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Capsule Review: Cat Quest

A cute and simple action RPG set in a world populated by anthropomorphic cats. Wander around a 2D Zelda-like overworld getting into quick fights with randomly-spawning enemies, descending into mini-dungeons and clearing them of enemies, and doing quests for NPCs (that usually involve killing particular enemies). The story is light and serviceable if not particularly memorable, leaving the focus squarely on combat. While straightforward, the combat has surprising tactical and strategic depth. Timing and positioning absolutely matter and the gear-based stat boosts and variety of spells to choose from make for a number of viable build options.

The game has an open-world mission structure with a main quest line that gradually takes you across the entire map past towns where you can take on side quests (often in short quest chains) and past mini-dungeons and random enemy spawns providing additional opportunities for action. You’re expected to take breaks from the main quest line to do this side material - the stat-based difficulty of the main quest line ramps up too fast for you to keep up with otherwise. But if you do all the side material, you’ll quickly outlevel the main quests and there’s no good way to know how much to do to keep the main quests on a good difficulty curve. There are some optional handicaps (including a “crappy” armor set that reduces your stats instead of enhancing them) but it would have helped a lot if the main quests advertised their suggested level the way the side quests do.

Content is placed in a way that creates a great deal of backtracking. You might finish one quest in a chain to find that the next one is several levels higher, and about half the dungeons have “gold chests” that can’t be opened until you find a key late in the game. Uncleared dungeons and quest boards with available quests do display icons letting you know there’s things you haven’t done yet, but these are barely visible in the zoomed-out map view and there’s no central list to scroll through - you just have to walk back through the whole (small-ish) world to check for them. This becomes more tedious as the game goes on and more of the map opens up - especially once you’ve seen all the enemy types and and outleveled the main content, meaning that the random fights along the way become less interesting and useful.

As a result, I really enjoyed my first few hours with the game and took my time to indulge in all the side content I could find, but I reached a point where I was tired of walking back and forth across the map and ready for the game to be over. (It didn’t help that I stumbled onto the island that happened to have developer self-insert cats and they were kind of jerks, which made the world less pleasant to occupy.)

If you’re put off by backtracking, the second half of the game will drag for you. But overall, Cat Quest provides a lighthearted and gentle world with action that’s approachable but carries enough depth for experimentation and multiple play styles.

I Stopped Playing When: I finished a playthrough having done most or all of the side content in the first half of the game and very little of it in the second half. I did not return for the “Mew Game +” or “Meow-difiers” challenge mode.

Docprof's Rating:

Three Stars: Good. I liked the game enough to finish it (or just play it a bunch, for games that don't end). I recommend it to most genre fans.

You can get it or learn more here.