Title: Cat Quest II
Publisher: PQube Limited
Genre: Action, RPG, Adventure
Audience: PEGI 3
Release Date: 24/09/19
Price: £12.99 – Rapid Reviews UK were very kindly provided with a review code for this title.
Cat Quest II… A sequel to a title that was released merely two years ago (September 2017). Since then, the Indie title from TheGentleBros has got as equally much praise than a cat owned by the typical cat loving person. I, for example, am such a person. I do love cats, I even own two, and while I write this review, one of them is probably by my side.
The question is, will this sequel be right up my alley? With a formula inspired by fan-favourite titles Final Fantasy, The Legend of Zelda and Skyrim, you probably cannot go wrong. I haven’t played the first title, so please enjoy my review and find out if I stumbled upon a purrfect sequel that wants me to get the first title as well!
The Tale of a Cat and… a Dog?!
The story of Cat Quest II starts with the two kings of Felingard and the Lupus Empire having to take back what is theirs. Some evil wannabe rulers stole Their heirloom and Kingdom, and it lies in the paws of our heroes to get it back.
If you’re familiar with Cat Quest, you might wonder about the two playable characters here: the familiar cat from the first game and a dog. TheGentleBros made it possible for somebody else to pick up a controller and play in coop mode with you. When you are going on the quest alone, you can switch between both of them.
But that is basically Cat Quest II’s story in a nutshell. You fight your way back to the throne and, on the way, can do side quests that give you new magic spells, items and many more. Even though the main story is rather simple, the Developer made sure for it to be filled with humour. Plus, you can get yourself easily lost in all those side quests.
With two huge maps packed with forests, caves and other things to discover, you’ll not run short on what to do next soon.
Cat Quest vs. Cat Quest II
What’s different now in the sequel? As I mentioned above, I haven’t played the original Cat Quest. Having decent knowledge about that title, further investigation was needed. So I went on a little research on behalf of what exactly got improved in Cat Quest II to the previous instalment.
The addition of weapons made sure that you can spice up the gameplay and fighting style. Not only can you switch between cat and dog any time you want (including battles, too), but two-handed weapon types bring up another way to change up your strategy. Long-distant attacks can help you win a battle as well, especially if you equip that on your AI pawtner (yeah, sorry about the pun, Cat Quest II infected me!).
That AI paw-… uh, partner is rather… dull, though. Unfortunately, his intelligence lacks more than I would like in a sidekick. Full of motivation and eager to attack, the dog (I often picked the cat to play with) ran into enemies and attacked more often than was good for the paw lad.
And here’s what it makes a good game, not a great one.
Intelligence level up required
The world of Cat Quest II is massive. Two big maps with a lot to discover. I told you before that you can fight your way through trap-spiked caverns or a forest full of enemies. Those are a few examples.
The overall environment has elements that suit the theme for cats and dogs. Although without a doubt, you could slap that map into every game if you’d adjust the few things here and there that might hint you on human’s most loved pets. The character design overall fits into Felingard and Lupus Empire and, to be fair, you’d be asking yourself why you do not see a majority of both dogs and cats in the game. Through my playthrough, it felt too generic, and I see the lost opportunity of its full potential when it comes to the level and character design.
Bright colours and adorable design, even though with a lack of variety, make it a game easy on the eyes nonetheless.
Honestly, it would make me feel more attached and interested in Cat Quest II if there were more unique characters. The game tries with the writing, but only a few stand out (like Hotto Doggo for example). Especially if there would be a possibility to write another kind of animal (like a bird or a rabbit) into the kingdom or in villages to create exciting story options. So, most towns and places to visit feel the same, if not sometimes empty thanks to the large map. You have to walk a long time to meet a single soul besides enemies.
Those were, in my opinion, very repetitive, too. Once you’ve learnt their weak points, you can breeze through. Other boss battles or encounters in side quests, on the other hand, could give me a hard time. More on that coming below.
Easy to battle, hard to master
Picking up the controls in battle and in general is easy and the strong suit of Cat Quest II. It is so accessible and made the game enjoyable besides those weak points. If you are having fun while playing, you can overlook those flaws.
Battling enemies is vibrant and fun, even though tough at some points. Be it me reviewing Cat Quest II on a Steam account rather than on my original playing field, the Nintendo Switch or other consoles, but I found the level recommendation quite off. I had just one level missing to the requirement, and I felt like trying again more often than I wished for (or at all). I mostly blame me here, but I keep it in mind for further hours I will spend in the game.
I think the lacking AI of the second party member was an issue playing into that as well. If you are not able to battle any further, the character gets knocked down on the floor, unable to move. You can revive the other hero by standing close to the cats’/dogs’ side. A health bar will fill up, and you’re able to battle enemies together again. If you get your lights kicked out, the character will switch to the other one, making you ready to take over.
The expression that you have to grind a lot at the start still lingers in my mind. Your mana runs out quickly, and after one use of your healing spell, it is done for. If your second character isn’t inside the radius of the spell, well… bad for you. The player has to regain mana again through hitting an enemy.
You have to plan more than you think, not only because of the stupid attempts of your AI friend but also based on the character class you use. Like any other RPG, in the title from TheGentleBros here, you have to make some sacrifices as well. It’s common sense to have a mage not blessed with powerful stats like a warrior, but paired with poor AI, and this can lead to unwanted difficulties. Quick. Very quick.
I’m all for the grinding and challenge in video games. Regrettably, the balance felt off sometimes in Cat Quest II, making me rather demotivated to continue rather than hyped up to explore more.
Purrfect pun intentions and trimmed music
A big story isn’t essential to Cat Quest II. Heck, to any action-RPG, if you ask me. It doesn’t have to. The puns in the game were rich as expected and, depending on your patience and fondness of this kind of humour, on point, too. Confession: I’m getting tired of the word “purrfection” or “purrfect” nowadays, but some jokes made me laugh, some less. It never bothered me, though. I’m relatively tolerable for this, that’s why I want to address that at least a bit for people not being so fond of it.
The old rivalry of cats vs dogs is often hinted at (sometimes more, sometimes less) and, in my personal opinion, as stupid as the AI of your partner and more worn-out as the old pair of boots your dog might have chewed on. A stubborn classic cliché, even though all pets are lovable.
Speaking of lovable, let’s listen a little more closely to the music. It is pleasant but not very exciting. I often forgot that music exists. It is never disruptive during playing but doesn’t stand out very much either. The sound effects are clear and nice, fitting right into the overall environment. The audio package overall is not too bad, but will certainly not make it into my top 10 of video game soundtracks.
Action-RPGs are a popular genre in the gaming community, and I am one fan of them as well. I have played a lot of them to find enough comparison to make to do a proper judgement on Cat Quest II. I found joy while being able to review this title, but it also has some little flaws that won’t make you want to bite your controller.
Which game is perfect? None. And so isn’t Cat Quest II.
It is not necessary to play the previous Cat Quest to understand this one. The little adjustments that were made are in the game’s favour. Seeing me playing this title again in the future, I can recommend it to others. There might be better ones out there, but also some that aren’t as high in standard as this one. A solid game that is easy to pick up and play, even suited well for playing with children thanks to the cute style and the possibility to help in co-op mode. Fun and enjoyable not only for a cat or a dog person!
Rapid Reviews Rating
You can purchase CAT QUEST II from Steam using the button below.