Welcome to Susan Arendt's latest column on Pocket Gamer. In 2018 we've recruited the best writers and most experienced gamers in the industry and asked them to inspire us. Today Susan takes a look at Cat Quest, a game she was basically guaranteed to play...
I'm going to level with you: I will play just about anything that has a cat in it. Create a game where you stare at a spoon, and so long as there's a cat in the background, I'll give it a go.
I just have a thing for video game cats, which is why I grabbed Cat Quest as soon as I knew it existed. An entire RPG starring cats? Come on.
Looking for some mobile RPGs not filled with cats? Check out the top 25 of the genre available right now on iOS.
And while it is, indeed, awash in whiskered warriors and wizards, that's not why I want you to play it. It's genuinely one of the best action RPGs I've picked up since A Link Between Worlds.
The plot is pretty standard fare for an RPG: nefarious things are going on in the land, the king needs your help, as do plenty of ordinary folk, so you pick up a sword or staff and run around bashing baddies in the head. Except everyone is cats, so it's all about twenty times cuter than your normal adventure.
Beneath the adorable exterior is clever writing, great pacing, satisfying combat, and tantalizing secrets - as well as what may be the best introduction to RPG classes currently available.
To a greater or lesser extent, just about every RPG out there assumes you have a certain amount of familiarity with genre tropes, like hit points, armor class, or buffs.
There are many variations of those themes, and action RPGs often streamline it by just giving you a bigger sword or better shield, which gives you less to think about but also less to experiment with.
Cat Quest lets you try on different combat and play styles by mixing and matching your outfits. You'll find bits and pieces all over the countryside, locked away in chests. A wizard hat here, knight armor there, a big ol' hammer over yonder. There's even a complete set of cardboard boxes because, you know... cats.
You can don whatever you like, however mismatched it may be, just to see how it changes your stats. This robe increases your magic but lowers your defense, but pair it with a nice sharp sword and maybe you'll do enough damage that your enemies won’t have the chance to hit you.
The gear comes in sets, though you'll never find a complete set all together, which makes all those side quests extra fun to chase down. They're collectibles with purpose (or purrpose, I suppose), and the really, really special gear is worth the effort it takes to track it down.
There is no "best" build for your cat hero, so feel free to mix and match. Never played a paladin-style character? Now's your chance. If you don’t like it, you can always just swap out. It's exactly the kind of class fluidity that a lot of games promise but make too difficult to truly be practical.
Cat Quest is basically a perfect (or... no, I won't do it again, I'm sorry) RPG for everyone. If you're new to the genre, it's a super accessible, genuinely fun (and funny - the cat puns never stop) romp that teaches you RPG concepts without forcing you to obsess over stat details.
If you're a pro, it's still a great time, providing a surprisingly large adventure that’s challenging enough to keep you on your toes. Either way, it's just damn delightful. The sequel is on its way soon, so go grab Cat Quest right...meow.
(Oh, you'd have said it, too, don't pretend.)Read more of Susan Arendt's columns on Pocket Gamer, and find out more about Cat Quest at the game's official site. If you're looking for more columns, then check out Harry Slater and Jon Jordan, who are always on-hand with sharp, tasty opinions too.