Ok, right off the bat, if you are the type of person that attributes value with game length then Cat Girl Without Salad: Amuse-Bouche may rub you up the wrong way. There is no other way to say it, this is a very short game.

At a little over £6 for the couple of hours gameplay you get, it will strike you as being overpriced. But there is a charm about this game that meant I came out of it at the end having had a stonking good time.

Not every game you play needs to be an epic, and I have plenty of room in my life for something I can play in an afternoon and move on from. This is what Cat Girl Without Salad: Amuse-Bouche is. It is short, but it is a hell of a fun tine.

Cat Girl Without Salad is essentially a horizontal shmup set in space, where you play the titular Cat Girl and blast your way through each of the levels before taking on a boss at the end of each. It is a pretty standard setup in all fairness, but there are a few nice touches that make this a pleasure.

First up it looks like a Saturday Morning Cartoon, such are the bright colours, the quirky characters and enemies and the dialogue that ties it all together. Oh boy! The dialogue is constant in each level there is barely a moment to let yourself. It is non-stop yes, but at the same time it isn’t completely in your face and whilst I got the gist of what was being said, I didn’t get any details.

But, yeah, I wish more games took this approach. It could have been easy to create a bunch of cut-scenes to tie it altogether, but then you do just want to get into shooting. Cat Girl Without Salad knows this and lets you get on with it.

I have said in previous reviews that I am terrible at shmups, so this must be incredibly easy for veterans of the genre. I say that as I got through all the levels and only died a few times. I can imagine anyone with a bit of skill getting through completely unscathed. It makes me wonder who this is aimed at.

It is the weapons on offer that make this a joyful experience. There is an 80’s aesthetic to everything and the weapons are no exception. You start with a pea-shooter which has a high fire-rate, but does little damage. Then by collecting cartridges you get various upgraded weapons, inspired by classic games. There is a Pac-Man style attack, Golf Ball, A Mega-Man inspired weapon and more, including a turn-based RPG menu attack.

It is all suitably silly, but that is where the charm oozes from this game. It is hard not to play it with a smile on your face. I could objectively state that you may think it is too much to pay for such a short game, but when it is this fun. It doesn’t really matter.

Code provided by Wayforward for review purposes.

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