Fort Meow | oprainfall
Title Fort Meow
Developer Upper Class Walrus
Publisher Surprise Attack Games
Release Date June 25, 2015
Genre Physics-based Puzzler
Platform PC, iPad
Age Rating N/A
Official Website

Don’t you just hate it when you sit down to accomplish something–be it read a book, play a game, or write a review–and your cat insists on interrupting you by jumping into your lap for some cuddles? Well, that’s pretty much the premise for Fort Meow. In order to keep the cats from getting to you, you have to surround yourself with furniture. It’s not as easy as it sounds, especially with these cats being so determined.

My immediate impression of Fort Meow is that it is a reverse Angry Birds, and that wasn’t far off. Instead of trying to knock down the structure, you have to build one that can’t be penetrated. Each round a series of cats will try to jump in your lap. As you progress, a variety of new types of cats will start appearing. They come at you from different angles, some do more damage that others, and some have different attack patterns. It’s best to strategize when building your fort, so you can protect the most vulnerable areas. You start off with a small selection of simple furniture: a couple pillows, armchairs, mattresses, and brooms, for example. Each of these items has a Hit Point value, which indicates how much damage it can take before it is utterly destroyed. However, the item’s destruction is not the only way for it to fail you. The game’s physics engine competently simulates Newton’s Laws of Motion, so that precariously placed objects can be knocked over when it is struck by a cat, essentially rendering them useless.

Fort Meow | Building your fort

Each of the objects you can use to build your fort also has a cost associated with it. This cost takes the form of the time it would take you to add the object to your fort. Smaller objects may take 5 minutes, larger objects upwards of 50 minutes. At the beginning, you only have a short amount of time before the cats begin to attack, however, this increases as the game progresses. It doesn’t make the game easier however, as you also get access to stronger furniture that is more time consuming to set up. Some of the new furniture launches projectiles, like balls of yarn, to slow down the cats’ attacks. A personal favorite of mine was the toaster, which–predictably–shoots toast in the air. By keeping in mind the cost and HP of the items in your fort and the types of cats coming at you during the next round, you should be able to effectively fend them off.

Fort Meow | The cats attack

So, what are you doing that’s so important and why are the cats interfering? The story explains that, sort of. It starts off being a rather somber tale, trying its best to evoke strong emotions. You are playing as a little girl named Nia, who goes to visit her grandmother, while her grandfather, who is seriously ill, is having a major operation. When Nia arrives at the house, she finds no one home, so she heads to the attic where she discovers her grandfather’s journal. She begins to read the journal, only to be thwarted by the cats. Each round you successfully fend off the cats, you get to read  a new page of the journal, explaining more of the story. It turns out, her grandfather has been preparing for the worst and has decided a cat to be the best companion for his wife after he’s gone. From here though, the story turns and heads for the absurd, making stops at ridiculous and downright silly along the way. It seemed to work, and I kind of enjoyed that it stayed away from being too depressing.

Fort Meow | Book

I really liked the game’s visual style. It’s cartoony, yet the illustrations are heavily detailed. You can see the buttons on the chairs, the seams on the mattresses, books on the shelves and so forth. It’s a testament to how much care was put into the design. The background music is equally impressive. While not being memorable on their own, the various melodies fit right in with whatever you’re doing at the time.

Fort Meow | The rest of the house

Fort Meow was a pretty short game. It took me around 6 hours to finish, and while there was a slight spike in difficulty when new cat types start being introduced, the new objects you can acquire will help you make stronger forts, so you can pretty much go right through the game without a problem. I explored a bit, so you can probably knock some time off of that, as well. I liked the realistic physics the game uses, even though it could frustrate me during the fort-building phase when an object is placed slightly off-balance, causing the entire fort to collapse. The game used mouse-only controls for the PC version, which were a little awkward at times. Judging by some of the controls–like the way you click and drag to scroll through the floors of the house–I’d say this was developed with mobile devices in mind first, and PC controls second. I don’t know who can resist petting a cat that jumps into their lap, but if you’ve got the urge to build a fort to keep them away, Fort Meow is $7.99 on Steam. Of course, you can just stand up to read, but then I suppose there’d be no game.

Review Score

Review Copy Provided by Publisher

Eric Chetkauskas
Eric has been playing video games for longer than he can remember. His interests skew toward retro games with an emphasis on Japanese RPGs like Chrono Trigger and the Dragon Quest series.