Feature Art

Preview – Stars in the Trash [Demo] PC

This 2D platformer with hand-drawn artwork in the style of some of my favourite Disney animations such as The Aristocats, Oliver & Company, and The Lady and the Tramp, tells the tale of a cat exploring the world outside of their comfortable family home. And experiencing all the dangers that come with living life as an alley cat, of course. Told within a much more familiar setting than something like Stray, the most recent cat-game phenomenon, probably means we’re in for a real down-to-earth piece with all the peaks, valleys, jokes, and scares one might expect from a Lassie-type affair. The development team based in Spain, Valhalla Cats, are all about changing the industry for the better with flexible schedules, goin all in on working from home (so they can spend more time with their furry families), and telling the stories they want to tell. Whilst hardly a booming studio, the team has already put out several cat-themed games over the past couple of years but Stars in the Trash is looking to be their magnum opus.

Though unfortunately the current demo is incredibly short (running only about ten minutes), it at least delivers a few nibbles of information about how the title will function. Being heavily narrative, the gameplay feels very linear – having the player directly interact with the story. There’s minor platforming and puzzle mechanics; shown via tasks throughout the house such as reaching treats and returning the friendly dog’s stuffed animal. On top of that were some perhaps a little too early-feeling action combat mechanics with an invincible dodge roll and scratch attack moves, used to defeat every animal’s nemesis – the vacuum cleaner. Sadly, however, that’s about all there was. This will act as a sort of tutorial, I guess. Showing the player everything they’re going to be doing, such as sneaking around by holding the classic hunting crouch before they’re let loose after where the demo ends, just as the protagonist furball goes out a little too far in search of adventure and loses themself in the big city. Hopefully they’ll discover the street savoir faire they need to survive the concrete jungle!