I’m busy. All the time, kids, work, life – busy. It means my gaming life has taken a bit of a back seat lately, and let me tell you, Cat Cafe Manager was exactly what I needed. It’s the perfect game for someone who loves to game, but also can’t commit to long play sessions the way they want to.
Cat Cafe Manager is legitimately one of my favourite games right now. It has everything popular mobile simulators do, except now I can play it on the Nintendo Switch OLED with a massive screen and a comfortable controller, or in handheld when it suits me. I realize comparing it to a mobile game may not appeal to some, but for it was just what I needed at a particularly chaotic time in my life.
What I like most about it, is that it doesn’t try to be anything more than it is. Cat Cafe Manager is an adorable cafe simulator where you tend to customers, manage staff, gain the trust of stray cats, build relationships with the regulars and use your resources to upgrade your shop-did I mention the cats? There is indeed a story that follows along with most other sim games, the original cafe belonged to your grandparents, and now it’s your turn to take over.
The game doesn’t deal in money, but instead each different type of customer, like witches, vagabonds and punks, leave you a different kind of currency, like fish or cloth, to spend on materials, ingredients and decor. There are all kinds of options to choose from, like diner furniture, and you can also customize your menu, going the route of charcuterie and lattes or milkshakes and root beer.
“This all sounds simple enough, but Cat Cafe Manager actually proves challenging when you realize you need a balance of everything to keep your customers happy. “
This all sounds simple enough, but Cat Cafe Manager actually proves challenging when you realize you need a balance of everything to keep your customers happy. Each cat you adopt pleases a different type of customer and as you level them up, you can spend more points. The same goes for the type of furniture or food you have. Everyone likes something different, so finding a happy medium among them is hard, short of shoving a crazy mismatched pile of stuff in the corner…which you can also do.
You meet a few strange characters, one for each type of customer, which you can call regularly and build relationships with. Each level rewards you with a gift that will suit that customer type as well. There is some weird stuff in my cafe, and I love it. A mysterious cat guides you on your journey to complete missions which unlock even more materials for the cafe, but be cautious, as you need to have the resources to take it all on.
There are a few small control issues with the game that became a bother, but were never a deal breaker. Occasionally interacting with an object would take a bit of wiggling around to get in just the right spot to bring up the prompts. Sometimes pressing the button to interact wouldn’t work and you’d have to play the same wiggle game and try again. Though it could get annoying at times, it didn’t deter me from playing.
What I thought was going to be a silly game that I played for a few hours and forgot about ended up being a game I came back to night after night. What’s more, is that it became the game I’d say “let me just run through one more day” to, keeping me up way later than I should. That is what tells me if I truly enjoy a game, if I’m hooked.
Yes, Cat Cafe Manager could be a simple mobile game, but it wouldn’t have that same controller satisfaction that I love. It does just enough to make it worth being a console release, and it is a game I will come back to long after this review. Cat Cafe Manager is the perfect sim to play after a long, stressful day, and brings enough to the table to keep things challenging, making it well worth its time.