Title: Cat Quest II
Developer: The Gentlebros
Genre: Action, RPG, Adventure
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Age Rating: PEGI 3
Release Date: 24/10/19
Price: £12.99 – Rapid Reviews was very kindly provided with a review code for this title.
This isn’t the first review we’ve put out for Cat Quest II. Indeed, our own Jennifer gave the Steam version a fairly glowing review and a 4/5, no less, citing Cat Quest II as a ‘solid game that is easy to pick up and play’. This time, however, I’ve been playing through the Switch port and have some views of my own to add to mix.
What? That’s not enough you say? Alright then, today I’ll also gather the thoughts of my six-year-old daughter, Momo. Is that better? Well, I’m feline fine about it.
A door is what a dog is perpetually on the wrong side of
Mike: “So, Momo, now we’ve had a chance to play some Cat Quest II it’s time to answer some questions!”
Mike: “What’s been your favourite part of the game so far?”
Momo: “My favourite part is probably the catnaps because you know, like, I die lots of times? Well, you can get lots and lots of health back, so I love the cat naps. There’s loads of catnap spots everywhere”
That snappy save-and-rest mechanic she’s talking about comes with a quirky animation, something Cat Quest II, much like its predecessor, has in spades.
Mike: “It’s also a convenient way to save the game, right? Momo, get your hair out of my face.”
Momo: “Why did you write that down, Daddy? That’s weird. Are you writing everything we say?”
Mike: “Not quite, I’d never keep up. Do you think Cat Quest II is an improvement on the first game?”
Momo: “Yeah, because you have two players! And I honestly like that bit where all the cats go “argh, a dog!”
Well, this is Gnawkward
Having played the original Cat Quest with Momo, one of the biggest gains of Cat Quest II is undoubtedly the local multiplayer. As with many Switch titles, it’s another fun drop-in experience where you can snap a Joy-Con off and work from there. The diorama-like world map setting and wide viewpoint works the local co-op play in seamlessly.
Mike: “It’s much more fun to play together isn’t it?”
Momo: “Yeah, because then you get to play with your friends and family and not just yourself, sometimes you don’t want to keep taking turns and it’s a really… is that like a diary that you write things in?”
Mike: “It’s just an app for taking notes.”
Momo: “You’re so odd…”
Mike: “What do you think the rest of the adventure has in store for us?”
Momo: “I don’t know, that’s a very tricky question… maybe we have to do that level 7 cave again because we didn’t defeat the Lion King (Lioner) and now he might trap us in a high-level cave.”
Mike: “Just like he trapped us on that island.”
Momo: “Sometimes when I think about some kids being naughty or annoying, I just think in my head “you little sod”
Mike: “And is that how you think of Lioner, the Lion boss?”
Momo: “Yeah… when are we getting another cat?”
Mike: “We’re not.” [actually, we are but I’ve not told her yet, shhh]
It’s pleasing to report that the Switch version runs smoothly throughout and has the usual benefit of ‘popping’ on the smaller screen. Cat Quest II transitions well from big to small screen and works purrfectly as a quick-fix for a super short commute gaming session. I didn’t notice any obvious performance dips throughout, minimal loading times and only a slight lag on UI transitions. Using a single Joy-Con does limit your spell shortcuts (only by one), but offers a decent way to play in short bursts.
Fundamentally Cat Quest II is very much Cat Quest with a larger map, multiplayer, and… well, more dogs. If you’re familiar with original then you may find there’s little by way of new features, the same movement and battle mechanics, similar UI and a map that looks like a rearranged version of the old map with an added desert area filled with dogs. There are minor structure adjustments and a decent fast travel solution, new spells, more stat upgrades, a woefully stupid AI partner (for those lacking a player 2), and a number of minor graphical upgrades. However, arguably the biggest overhaul is in dungeon design. Gone are the straight-line snooze-fests of the original’s caves in favour of a more structured approach with enemy placement and hazards complementing mini-puzzles. Nothing here will tax nor vex, but that’s par for the course.
Mike: “What did you think of the caves?”
Momo: “Cat Quest 1’s were really easy but they made them harder. They put better stuff in the chests. I love the teleporters and the spike traps. I always die on the spikes.”
Mike: “Did you enjoy the trials?”
Momo: “I honestly think that it’s amazing that all the baddies surround you and attack and go “RAAWWRR”. I always die.”
Mike: “Yes, but I’m always there to revive you so it’s fine.”
Momo: “I take the risks and run in like a crazy person.”
Mike: “Well, one of us needs to, I guess!”
One of Cat Quest’s flaws was the necessity to grind because of frequent spikes in enemy strength. As a seasoned JRPG fanatic, I take this sort of thing in stride, but it’s not to everyone’s taste.
Momo: “You have to fight things that are low level all the time. I don’t know what the highest level is. Maybe 100 or something.”
There are some quirky personalities in Cat Quest II’s cast that you won’t quickly fur-get but it’s two of the antagonists that left a paw mark on Momo.
Mike: “Who’s scarier, Wolfen or Lioner?”
Momo: “Lioner is, like, really scary but Wolfen is scarier.”
Does it matter that Cat Quest’s update is only incremental? Well, that’s down to the individual. If you played Cat Quest and grew tired of the cat-alogue of purrdictable puns and the dodge roll-mashing single-button combo battles then, with Cat Quest II, you’re barking up the wrong tree. If you’re like me and enjoyed the leisurely pacing, the ease of mastery, the abundance of side quests and the downright adorable art style, Cat Quest II is best viewed as more of the same but with the very welcome addition of a competently implemented couch co-op mode.
This is family-friendly fun at its best and opens up the action-RPG genre to a younger audience while giving us old folk something simple and whimsical to ease through.
Mike: “You’ve got to score it out of 5, what are you going to give it?”
Momo: “5… no, actually 4.5.”
Mike: “How come you’re not giving it 5?”
Momo: “Because I don’t know. It is pretty weird that a dog is working with a cat. That is why. It doesn’t make sense.”
Well, I was going to give Cat Quest II a 4 but I can’t argue with that.