When you think of the term “Cat Lady” you usually think of a crazy elderly woman with a bunch of cats everywhere who will soon be the subject of the television show Hoarders. However the title of this $20GOTW refers to Susan Ashworth, a 40-year old woman who lives alone in a flat in England. Her only friends are the cats who arrive when she plays her piano. Susan is depressed to the point where she decides to take her own life. However, it doesn’t exactly go as planned. Susan winds up in a strange place where she meets the Queen of Maggots. Susan is then tasked to find and kill 5 serial killers, known as ‘Parasites’, returned to the land of the living, and is made immortal. If Susan can do this, she is promised to be given something that will give her the will to keep living. Of course seeing as how she can’t die, she doesn’t have much of a choice.

The Cat Lady is a point and click adventure game created by Screen 7 using Adventure Game Studio. It’s a sequel of sorts to the studio’s earlier effort, Downfall. Like Downfall, the Cat Lady is a psychological horror that explores themes of mental illness, suicide, and murder. The gameplay is simplistic, making use of the arrow keys for movement, interaction, and inventory management. The game is not pleasant to look at, and there are plenty of scenes filled with gore and violence. To give you an idea of what to expect, the first ‘parasite’ is an ‘artist’ who murders women and poses their bodies in works of ‘art’. However, it’s not all doom and gloom. Overcoming depression is a central theme of the game and there area few bright spots. There are multiple endings depending on what choices you make at certain points. Since Susan is immortal, you won’t worry have to worry about ‘dying’ or seeing a game over screen. The story is a huge part of the game. Since this is an adventure game, that’s to be expected. Some of the story sequences will last several minutes at a time, and there is no way to skip them. The graphics are dark and eerie, from the muted black and white tones that are present throughout the game to the jerky movements of the characters. It all helps to establish the game’s mood and atmosphere, especially when you have some of the brighter colors (the bright blue nurses uniforms, the orange and yellow flowers, and of course the red blood and gore) clashing against the backdrops.

As good as it is a survival horror title, The Cat Lady is also a pretty good look at mental illness and living with depression. As disturbing as it may be, it can be uplifting at times. Like all good adventure titles, you’ll get caught up in the game’s story, long as you can stomach the gore.