Cat Quest II – Nintendo Switch
Developed By: The Gentlebros
Published By: PQube
Category: Open World Action RPG
Release Date: October 24, 2019
There is a close relationship between cats and the internet and a rabbit hole of theory out there as to why. It seems us humans can’t help but be entertained by cat memes and videos. The internet helped make a celebrity out of Grumpy Cat (who passed away earlier this year, RIP Grumpy Cat) and thanks to the internet the famous keyboard cat meme was born. There is something about cats that compels a lot of people to lap up cat content, and if that sounds like you then the developers of Cat Quest II have a treat for you.
When Cat Quest arrived on Nintendo Switch in 2017 it delivered an enjoyable open world action RPG experience filled with cats, and puns. Now in Cat Quest II, from Singaporean developer The Gentlebros and UK publisher PQube, we have more cats, more puns and now: dogs.
The sequel returns to Felingard, the land of cats. But now there is a new land to explore, the land of dogs: the Lupus Empire. You can choose to play as a cat or dog and switch between the two at any point, with the one you don’t choose tagging along with you as a non-playable character. What is also new to this sequel is the ability to play in co-op, with drop in/drop out at any point.
Throughout your quest navi-alike Kirry pops up every so often to provide guidance and point you in the right direction to move the story forward. The story is pretty lightweight but serves the game well, with some lessons taken from the Marvel school of storytelling. There is plenty of humour throughout and cat and dog puns at every opportunity, so if you like puns you’re in for a treat.
In true open world style, you can go just about anywhere when you begin with some areas off limits until later in the game. You travel across the over world map to reach towns as well as indoor locations such as dungeons and ruins. The over world is akin to something like some old school JRPGs like Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy where your characters are blown up to a larger size than objects on the over world map such as buildings. The over world looks like a map with each location name in large letters printed onto the map as you walk over it, and towns with houses and buildings look comparatively miniature next to all the characters. It’s an interesting visual style.
Enemies appear across the game map and in the game’s dungeons and ruins, with combat taking place in real-time. You can attack in close combat with swords and axes or from a distance using a choice of magical staffs. There are also spells at your disposal which can be mapped to buttons on the Switch controller, and you can assign spells how you want across both characters. Combat is in a similar vein to Diablo, with lots going on on screen but you won’t often lose track of your character in all the action. When playing in one player mode the computer controls the other character and you usually don’t have to worry about them taking care of themselves, although you aren’t able to customise their attacking or defensive behaviour.
Weapons and armour are mostly acquired from treasure chests you find throughout when on quests. The range of both isn’t vast but these can be upgraded in exchange for gold in various towns. But this can mean you could select your chosen weapons and armour early on and stick with the same throughout gear entirety of the experience.
Structurally the game is divided into short quests which show the series’ mobile roots. Main story quests are often go from point A to point B, watch cutscene then enter dungeon or ruin. Side quests are often fetch quests with a battle or dungeon exploration thrown in. On completion of each quest you get rewarded with experience and gold. They are a good way to level up quickly and are usually pretty short which are good for quick bursts of play. But the lack of quest variety can feel repetitive, and even more so on longer play sessions.
Kirry is your guide throughout Cat Quest II. She appears during cutscenes and then leaves to wait for you at your next required destination in the story. On the overworld map there’s always a waymarker at the top of the screen pointing you in the direction you should go. The game will sometimes literally paint a route for you to follow. Each dungeon or ruin has a level rating, indicating which level your character should be at before entering. It is very handholdy which is good for gamers looking for a more linear open world RPG, but less so for hardened RPG veterans. Some grinding is required to get through some of the later stages of Cat Quest II. But boss fights don’t require much more than patience, as often it can be a war of attrition.
This is an attractive game with a wonderful art style which looks great on a big TV or in handheld mode, and performs well on Switch with the occasional hiccup when things get busy on screen. The overworld map looks like something that’s been hand illustrated out of a story book and the cast of characters are cute. But there is a lack of variety in the visuals, with many of the dungeons and ruins looking the same. Music is suitably heroic and upbeat but also suffers from a lack of variety as the same themes are used and there could be a few more music themes to avoid repetition.
You can see the progression since Cat Quest I and it’s clear to see that the Cat Quest series is moving in the right direction. There’s fun to be had with Cat Quest II during its relatively short playtime. It’s a nicely formed, miniature open world RPG adventure that despite some shortcomings will disarm you with it’s charms.