To call this "a gem" would be an understatement. This is a fucking treasure chest. Technically, it belongs to a different era, but who cares? Artistically it's just fantastic. There aren't many games like this and there probably won't ever be. Granted, not everyone will like it given its peculiarities, but is there something that everyone likes?
You are Susan Ashworth, a woman that has killed herself. Your intro to the game is her suicide note. And suddenly her beautiful, narrating voice transports you into her nightmare and all that happened after she ingested the pills.
This is a very intense story about depression, sorrow, friendship and sisterhood. For once it's really not about men, and it doesn't sport sexy girls in any shape or form. It is a deeply introspective travel into the mind of a forty years old woman who has chosen to end her own life, but gets forced into a series of events which will make her fight her own struggle with newfound tools.
It's hard to say anything without spoilering something, but this really is a surprising game best enjoyed without too many forewords. Lynch inspired nightmares fade comfortably into mundane scenes, and spikes of pure horror and gore do not interfere with the emotionally charged exchanges between Susan and the people she meets. The bad interface is what you'd expect from a 90s game, including dialogues slowed down by the way the engine works, but as soon as you'll get over it you will be teleported in a eerie, oppressive, dark but fascinating dimension full of character, characters, and stories to tell. Sure, there are times where you feel things have been cut too abruptly, and it would be great if some characters and topics could be explored even further, but here's probably where concessions to the limited funds had to be made. The author is an actual nurse working in a hospital, and according to him he still makes games on his free time as a hobby.
It's not a long game (it can be finished in 6 - 8 hours) and the puzzles are super easy, which is good because they don't trip the narration. The artistic direction is just incredible for a game of this kind, and the music is very good and perfectly placed. Even in big AAA productions it's rare to find a game where the soundtrack and songs blend so well with everything else, so imagine my delight when I realized what a good job Mr. Mihalski has done here.
Rating: The Cat Lady is fantastic.