Free play of the week: The Cat and the Coup

By Thorin Klosowski in Indie Games
Monday, July 18, 2011 at 2:00 pm
Peter Brinson and Kurosh ValaNejad's The Cat and the Coup is not your normal type of game, but that's exactly what makes it so damn appealing. It's a documentary game in which you play the cat of Mohammed Mossadegh, the first democratically elected Prime Minister of Iran who was overthrown by a coup d'état by the CIA. As far as the game is concerned, its your run of the mill physical puzzler, but there is so much more layered inside of it that it's one of those rare games you have to play to truly understand.

The Cat and the Coup is billed as a documentary game for a reason -- starting near the end of Mossadegh's life, you play as his cat as you coax him through a series of rooms by swiping and manipulating various rooms and objects. That's all well and good in a puzzling sense, but each individual section is also a metaphor for the events surrounding Mossadegh's life, from the nationalization of the nations oil to the fallout afterward. It starts near the end of his life and works backward through it.

The catch of The Cat and the Coup comes in the form of your own takeaway. Want a beautiful, simple art puzzle? Great, here it is. Want to learn a little about history along the way? Sure, it's all yours. It accomplishes all of its goals in good order and it only takes about fifteen or twenty minutes to play through the whole thing.

All of those things are accented by a clear visual style that doesn't hold back. The collage artwork works well in the context of the game, pulling it away from the gloating visuals of modern blockbusters or the retro-aesthetics of the indie world. It's an aural montage of Mossadegh's life as much as it a gamey one and uses the constraints of gaming to enhance its story and convey its message on several different levels.

Plus, it stars a cat. You can snag the game from Peter Brinson's website (on Mac or PC) or on Steam (for PC) for free.

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