I've wondered what life is like for many people and animals in the past. Like, what does a regular bird see on a day to day basis from a hundred metres in the sky? What does a dog smell when sniffing bins and the butts of other dogs?
It's these questions that we can't ever really answer, unless we tape a GoPro to an eagle or something. Even then it's not really the same.
Through all of this curiosity though, I've never really wondered about cats. Like, I've owned a cat, I've seen what they do. Lick. Meow. Eat. Sleep. More sleep. I dunno, the most they do usually is patrol the neighbourhood.
Heck, even stray cats settle down and keep to a single location, they don't just travel from town to town like they're a white kid on a gap year in Africa.
Well, I might not have been curious, but someone was, because Cattails is here for you to live life as a cat.
First impressions start off strong. The game has a cute pixel art style and the cats look adorable. You're quickly met with a friendly cat and taught the basics to hunt mice/squirrels, sprint in short bursts and collect items. Hey, it's an RPG, you play as cat, not much to complain about here.
But this isn't like Cat Quest. This is a bit more like Lost in Blue, or basically any other survival game. Uh oh.
The friendly cat warps you back to your new den magically, and then leaves you to your own devices. These devices include, um, explore, eat, sleep… That's it I guess.
CatfailsSo Cattails' first issue is that it's directionless. Yeah, I get that that can be a plus for some people but here it really does not feel like it. The open world is wide and empty, filled with just more animals to hunt or other cats.
Oh, and for some reason, other cats are evil. Like yeah you meet your first friendly cat, and then you get a visitor or two to the den to say hello, but if you come across a cat outside? Oh my god, just run.
Cats don't have opposable thumbs, right, and this puts them at a disadvantage when it comes to fighting. They can't hold a knife, or a gun. As a result, you just kind of swipe at enemies and do a tiny amount of damage. It's bad.
The game informs you that you should attack, and then move out of range of enemy attacks. Yeah, it doesn't work. You don't have enough mobility, and enemy cat attacks are pretty damn wide.
Alright, so it could just be me. Personally I don't much like "stay alive" as a goal in a game. I'm still not quite over my Tamagotchi dying, so I'd like something else to do to keep my mind off it.
But Cattails just feels a bit frustrating. Aimless. I wander the open world, get lost, hunt a bit, lose most of my health either trying to swim or getting into a fight, and then wonder why I bothered. It's like real life except I don't have to do it.
But Cattails is cute. The art style is nice. The music is nice. I just don't want to play it ever again. My initial excitement about playing after simple RPGs like Cat Quest and pixel art games like Stardew Valley was basically crushed by a mediocre game. In fact, instead of this, just play one of the other games I just mentioned.