult rather rapidly. For whatever reason, the game only lets you interact with your cat three times before it decides to advance a month. Overall, if you want to play a cat-oriented virtual pet game, you could do a lot worse than My Kitty.