The release of the Nintendo Switch earlier this year brought about tons of RPG titles from big publishers such as Nintendo’s massive hit: The Legend Of Zelda: Breath of The Wild, to small indie companies hoping to capture the growing community of the hybrid console.
Cat Quest by The Gentlebros, is one of the new releases to hit the EShop this week. The game was previously released on mobile devices and on Steam and was recently released for the Nintendo Switch and PS4.
Cat Quest’s story isn’t the most original out there but it has presented a staple RPG story in a unique perspective. Just as the title of the game suggests, you play as a silent cat whose adventure begins as he and his sister were enjoying a boat ride when suddenly, an evil white cat known as Drakoth abducts her.
The hero finds himself being attacked by Drakoth and is left for dead when a mysterious mark appeared behind his head. He is then washed up on the shores of Felingard and is awoken by a cat spirit known as Spirry who will serve as the hero’s companion throughout the game. As the game starts, Spirry informs the hero that the land is again ravaged by Dragons that only a true dragon blood, a nearly extinct race of superhero cats who once fought dragons off the land, can defeat. As you may have already guessed, the mark that appeared on our cat hero is the symbol of the dragon blood.
This is where Cat Quest’s inspiration from other RPG games comes to light as you play a hero who doesn’t speak and you are guided by a blue orb spirit, which is a very familiar concept that I’ll leave for you to figure out. One of the good things I discovered as I traversed the land of Felingard, is the game’s ability to be satirical and self-aware as they poke fun on how generic the villain of the game is. Cat lovers will also like the tons, and I say tons of cat puns all around the game. "Catpital Lake", "Mew Town", "Bermewda Triangle?" I mean personally I’m a dog person but I still found these hilarious that definitely adds to the game’s unique charm.
As a game that was originally released on smartphones, Cat Quest works really well with the Nintendo Switch. Probably the biggest factor to the seamless controls is the availability of physical buttons on the Switch as opposed to your standard buttonless mobile device.
Another thing I liked about the game is that it is non-linear. There is a leveling system that improves the player’s skills and abilities as they level up their character. There are tons of side quests in this game that helps the player level up and these quests are numbered according to what level the player must be in to complete the quest. Of course this is just a suggestion and the player has access to all side quests and dungeons no matter what level they are in. Different items such as weapons and armor can be found all over the map either by looting treasure chests in caves or as a reward from completing quests from NPCs.
The world you play in is presented on a zoomed out isometric view of the map that may not be everyone’s cup of tea but works well in this game. The combat system in Cat Quest is pure fun! The hero has a melee attack and can learn different spells that has various effects and ranges. The melee attack can be spammed and is the basic mode of attack, on the other hand, spells are limited and needs a certain amount of mana to cast. The fun thing about the mana system here is that it will regenerate once you land melee attacks on enemies, so using both combat options will definitely make battles easier and more engaging
The enemies in the game can also cast spells on the player. An area of effect is visible when an enemy is casting, which is represented by a circle or a line that the player can dodge to evade attacks. It took me a while to get used to the combat mechanics, but once I got the hang of it, battling multiple enemies is a fun combination of melee attacks, spell casting, and dodging.
One of the downsides I encountered while playing Cat Quest is how the game tends to have too much hand-hol, I mean "paw-holding." (I know, I know but in my defense, I can’t review a cat game without cat puns). As I was saying, the game would literally point you to your next objective. So there’s not much puzzles and clues to piece together here.
The visuals in the game is stunning in a simple yet colorful way. The cartoonish style of Cat Quest has vibrant colors that fully immersed me as I wander around the map. Small clumps of houses that represent towns and shops and the caves for dungeons are cute and charming that fits the game well. The music has the ability to stay with you even after you’ve stopped playing. I found myself constantly humming the soundtrack that fits the pace of the game. It's upbeat and heroic when you’re wandering around the bright and lush environment, but changes to a tenser sound as you encounter bosses or creepy dungeons.
There is little motivation from the game to encourage players for a second play through. There are no difficulty options, no choices that would alter the game’s story, and the ending will be the same no matter how you play it. Of course, the open-world setting can give players the ability to do the side quests in different order, and maybe challenge them to embark on quests and dungeons that are way above their current level, but in the end, it will all be the same.
What It Could Have Done Better
The game itself is fun and has entertained me for hours during commutes and quiet nights at home. However, my only complaint is that Spirry tends to become like an annoying GPS to the player. Whenever I try to complete a side quest, Spirry would literally tell me the steps I have to do to complete it. There are times when he turns psychopathic whenever I enter dungeons as he will constantly yell “Kill all bandits!” or “Destroy All Monsters", I mean I guess that’s okay for the first few times, but its annoying when the game has to pause so that he can tell me exactly what we have been doing the entire game.
Cat Quest would be better if they made Spirry a helpful companion by just giving the hero clues here and there on how to complete quests and let the player piece it together instead of barking obvious instructions like a tyrant. I mean, he’s already speaking for the hero when they talk to the “peasants” (the game’s NPCs), enough is enough!
All in all, Cat Quest may not have the most unique storyline, but its self-awareness and clever dialogue brings its own unique perspective on a classic RPG plot. The stunning visuals and catchy soundtrack complements the solid combat system and the huge content will take hours to complete, that it even becomes impossible to put the Switch down.
The Gentlebros made a wise decision to port their mobile game on the Switch. Personally, I’d say the Switch is the perfect platform for games similar to Cat Quest because it is not too simple that it should be played on a smartphone, but not too complicated that its better on a traditional home console or a PC. Although Cat Quest is available on all those platforms, the Switch version is seamless and is definitely worth the $12.99.
What are your thoughts on this? Are you ready to go on a cat-filled adventure?