My wife and I are currently under siege from our eight year old to get a cat. The two things my son loves in this world more than anything (apart from his amazing parents of course) are computer games and cats. Given we have just acquired a new (and very expensive) leather sofa unleashing a kitten would be like dropping a fireball into and ice cream factory, so for now it’s been a no. Late in 2017, I downloaded a demo of Cat Quest, knowing that my lad would adore it (and maybe hold him off for a few weeks). He absolutely devoured the demo and would play it over and over, something had to be done. One Friday after school I asked him if he wanted to play the Cat Quest demo, not telling him I’d actually bought and downloaded the full game as a reward for doing well at school. Once he reached the border where the demo stopped play I told him to carry on. He clicked what I’d done and (after a lot of excited jumping up and down) we spent the whole weekend playing. To date, he has aced the game three times. Yeah, my son loves cats.
A Map, a Pin and a Ball of String
The visuals in Cat Quest 2 are colourful, vibrant and packed with charm. At times it’s like gadding across a gigantic colouring book that has come to life. I’ll be honest, the first time I played Cat Quest it caught me off guard with its visual style. In the early days of gaming, many classic RPGs would have abstract map sections where your character would walk to the next level. In Cat Quest you essentially play on the map, with trees, buildings and geographical structures all appearing to scale. This immediately gives a jarring sense that you are a giant or maybe you have landed a job as a weather cat. In Cat Quest 2 the developers, The Gentlebros, have gone for the exact same visual style, so at a glance, the two games appear identical.
This time around, however, there is seems to be a good deal more detail on the maps in terms of towns, landmarks and variation in terrain. The dog kingdom of Lupin is also a fully playable area now and features in the main story quest.
Dogs and Cats living together...
When playing the original game we would sit and take turns exploring, I would jump in for the harder fights and Archer would do the majority of the questing. We often commented while playing that this game would be awesome as a two-player and it seems the developers had the same thoughts. We were thrilled to learn that Cat Quest 2 was indeed going to add co-op play. The story opens with two kings (a cat and dog shockingly enough) being reborn into the world to fulfil an ancient legacy. There really isn’t much preamble before the game launches you into the gameplay, wearing loincloths and a cheeky grin.
Both the main characters are essentially the same in terms of gameplay mechanics, which for me seemed like a missed opportunity. It would have been nice to see a few cat and dog-related abilities thrown into the mix. In games that do offer co-op experiences, I do like to see gameplay mechanics that take advantage of the fact you have two humans working together. The example I always come back to is are the fellowship moves in The Lord of the Rings online that gave groups special moves with colour coded inputs, certain patterns would trigger corresponding effects. Unfortunately, there is nothing here that lets me combine my moves with the other player, either with elemental attacks (electricity after water etc) or combination moves, so there’s our little request for Cat Quest 3 out of the way.
With that said playing with two players is a very fun experience, especially when you both take on different roles. I have been playing as an ice mage, slowing the enemies down so that Archer could send fur flying with his axe and fire spells. I do like how items and spells are shared in the inventory screen, so you must decide who gets what spell and item.
Like before you will spend a lot of time rolling in to attack enemies and then rolling out to avoid damage which is often telegraphed by red shapes on the ground. When playing solo your companion will follow you around, doing damage and firing off the spells you have assigned. Sadly the AI wasn't able to handle tougher fights and would spend most of them waiting to be revived on the floor, so I think this side of the game could do with some work.
Oh come on, I had to get one cat pun in somewhere. After playing a deep and demanding game like Red Dead Redemption 2 I needed something light and carefree. In this sense Cat Quest 2 was just the ticket because it doesn’t try to be anything it is not. As you make your way through the first few hours of the game you will likely get into a good rhythm of play. Maybe do a few side quests, visit the blacksmith and upgrade your best armour and then take on a main quest mission. The developers have added some new elements to consider, weapons types, for example, are a little more involving as are the passive abilities on offer.
I’d say the greatest strength of cat Quest 2 is how it is instantly accessible to gamers of all ages and abilities. On top of that is has the chops to keep people engaged with its frantic combat and good-humoured writing. As well as PC the game is also going to be launching on many other systems including Apple Arcade.
It is always nice to get to know developers a little before reviewing a game. The folks behind Knights and Bikes, for example, were always very friendly at game shows and you can see that genuine passion behind their work. Here I feel this is the same, with the small team at Gentlebros being so approachable and friendly. For this reason alone I was hoping Cat Quest 2 would continue the success of the first game and from what I have played it surely does. Whether you are looking for a good couch co-op game to play with your better half or you just like cats, I can highly recommend Cat Quest 2 as a solid sequel to an already popular game.
Thank you for reading my review of Cat Quest 2 on PC. I would also like to thanks the developers for providing a Steam key allowing me (and my son) to review the game in good time for launch. If you would like to keep upto date on my latest content please follow me on Twitter @riggedforepic and add this site to your favourites.