“I have lived with several Zen masters — all of them cats.” – Eckhart Tolle
Purrgatory was originally created as an entry to the ‘I can’t draw’ game jam, which it won, earning it a place in the museum of pop culture in Seattle, Washington! It is a ‘slice of death’ visual novel about passing time in a meaningless afterlife. Players can explore a variety of whimsical environments and get to know the world’s various downtrodden inhabitants along the way. There are also a lot of puns!
Developer: Niv (Darvin Heo)
Released: 23rd August 2021
Price: Free/Name your own price
Purrgatory utilises very casual point-and-click gameplay, with players clicking to explore environments and dialogue options in a non-linear fashion. There are over 80 hand-drawn locations to discover including a library, a bottomless pit and a catnip farm! Most objects can be interacted with to obtain a comment or small bit of information, a few items can be picked up and there is a simple and automatic inventory system in use. There are also seven very different characters to meet and talk to, each with distinct dialogue styles and fun conversation.
Dialogue choices and actions can determine exploration to some degree and the game boasts multiple endings. There is not much in the way of specific objectives and the exploration itself seems to be the main focus of the game along with the dialogue, both of which Purrgatory do well, though the puns get tiresome at times.
Narrative and Styling
The simple overarching narrative is the player’s arrival in Purrgatory, along with the exploration and the stories of the various characters that can be spoken to, each with clear individual personalities. There is no voice acting but minimal sound effects do help connect the player to the scenes. This was also helped by the relaxing but upbeat soundtrack that had a surprising amount of variety in terms of energy and instruments but with a consistent overall sound – a little Sims-esque.
The pixel art consists of uniquely simple black line art on a white background with the various characters appearing in block colours. Purrgatory’s art style is a highlight of the game, it really matches the casual feel of the game, as well as the theme of the game jam to which it was entered.
Purrgatory is cute and relaxing with an original art style and eclectic characters. There are fewer cats than I expected but there is a vast world to explore, easily providing a few hours of gameplay. It may be a bit too casual for some player’s tastes but it is easy to recommend to fans of more chilled out gaming experiences and has a lot to offer, especially for a free game!
Looking for more free games? Take a look at:
Three Free Games Short Enough to Play on a Lunch Break! – Free Indie Games to Play in 30 Minutes or Less – Five Free Short Games on itch.io for Busy Bees!