There’s something to be said for the beauty of simplicity. Modern games tend to be complex by default, and while intricate systems have the potential to be engaging, sometimes it’s nice to kick back with something a little more streamlined. Cat Quest aims to reduce the action RPG to its hack-and-slash roots, and while it’s undoubtedly cute, its entertainment value hinges solely upon your tolerance for repetitive, follow-the-marker gameplay.
In Cat Quest, you play a “Dragonblood,” an anthropomorphic feline with the power to vanquish dragons. When your sister is kidnapped by a second Dragonblood of a villainous persuasion, you embark on a quest to save her. That’s about as far as Cat Quest delves into melodrama, as the rest of the game is a series of simple fetch quests strung together with cat puns.
The entirety of Cat Quest takes place on an overworld that resembles a traditional ink-and-quill fantasy map, with a few caves and temples to break up the monotony. Every town looks more or less the same, and while there is a decent variety of monsters and NPCs (considering its brief, approximately six-hour runtime), the game’s visuals have a cheap quality that lay bare its iOS/Android roots. Animations feel flimsy, with characters that squish and stretch to simulate motion instead of moving organically. There’s not much in the way of memorable music, either; I can recall the game’s level-up fanfare, but that’s the only tune that stuck with me after I had turned the game off.
Combat in Cat Quest is extremely simple. The pawtagonist (heh) has a three-hit sword combo, a dodge roll, and a handful of magic spells to cast. Enemies utilize the same skillset, and only ever get “harder” by pumping out larger damage numbers or relentlessly healing themselves. There’s little in the way of character progression, either; aside from paying gold to level up spells, the player can…pay gold to roll for random armor pieces. I had zero interest in doing so, and made it through the game using only the equipment I got from doing quests.
As much as I appreciate Cat Quest‘s adorable art design, it’s permeated by an amateur sensibility that kept me from enjoying it any further. It’s full of awkward writing replete with comma splices, and its quest design is too repetitive. In a word, it feels juvenile. Kids will probably have a great time with Cat Quest due to its simplistic nature, but it never really grabbed me. Cat puns, however paw-erful, can only carry a game so far.