It's been a while since I have been this excited about a new game on the App Store, and it's been a while since I have been able to write a review for a game. Lucky for me, Cat Quest not only exceeded my expectations, but it was also nearly purr-fect, giving me plenty of reasons to share my thoughts with you.
I was drawn to the game by the colorful and cartoonish art style, the cat-tastic puns, and the fact that I love action adventure RPGs probably more than any other genre. Needless to say, I went into Cat Quest with some pretty high expectations, and I came out the other side ready for more cat-ventures!
Story & Setting
Let's talk about the big fat elephant in the room — or cat in this case — Cat Quest doesn't have the most original story. In fact, take a look at the screenshots below and let me know if they seem familiar.
Yes, it's pretty obvious that Cat Quest is paying a little too much homage to Skyrim in the opening credits of the game; however, it was pretty easy to overlook this flaw once you carry on and discover there's a method to the madness.
You play as an unnamed cat, who is by all accounts minding his own business when an evil white-furred cat comes along, steals his sister, destroys his boat, and leaves the nameless cat for dead. You're awoken on the shore by a cat spirit, aptly named Spirry, who decides to help you out.
This tiny blue cat spirit may also look familiar to gamers out there as Spirry is eerily similar to Navi from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. It was right about here in the story where I realized a pattern was emerging; Cat Quest has plenty of other references, callbacks, homages, or whatever you feel like calling them to many popularly adventure and RPG games in video game history. Now you understand when the Skyrim-like plotline is not only forgivable but rather charming in retrospect.
In case this still isn't enough to satisfy you, the game itself points out just how generic the villain of Cat Quest seems to be written. The developers have clearly gone out of their way to produce not only a ton of cat puns but a healthy dose of satire into their game. I would be lying if I said the punchline lands every time; however, I found myself chuckling a fair amount at the absurdity of it all.
While the main story may not be the most original thing since sliced bread, the sheer number of unique side quests available in Cat Quest had me excited. Lots of interesting NPCs with mysterious motives always seem to be sending you on wacky quests, so much so that after about four or five hours of playing Cat Quest, I realized I had only completed about two main story quests. Just like a true RPG, Cat Quest lets you blaze your own trail and will reward you with loot, gold, and extra experience for exploring.
On the surface, Cat Quest doesn't offer anything groundbreaking to the RPG genre, but it provides an incredibly entertaining and smooth experience throughout the game, much of which the game owes to its simple, yet clever use of controls.
Usually, the use of on-screen controls (especially in the RPG genre) frustrates the living daylights out of me. The controls are often unresponsive or require too much precision for me to fully feel comfortable or immersed in the experience. I'm happy to say that Cat Quest never made me yearn for a MFi controller, and since using a MFi controller is my favorite way to game on mobile, that's saying something!
If you read various forums or other reviews of Cat Quest, you'll notice some people complain that the combat is a little dry. What others call dry, I call simple and effective. Yes, the game will auto-attack for you as you come across the various enemies in the world, and you are limited to four activated spells and three pieces of equipment at all times; however, I think the limited scope of the combat system increases the overall challenge level of the game. When you have a limited amount of equipable spells and other abilities, it forces you to focus on how you approach each battle, rather than just having the perfect skills for every enemy.
Like any good RPG, Cat Quest is nonlinear, meaning you will run into enemies that are much higher level than you at multiple points in the game. As if that wasn't difficult enough, even when the enemies are the same level as you, typically you come across multiple different enemies with different attacks and abilities at the same time. You can't expect to run into combat without a care in the world and hope to survive, in fact, you should probably expect a game over (or a few dozen) during your adventure.
That being said, the gameplay is smooth overall, and other than the occasional two- or three-second loading screen for new areas, you can play Cat Quest at a blistering high-speed pace, making the entire game feel much more energetic than other RPGs on the market.
Design & Sound
The cartoonish world of Cat Quest is quite beautiful as you wander around the extremely colorful world. Everything is vibrant, and the super-saturated colors of the world around you help stay immersed in the world the game creates. Even the many small towns, towers, shops, caves, and other places of interest you find along the way have a way of popping out from the background while remaining true to the art style of the world.
What really stood out was the design of all the special abilities and spells you collect throughout the game. Each spell has a different animation and attack pattern, and each weapon or piece of armor looks different from all the others. In a game as fast-paced as Cat Quest, it would be easy for all the magic, weapons, and other equipment to look bland and to fade into the background; however, each one stands out every time. Not only does give Cat Quest some of the more beautiful and smooth animations I have seen in a mobile game, but it also makes this particular adventure a blast to play.
The soundtrack in Cat Quest is very catchy. I would often find myself whistling or humming along to the tune when exploring the world map. The soundtrack adapts throughout your journey to fit the pace of what is going on in the game. Some of the more spooky-looking areas have more tense music, while the lush and beautiful environments have more upbeat music, allowing the soundtrack to pull you along for the ride and help you feel more immersed in the game. The game also has some pretty stellar sound effects, including several different growls, meows, and other cat-related noises.
- Smooth and fast gameplay
- Full of great humor
- Fantastic visual and sound design
- Not the most original story
Cat Quest is full of cat-related puns, bright and colorful surroundings, and really solid gameplay that makes it an adventure worth owning.
Although the story likes to poke fun at the RPG genre isn't the most original at times, overall, I can't say I didn't enjoy the heck out of Cat Quest. The game is incredibly fun and so easy to lose yourself in that it's impossible not to play for hours at a time. The stunning visuals and fantastic gameplay make the game stand out as one of my favorites this year.
The game costs $4.99, and with the sheer amount of side quests, main story quests, and hidden loot available to find throughout the game, Cat Quest is definitely worth the money.
What's your opinion?
Have you played Cat Quest already? Will you play it in the future? I want to know! Leave a comment below or hit me up on Twitter and tell me what you think!
Luke Filipowicz has been a writer at iMore, covering Apple for nearly a decade now. He writes a lot about Apple Watch and iPad but covers the iPhone and Mac as well. He often describes himself as an "Apple user on a budget" and firmly believes that great technology can be affordable if you know where to look. Luke also heads up the iMore Show — a weekly podcast focusing on Apple news, rumors, and products but likes to have some fun along the way.
Luke knows he spends more time on Twitter than he probably should, so feel free to follow him or give him a shout on social media @LukeFilipowicz.
By Tammy Rogers