"Cat Quest II feels like the perfect game for a parent and child to play together."
I would never call Cat Quest II a "bad game" under any definition, but I wouldn't call it a "great game" in most respects, either. The publisher-written descriptions and screenshots of Cat Quest II are essentially what you get; no more, no less. That said, the degree of quality is another factor entirely. I had the good fortune of boppin' and slappin' around this cute world in local co-op, and what we found was an endearing, quick romp.
At the outset, the cat and dog protagonists are hoisted into the world of Felingard. There, they must reclaim shards in order to earn a weapon that will save the land from ne'er-do-wells. As expected, Cat Quest II isn't looking to revolutionize the gaming world with its unique narrative. Despite establishing a light-hearted world full of animal puns, I would argue the forced insertion of "paw" and "purr" into every location and string of text is extremely excessive. At times, their inclusion even makes the dialogue a little difficult to read.
Primarily, folks are likely to dive into Cat Quest II for its gameplay. As smooth and seamless as any action RPG, Cat Quest II doesn't tack on unnecessary bells and whistles. Simply put, anthropomorphic adventurers can look forward to slashing, casting spells, and dodge rolling. A hefty degree of customization is baked into these core mechanics. Several spells can be optionally discovered, and each character can equip four. Tons of equipment is available, each increasing one or two stats, while also granting a bonus ability not otherwise offered (e.g. 20% bonus experience). Everything controls well, with no odd hit boxes or strange instances of maneuvering.
For those looking to play with a friend, it will be easy to fall into the classes of melee tank and spell caster. Rest assured that in addition to offensive spells, there are plenty of supportive spells as well, including melee damage buffs, damage-mitigating shields, and spin-slashing attacks. If an ally falls, players need only stand near the corpse for a few seconds, while dodging enemy attacks. These were our most intense moments, greatly turning the tide of battle in favor of our enemies.
The enemy AI is fine, with foes typically chasing the nearest ally around, while getting torched by the spell caster. Each enemy feels distinct from all others. The most basic enemies slowly plod along and take a few seconds to cast a tame spell, while others will put up magic barriers and cast large area of effect spells. Of note, all attacks are forecasted on the terrain with growing circles or ornate spell glyphs. Although rarely too challenging, each battle requires some degree of focus and communication in order to thwart the foes. Most of the challenging moments occurred for us based on the environment, forcing us to navigate around barriers and traps.
One might expect the formula to grow stale, and perhaps it might in single player, but my brother and I experienced a phenomenon that I am now coining "addiction lite." At no point were we ever excited, but we also found the time had somehow slipped away from us, as we went from one dungeon and side quest to the next. I think the key factor here is that the world is so vast and each dungeon seems meticulously designed to feel distinct from one another, which is a feat most developers can learn from. The desire to explore and uncover the next secret — no matter how mundane — compelled us forward.
Speaking of secrets and side quests, the bulk of the game can likely be completed within a few hours, but secrets and side quests exist in greater sum than the core adventure. Most require a brief expedition into a dungeon, killing a few enemies, and unlocking a chest. The primary reward is equipment, and while the game throws a bunch of varied equipment at the player, finding a copy of a helmet or jerkin just levels up the previous one. I don't know how the system works exactly, but it appears that each piece of equipment has a degree of power associated with it based on the difficulty of the dungeon, which impacts how many levels the current equipment receives. For example, if a simple level 3 helmet hasn't been found anywhere else, and then you discover one later in the game, this could level up the helmet to 17 or 22. The core stat increases, but the bonus does not, so those hungry for a +1000% fire damage staff will come up short. That said, some unusually powerful goodies exist in later parts of the game, waiting for daring adventurers.
Cat Quest II's visuals feel a grade or two above the average mobile game. Tender love and care was clearly given to this world. The map design tastefully hides secrets without overly obscuring them, and the world feels like it could naturally exist, with few odd geographic anomalies. While initially jarring, the hyper-angled camera works well, adding a unique flair to the design. Aurally, Cat Quest II's soundtrack never jars, except in the rare moments where a track seems inappropriately placed (i.e. a jovial battle tune during a macabre scene). The sound effects are fine, and never disturb.
Cat Quest II feels like the perfect game for a parent and child to play together. This is likely a growing market, so I applaud the publisher for being on top of this. The game hides enough potentially mature jokes to keep adults chuckling along, while the kiddo may fall in love with the adorable atmosphere. Although never too difficult, Cat Quest II seems to hit the sweet spot of demanding one's attention while never being too frustrating. I think anyone could actually enjoy this game, if one doesn't mind a chill, cozy excursion into the land of meows and ruffs.
This review is based on a free review copy provided to RPGFan by the developer. This relationship in no way influenced the reviewer's opinion of the game or its final score.