“Purrgatory” is a captivating point-and-click visual novel, available for free on Steam. Step into an afterlife where time holds no significance and explore its enchanting world through whimsical gameplay. Gameplay offers 3-5 hours of delightful escapism.
With an LGBTQ+ cast, the game features 7 main characters to interact with. Uncover multiple endings and relish the abundance of cat puns that make the experience truly unique.
Developed and published by “Niv (Darvin Heo),” “Purrgatory” has earned recognition by winning the “I Can’t Draw” game jam and being featured in the Museum of Pop Culture in Seattle, Washington. The game was launched on Steam on August 23rd, 2023.
The gameplay is pretty straightforward. It’s a point-and-click game mixed with a visual novel, where you — a protagonist who names yourself — are now in purgatory. Why? You can’t remember. But after entering, you’re met with stark white walls, and the only color you encounter are NPCs that are each… interesting, sort of.
In terms of flow, the middle part gets pretty text-heavy and can be a bit difficult to pull through if you don’t know exactly where to go. The map size of purgatory is quite big.
For example, one of the NPCs, Sean, (we’ll do a breakdown of each in the “endings” section) has you look for two batteries. These batteries are so small and hard to find, leading me to be stuck for over an hour trying to find it. Plot twist: the one I was missing was in a storage closet among all of the other rubble in there.
It’s these small things, like not knowing how to continue, that are this game’s biggest downfall. I’m worried that too many people aren’t able to get through these sections, and thus miss out on a truly fantastic ending.
So, let’s talk about those endings. Once you finish the very basic linear “main storyline”, you can technically end the game whenever you want by calling Lucifer on the pay phone you see near the beginning of the game. But doing this prematurely is what causes the “bad endings”.
A bad ending is basically when you call Lucifer, but the rest of the souls of your fellow inhabitants haven’t been saved yet. Ultimately, some of them likely get to move on to heaven (assuming you’ve done their storylines), but you will remain stuck in Purrgatory.
To get the game’s true ending, you have to do each and every one of the game’s NPC storylines. By doing this, you help them understand the unresolved feelings they hold, and why they ultimately are stuck in purrgatory.
Hyena Kungsoo suffers from “Gamer syndrome”. She doesn’t ever want to get up and doesn’t care to. No aspirations and no motivation hit her, and nothing makes her want to move. To save her, you must set her up with Numa, the snail.
To set Kungsoo up with Numa, you have to help Numa overcome her fears of confessing to Kungsoo. To do this, you grab a screwdriver from her garden area and climb into a vent, finding and reading her diary. From there, it’s pretty straightforward.
Oliver’s plotline resonated with me a lot. To finish his plotline, you have to ask him how work is going a few times until he shows you a mistyping of “Meow” on one of the pages, sparking him to enthrall himself in his work. It’s this overworking and lack of enjoying life that’s made him end up in Purrgatory.
Elijah likes to write poetry. To finish his plotline, you have to have progressed in the main storyline at least until Sean breaks the porcelain cat in the museum and fights with Elijah. Return after progressing a bit more and Elijah will be on the floor, not wanting to do anything. Talk with him for awhile and eventually (going through enough dialogue options) will prompt you to recommend an “everything Slam”, where people each bring something they want to show off or talk about. Recruit each member to the “Everything Slam” and go through with it to finish Elijah’s questline.
Sean’s is quite annoying because you have to find those dreadful batteries. I recall the first isn’t too difficult to find, but the second is stored away in a closet (NOT the one attached to the museum).
Basically, after the fight with Elijah, you learn more about Dani, the lover that Sean regrets he didn’t treat right. He misses Dani immensely and after fiddling with the electric keyboard, you encourage him to write the “Purrgatory Blues”, a song about Dani, to present at the “Everything Slam”.
Tori is a businesswoman who, like Oliver, never cared about anything other than hustle culture. She never took time to just think and ponder, and she even wonders that perhaps her final words were work related. All she ever had were business relationships.
To finish Tori’s questline, you just have to find her at various spots in Purrgatory and help her with her shenanigans in trying to ‘escape.’
Natalie is arguably one of the least developed characters in the game. She’s an illustrator/author of a web comic with writer’s block who can’t decide to commit to one idea; instead, she’s constantly going from one to the next.
To complete her questline, you have to find her etch-a-sketch and give it back to her. Talk to her every time she scraps an idea.
You call lucifer and he shows up, telling you that at least one of you have to go to heaven because Purrgatory is too crowded. After interrogating each and every one of you, he decides that everybody except you is ready to go to heaven.
That causes a rebellion among the others, who each declare that they shouldn’t go if you aren’t allowed in. Just follow the dialogue options from there and you’ll reach heaven, along with the rest of them.
The end credits are voice-acted by somebody portraying Sean, who sings the Purrgatory Blues.
Opinions / Analysis
This game is absolutely adorable and I loved the ending. It legit almost made me cry. I hadn’t felt something like this for a game since early 2016 when I played Undertale for the first time.
The character who resonated with me the most were Kungsoo and Sean; they’re both just like me fr at different points in my life. I was definitely just like Kungsoo in my early-mid teenage years, not wanting to do anything but skip school and play Rust all day. Sean is something I’m deathly afraid of; not showing my loved ones how much they mean to me and just being too jokey all the time without and depth to my relationships.
Tori and Oliver both relate to me heavily as well. I actually pursued STEM in college (putting a halt on that right now to focus on other things) but I totally understand how easy (and difficult) it is to enthrall yourself in work until life just passes you by.
I highly recommend Purrgatory. It’s criminal that this game is free, not even a weird 49 cent game.
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