Cat Colony Crisis is a short simulation game about managing a disease outbreak. You are on a spaceship with 15 cats, 1 of them is infected, and your goal is to end the outbreak, preferably with as few infections as possible.
The game is quite fun, but when I first started, I played 3 times on the default difficulty settings and each time I lost and all of the cats fell sick. However, after I learned some tricks and got better, I now tend to win easily, usually with 1-3 infections only.
You can download it at https://devils-cider-games.itch.io/cat-colony-crisis
What is the scoring?
You get the victory screen when there are no more infected cats, regardless of the number of cats who fell sick or who you isolated needlessly. So, if you just want to see the victory screen, isolate all the cats until you get the infected ones. Unless the infected one happens to be the last one you isolate, you win. Congratulations.
But, for the purposes of this guide, I assume you want the highest score which I define as the number of cats who didn’t fall sick when the outbreak ended. The game says that if you isolate a healthy cat, they’ll fall sick (presumably with some unrelated mental sickness), so I’d count them as sick as well.
Know the mechanics
You have 15 cats, 1 of which is infected.
Symptoms. Cats manifest symptoms randomly. It doesn’t matter where they are or what they are doing. Manifesting symptoms doesn’t transmit infection, not even coughing. A cat can manifest the symptom associated with its preexisting condition or a random symptom. If a cat manifests a symptom not associated with its condition, you can be 100% sure it’s infected. When you see this, proceed to “What to do with infected cats”.
The symptoms are:
- Gets Migraines: red sunburst/halo behind the head
- Fur Allergy: coughing
- Anxious: blue tears fall around the face
- Chilly: white lighning bolts around the face
- Light-Headed: black spirals from the neck rise above, and yellow stars also rise
- Weak Stomach: fart from butt
If a cat manifests a symptom of one of its preexisting conditions, it can either be because of that condition or because of the infection.
Interactions. Cats can only transmit infection by interactions. Merely walking past or manifesting a symptom can’t transmit infection. When two cats have an interaction, and exactly one of them is infected, there’s a chance it will transmit the infection.
The chance is: interaction base chance + transmission bonus – cat 1’s protection – cat 2’s protection, where:
- interaction base chance is:
- 10% for conversation (meow meow meow)
- 90% for fighting (white cloud dust)
- 40% for nuzzling (red hearts)
- transmission bonus is set from the main menu in difficulty settings
- Due to a bug, it’s shown as “0.25%” in the menu; this actually means “25%”
- cat protection depends on what it’s wearing on its face; both cats contribute equally to the protection – it doesn’t matter who is the transmitter and who is the cat being infected; the chance for infection is decreased by:
- 7,5% if it has a face shield;
- 10% if it has a fabric mask;
- 25% if it has an N95 mask.
- The N95 mask and the fabric mask look exactly the same, and a cat can have both a mask and a face shield.
For example, if an infected cat with a fabric mask nuzzles a healthy cat with an N95 mask at default difficulty, you get 40 + 25 – 10 – 25 = 30% transmission chance.
Testing. You have 2 testing sites. You can’t order cats to get tested if both testing sites are either occupied or at least have a cat on its way. If you order a cat to get tested, it will go to a free testing site and will be marked as healthy or infected. It won’t have any interactions on its way.
Tests are 100% accurate and there is no incubation period. As soon as a cat is infected, it can both transmit and it will test positive. When a test tells you a cat is infected, proceed to “What to do with infected cats”.
For your first game, I recommend turning the transmission chance to minimum (10%) and reducing the number of cats to 10.
Once you’re in game, zoom out to see all the cats and watch for symptoms. When a cat manifests a symptom, left-click it and compare the symptom to its conditions.
- If it matches, right-click to deselect it and ignore it.
- If it doesn’t match, the cat’s infected. Isolate it and proceed to “What to do with infected cats”.
What to do with infected cats? Act quickly before the cat gets in another transmission. Left-click and look at its latest interactions. Remember the names of all the cats, then isolate the infected cat, and then send the cats it interacted with for testing.
Additional testing. At the beginning of the game, you may want to send a random cat for testing in the hope that you’ll get lucky. Since you don’t need a lot of testing at the beginning of the game, this gives a free 7% to win right at the start. You may also want to send cats that fight for testing since at default difficulty, barring masks, always transmits the disease, but the cats fight very often so that may not be feasible.
The game was created at a game jam, “Jamming the curve”, meant to produce games to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic. This is a worthy goal and I applaud the participants.
Remember to wash your hands, wear your mask and keep your distance if you’re in an area with active transmission (i.e. all of western hemisphere).