Look out for the inevitable sequel: Doughnut Dogs
Developing a game based on a meme is a pretty big gamble. You’re guaranteed at least a certain sum of users by tapping into the Internet zeitgeist, but that only goes so far. People eventually move on to other things, and you’re left wondering why no one wants to play your hilarious Gangnam Style sim anymore. By only loosely basing itself on a meme and focusing more on the gameplay, Bread Kittens tries its darndest to avoid that problem.
For those who, like me, weren’t aware that putting bread on your cat was a meme, it totally is. And if that comes at all as a surprise to you, clearly you haven’t been on the Internet long enough. Regardless, fans of the meme and noobs alike should take a moment to peruse this page full of cats donning bread—if only because it’s adorable.
With that addressed, let’s talk about the game. Bread Kittens borrows more than a few pages from the book of Pokemon, inviting players into a world where feral cats are everywhere, and desperately in need of capturing and rescuing. They’ve been brainwashed by the evil ChowCorp, you see, and they currently roam the land in search of other cats to do battle with.
You begin the game with one cat to your name, though you quickly have the chance to capture more. To do this, you must first weaken them in a battle. Once their HP is low enough, you throw a piece of bread their way in the hopes of “Breading” them. You can purchase a piece of bread with in-game currency that guarantees you a capture, but mostly you’ll be throwing bread with a percentage of a chance for capture—kind of like a regular Pokeball.
Bread Kittens is an RPG-sans-role-playing, replacing all would-be adventuring with an overworld map where all you do is tap the next location a battle is to be held. In fact, there are only two things you do in the game: bake bread (more on that shortly), and battle other kittens. This minimalistic play style can leave the game feeling repetitive at times, but the game takes certain steps to minimize that issue.
For starters, the turn-based combat is pretty involved. A small pointer moves up and down a bar during each attack, and tapping when the pointer is in the middle will result in a stronger—and sometimes critical—attack. You’ll also sometimes unlock more powerful attacks in the heat of battle, which can make all the difference in surviving an ambush from a feral Calico.
And then there’s the previously mentioned baking, which contributes an additional layer of strategy to the gameplay. You unlock various baked goods as you progress – such as rye bread and pancakes—each of which improves the attributes of whichever cat you place it upon. There are some battles in which baked goods aren’t a necessary requisite for victory, but they proved extremely useful in some of the boss battles and later fights.
That’s right: there are boss battles in this game.
As both a pro and con to the experience, you can play quite a bit in one sitting without being shooed away by timers or requests for money. The problem is that you probably won’t want to. Bread Kittens is best when played in small doses, and to approach it in any other way can cause its simple conceit to stretch a little too far.
Which isn’t to say the game won’t force you to wait on certain things or ask for your money. It will, but in ways that pertain more to external attributes than the core gameplay. Baking, for example, takes a healthy chunk of time—or you can streamline it with the use of in-game cash, which can be acquired either through Game Center achievements or purchasing with real cash.
Ultimately, Bread Kittens suffers from a lack of depth. What’s here is certainly enjoyable for a spell, and the presentation (both in terms of audio and visuals) is great, but there isn’t quite enough to help the game stand out from the current influx of Pokemon clones. With that said, if you’re A) cat crazy or B) enchanted by the bread cat meme, there’s a decent chance you’ll be more willing to forgive its repetitive gameplay.