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There are many great simulation games available on the Nintendo eShop that offer players different experiences. With the likes of Stardew Valley, My Time at Portia and Animal Crossing: New Horizons sitting around, it can be tough for newer titles to break the mold. But I’m glad to say that Cat Cafe Manager does exactly that, with a few minor hiccups.
Let me explain why you should play this feline-crazy simulation game.
Cat Cafe Manager begins not too dissimilarly from others in its genre, except this time instead of a farm, you have been left your grandmother’s cat café… well, what’s left of it. In a small village appropriately named Caterwaul Way, is where your grandmothers café was, but sadly by the time you arrive there’s nothing left. See, this is where Cat Cafe Manager differs from other simulation games. Instead of being left with a derelict shed to build up and make your own, here you must build this once loved café from the ground up, with only blood, sweat, and tears… and a few materials.
Caterwaul Way is a beautiful village which seems to have a plethora of stray cats and kittens residing in it. Well, that explains the name. So, what better way to give these crazy kittens a home then to have them live (and work?) in your cat café. Your customers are happy that there are more cats, and the cats are happy that they are being giving food, love, and attention. It’s a win-win.
You’re not given a choice of where you would like to start building your cat café, though. Instead you have an open area in which you can freely build and expand upon your business. Obviously, you are going to have to start off small as you won’t have the building materials just yet, but as you expand your business ventures, you will be able to expand the building it resides in.
Cat Cafe Manager doesn’t require a lot of explanation in order to play. It’s pretty simple, and it all becomes clear as you begin playing. You will press to start your ’working day’ which will allow customers to enter your shop, take a seat and order. All you are required to do is to take that order, make what they want, and bring it back to them – all with a simple button press. Meanwhile, your cats will keep customers company.
This kind of repetitive serve gameplay can sometimes become hectic or rushed, but not in Cat Cafe Manager. Keeping the gameplay relaxed and stress-free is something that this game does purrty – sorry – pretty well. See, you can’t become overrun with customers, because it only allows for as many customers as you have chairs to seat them. There’s no rush to get customers in and out of the door, because there is no time limit to serving them, and even if you don’t have the item they are ordering, you will simply give them something else and they will still be happy. Just enjoy the cats.
At the end of your day, the café will close and this will allow you time to restock your ingredients, purchase any new items or recipes, and make any adjustments to the building itself. You can do these things at any point in the game, but it just makes more sense to do it when you have no customers to serve, unless you’re desperately needing something.
Adopting new cats is a simple process in Cat Cafe Manager, too. Outside of your café is a food bowl, simply fill this with a ’lure’, which is purchased from the store in town, to attract three neighbourhood strays. Choose your favourite one and pet it to build up its trust with you. The cats will come back three times, when you have pet your preferred one, you will then have the chance to adopt it, welcoming it into your café.
Each cat you encounter will possess different skills and traits, providing bonuses for various things such as needing less food or having a preference for different people i.e, my cat, Debrah, has a smug trait which allows her to have +1 with businessmen. As your cats level up, you will be able to unlock more traits for them.
As you go through day-to-day in your café, you will be able to level up not only your cats but also yourself as well as any staff you may have. This will allow you to not only unlock more traits but to also put points into the few stats you have, such as cooking or service.
There are six different types of people you can cater to in Cat Cafe Manager; Vagabonds, Businesspeople, Fisherfolk, Artists, Witches and Punks. All of them have one ’leader’ type which you can build a relationship with and earn things from. As well as providing different items to unlock, they also pay with a different form of item; Fabrics, Gold, Fish, Jewels, Nectar and Materials are all the forms of currency you will collect from them which will allow you to purchase a ton of different things such as new decorative items for you café, new items for your cats or even new recipes for you to cook up. It can get a little confusing having to pay for different things with different currency but they’re all displayed at the top of your screen for you to keep track of.
As well as levelling up your characters and cats, Cat Cafe Manager also has a skill tree system which you can use to unlock a bunch of things. A mysterious dark cat takes you to the outskirts of the village to visit a shrine, these shrine stones will allow you to unlock new skills or items for your café such as the ability to purchase a specific set of decorative items or the ability to adopt more cats.
These skills are easy to unlock too, requiring you to simply select what you want to unlock next and collecting the required number of hearts to accomplish it. Hearts are unlocked by happy customers visiting, the happier their experience in your café, the higher number of hearts you will gain. Oh, and if you decide you have changed your mind about what skill to unlock next, simply select the skill you prefer and all current progress will move along to that. Nothing lost.
Overall, Cat Cafe Manager is a game that I had a ton of fun playing through, and one you can easily spend hours upon hours of time on before you even realise. Its repetitive gameplay loop only becomes addictive, not boring, and I enjoyed constantly unlocking and finding new things to do.
Yes, I would have liked there to have been a little more interactivity with the cats you adopt, such as just being able to pet them whenever you want to, but that’s just me being a little picky.
If you are looking for a simulation game that offers something a little different to the standard farming story we so often get, Cat Cafe Manager is definitely for you, whether you’re a cat person or not.
A lot of different gameplay mechanics to dive into
Quick, simple gameplay
Pleasant art style
Would have liked more interactivity with the cats
Numerous currencies can get a little confusing
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A massive lover of all things nerdy, Chelly has been games writing for over 3 years now and hopes to gain more experience and knowledge doing so. Her favourite games are Monster Hunter, Borderlands and Pokemon.