Fans of bleak monochromatic 2D platformers can start lining up for their next fix. At the Cage from Mental Studio takes cues from the aesthetics of Playdead’s Limbo and Inside and adds a splash of animal activism.
Seeking $16,877 on Kickstarter, At the Cage is a story of survival. You play as a squirrel who has been captured and taken to a suburban slaughterhouse. Apparently squirrel fur is all the rage and you have until sunrise to literally save your skin from the humans. There’s just one problem, you’re locked inside a cage. In order to escape you must navigate to freedom by pushing your cage around.
The story feels like something dreamed up at a PETA PR meeting, but the graphics are lovely enough to overlook the weakness of the premise. As the squirrel you can push your cage in every direction, including hopping upwards to find a path out of the slaughterhouse. On your journey you will interact with various platforms, obstacles, and machinery.
Artsy Animal Activism
Much of the game plays out in the dark, with only faint lighting to guide the way. The campaign page explains that the dim and blurred visuals are meant to represent the gloom and hopelessness of the protagonist’s escape. Artsy interpretations aside, At the Cage has a great deal of potential, despite a few red flags (lack of information and vague details) on the Kickstarter.
Mental Studio is a small team and it seems like they are really hoping At the Cage will be their first major success. They say they have already completed 4 levels for the game and are planning around 35 total for the final release in Spring of next year. The game is intended for MAC and PC, but if the stretch goals are met the developers hope to release it on IOS, Android, and possibly PS4 in the future.