PAX Aus 2023 Highlight – Copycat

Posted on October 17, 2023

PAX Aus 2023 might be over for another year but the fun is far from over! With all the hustle and bustle of the expo floor, it’s pretty easy to be led astray but worry not – Copycat is the cat game you’ve been waiting for! It sure doesn’t take nine lives to see that this cat game has earned its spot in the indie showcase. Watch the teaser below!

With a strong focus on narrative, Copycat is a feisty romp that purs to the player. Becoming a cat allows you to explore the house from a cat’s eye level, and before long you’re jumping and even stealing food from around the house. The demo lets you land on your feet as you get a taste of the gameplay and narrative elements. It also features quite a fascinating blend of realism and dreamlike sequences, my favourite being the wildlife documentary-like commentary that follows the player. I was quite impressed by the voice acting in the game too. The immersive nature of the narrative makes the player feel safe with its honesty and vulnerability. Copycat is a feisty one, determined to land on its feet.

The demo lets the player experience the early stages of the game. You play as a recently adopted cat that’s getting used to its new home and owner as you feel out the game’s controls. It’s no Stray, and it doesn’t intend to be. Copycat is its own game that focuses on the narrative with clever gameplay accompanying it. It has no need for the flashy cyberpunk backdrop. Gradually the player learns about the cat’s new owner and it’s fascinating how this changes the player’s perception of the relationship.

When chatting to the co-developers from Spoonful Of Wonder, Sam Cable and Kostia Liakhov, the amount of care they’ve placed into the game becomes evident. Copycat is a labour of love for the microteam. With the help of game funding from Screen Australia, the pair were able to start working on the game full-time at the start of this year. Sam’s acute attention to Copycat’s narrative was spurred by a personal experience with her own beloved cat as a child. Through somewhat of a fateful encounter, her cat went missing and another one came back that wasn’t hers but she was determined to believe it was hers… till the original cat returned. 

The devs hope players will give their own pets a cuddle after playing and appreciate the animals that love them. The full game’s length will allow players to enjoy it comfortably in an afternoon. I can’t wait to jump on the couch with a blanket and my dog to fully experience this local narrative gem! I was also lucky enough to check out a demo running on a Steamdeck which instantly had me begging for a Nintendo Switch release.

For those eager to play the demo who didn’t make it to PAX Aus 2023, the devs do have plans to make a demo available on Steam Nextfest early next year.

You can wishlist Copycat on Steam here. The team plans to release the full game sometime in early 2024.