Konrad the Kitten: Day 1
Konrad the Kitten is a different type of game. It is intended to only be played in small, daily increments. As such, I would be remiss in reviewing the game as I would other games. To that end, I will be reviewing this game in daily increments, in a journal style.
I am not a cat person. I have always been allergic to them, and my inability to breathe and see clearly around them has been a hurdle in my path towards accepting and loving cats like many people do. Luckily, “Konrad the Kitten” by FusionPlay Games has given me a chance to see what all the fuss is about.
Not unlike many PSVR games, Konrad the Kitten requires room to fully enjoy. However, Konrad the Kitten is an exception in that they recommend specific camera positions and a specifically sized area in order to enjoy the game fully. As a matter of fact, the game would not progress until I placed my camera in a position that aimed downward at about 25 degrees. This seems like overkill, but it’s a requirement. Konrad the Kitten needs you to be on the floor, and it needs you to have floorspace around you.
Once I properly calibrated and set up my play area (the game marks your expected position with a “pillow” which is probably a great thing to use in reality so that you can sit comfortably and have a tactile “home” position), I was greeted by my new partner, Konrad.
With my move controller being represented by an oddly ogre-ish hand, I reached out and automatically grabbed Konrad. Now, my move controller was Konrad, and Konrad was my move controller. I held him close, inspecting him visually. He looked healthy, cuddly, and happy. But most importantly he looked cute. His big eyes seem almost always on the verge of tears. This sympathetic touch drew a quick, light emotional response from me. I immediately wanted to make him happier.
The tutorial walked me through how to do that. When I held Konrad close to my face, a thought bubble appeared from him, showing me his immediate desires and/or needs. Fulfilling his desires will increase his “love,” indicated by hearts on his collar, while fulfilling his needs will increase is “health.” He wanted to play a game on my cell phone. So, on the floor of a kitchen, a cell phone was waiting for him. I positioned the Move controller by the phone, and he was automatically sat down on top of it, pawing at video mice on the touch screen. A meter counted down as I watched him play, and once it finished, I scooped him back up.
He was happy! Hearts flew about the room and I collected them by swatting at them with Konrad himself. He didn’t seem to mind.
The collection of hearts resulted in what appeared to be a “levelling up,” and I was presented with a spinning wheel, a la “Wheel of Fortune.” The arrow landed on a mouse, and a new minigame was triggered. There were three holes in a room and two mouse-traps on a floor, and I was supposed to hold Konrad above the mice so that he could swat them with his paw and squash them.
This was exhausting. I was lucky that my long arms allowed me to reach the entire play area without having to get up and compromise tracking. But the fast mice were hard to catch, and each time I inadvertently hit a mouse-trap, Konrad’s hand would turn red and momentarily unusable. Hopefully Konrad enjoyed it, but I didn’t feel a strong desire to do it again.
Having killed many mice, I swatted Konrad about the air again to collect the “coins” that we earned. We went to a store and bought him an accessory. I purchased a green vest for him, to shake things up.
I experimented with a few more passive activities as Konrad’s love and happiness increased. One activity had me holding Konrad on his back, I assume in an attempt to pet his furry belly. The Move controller vibrated violently during this activity, and Konrad’s similarly displayed the rapid tremor. I felt as though I were hurting the poor guy, but the meter was clearly indicating that he was loving it, so I persisted in the violent display of affection. I then had him eat some food, and play around in a box. It was nice to sit peacefully and watch Konrad do his kitty-cat thing.
After about 20 minutes, Konrad was stuck to my hand with a thought bubble telling me that he was out of his daily energy, and that it was time for me to go home. So I left the game and thought about my experience.
If I’m to make the most of this, I need to check in on Konrad every day to see how he’s doing and what new things he has to offer. But maybe more importantly, I can get something from Konrad while giving him some attention. The whole experience was one of low-pressure, which is a nice change of pace in the PSVR regime that is riddled with high-tension horror situations.
See you tomorrow, Konrad.