Everybody wants to be a cat, and the one in Familiar wants to be just that to Lisa, his owner. A familiar, that is. He’s already a cat. Anyway, accomplishing his goal involves turning her into a magical girl… and you better believe that’s going to take some effort.
As for exactly why Marcus, the cat, can talk – yeah, let’s just ignore that and move right along. It’s a story about a cat wanting to turn his owner into a magical girl, after all. I wouldn’t expect a whole lot of it to make sense, which is precisely how I went into this game, and chances are it was the right approach as I enjoyed Familiar quite a bit – after suspending absolutely every ounce of disbelief, that is.
I guess one might even say that the fact that there really aren’t a whole lot of details on the game’s page actually proved beneficial, as nothing would have been spoiled prior to experiencing this slightly nonsensical adventure. Well, beyond the basic premise, anyway, and that is kind of the bare minimum as you do need something to make people interested in even giving it a go in the first place. But to get back on track: while the screenshot atop might give off the impression that this is yet another fantasy visual novel, there’s actually more to it than might initially appear.
For starters, a certain points, you’re able to move about with relative freedom, transitioning between different locations should you so desire. Sure, its inclusion is somewhat basic, but it gets the job done, and it does add something to the experience. Just like a certain puzzle and… well… something else. Should I tell you what that something is? Too bad, because I’m not going to. Like so many other titles that came to be during a game jam, this too isn’t overly lengthy, and as such, there’s only so much one can really detail in a review without simply spoiling the entire thing. I will say this, however: I really like the art style. A lot. It absolutely screams “hand-drawn look”, and I’m all for it. Especially the characters, where tiny details – like the ‘M’ in Marcus’ collar – can be seen without the need for a keen eye.
All in all, Familiar provided a joyful, brief experience, one that made me wonder just what Lisa and Marcus get up to next. Maybe someday we’ll actually find out? For now, though, I’d recommend taking it for a spin yourself, finding out just what happens when magic is on the menu and a feline creature wants to be more than just your average talking housecat.
Familiar is available on itch.io.