It’s not often that a series has to wait for its platform of choice to upgrade their software before it can even drop. Battle Kitty – an animated series following Kitty and Orc as they fight their way through Battle Island – takes Netflix’s forays into ‘choose your own adventure’ programming and rams a supercharged electro-bow onto its head.
Whether you Bandersnatched your way around multiple endings, Epic Choice-O-Rama’d your way through Captain Underpants’ literal potty humour, or crafted your mines in Minecraft: Story Mode, Netflix has been quite dogged in pushing the adventure choosing format.
These vary in terms of how much influence you can have over the story or variety of endings, but the branching narrative approach is pretty consistent throughout.
Battle Kitty takes a different approach. You could, if you so chose, skip chunks of the content. Or you could be a 100% completist.
There are no ‘episodes’ per se. Instead an overworld game map greets you where you can choose different paths to explore.
Some choices cause extra paths to open up, whilst other ‘boss battle’ sections will get you keys. Unless you have enough keys, you can’t progress to the next section.
Ok ok so the allusion to gameplay is slight because once you’ve chosen a boss battle section the typically 12-minute section will just play; you don’t make choices ‘in episode’.
Instead, Battle Kitty presents a plethora of sections of varying length, gives you an interactive map, and says ‘well, just go nuts’.
Is Battle Kitty Worth Watching?
Presentation mechanics aside, Battle Kitty is a very enjoyable show that is clearly built towards being enjoyed in non-linear vignettes (‘progressing’ only as you go from each section of the island to the next).
Tiny, cute, and tough Kitty dreams of proving his mettle on Battle Island. He befriends an outcast Orc with a sensitive deposition and a penchant for technical know how, and their friendship holds strong as they work together to defeat a series of challenge monsters.
The show is based on Matt Layzell’s Instagram webcomic The Adventures of Kitty & Orc posts, which is a clear originator for the show’s quickfire stylised humour.
A plethora of dramatic camera angles and cutaway expressions punctuate the jokes with expert skill in a way that only animation really can. Layzell also voices Kitty, and his unusual nasal delivery is the perfect accompaniment to the gamified colourful visuals.
Battle Kitty is the sort of series that picks a very distinctive comedic tone, much like the modern wave of Cartoon Network shows that this generation of kids are being raised on (Apple & Onion springs to mind, for which Layzell was involved in the music department).
You’ll therefore know very quickly if the show isn’t for you. The gags are so thick and fast, be they visual, dialogue driven, or musical cues, that something in Orc’s bottomless backpack is almost guaranteed to make you chuckle.
Take your exploratory choices and place a little bow on it; Battle Kitty believes in you.
Words by Mike Record