What do you need to know about Gentlebros newest release Cat Quest II? Not much, just that it’s an open world, action RPG filled with cute cats, darling dogs and stacks on stacks on stacks of pun-tastic dialogue! Interested yet? Yeah you are!
I think it’s safe to say that anyone who owns a cat will tell you that they basically think of themselves as royalty, and we “the sucker pet owners”, go along with it because, well… we’re suckers and we love our adorable a-holes. Dogs on the other hand are just happy to be here. However, we treat them like royalty anyway because, again, we’re suckers and we are physically incapable of doing anything but worship those divine doggos! Enter Cat Quest II where you play as an unlikely pairing of feline and canine royalty. You, the rightful rulers of the Cat and Dog Kingdoms must work together to thwart the evil plans of the two current usurper kings who want to start a war between the two domains.
Honestly, I feel like this is an exaggerated and personified version of what goes on in my pets heads most of the time. My cats are in a constant state of war and they have no head for strategy! Just bum rush the nearest enemy with no thought to wait… no… task at hand woman!! Task at hand!!
Now, the fabulous folks over at GentleBros and PQube were kind enough to hook me up with an early release code for their freshest iteration of Cat Quest II and while I was lucky enough to play it pre-release, I’m just now getting around to reviewing it. Why you ask? Well, the best answer I can give is life I suppose. Life just does you dirty like that sometimes, ya know? Yeah, you know.
I played the original Cat Quest on the PlayStation 4 not long after it was ported over from mobile. Yeah, I know another mobile port. It’s honestly becoming a running theme with me I swear! But that being said I didn’t know it was originally a mobile game until I did some research. There’s nothing inherently mobile about it and I kind of wonder how it would play using a phone. Which I guess is to say that they did a fantastic job of bringing it to consoles/PC since the controller functionality all felt smooth and natural.
Cat Quest II, on the other hand, is purely console/PC. Well, just PC at the moment with the console release in the not too distant future. It plays exactly like the first game with the only real major difference being that your kitty hero now has an adorable canine companion. In this eagerly anticipated, open world, action RPG you can play shared screen co-op if you’d like, or you can control both characters all by your lonesome, in single player.
Fur-end or Foe
I played a bit of the co-op mode with my 7-year-old son and since this game is easy enough for anyone to just pick up and play we had a lot of fun together just exploring caves and traversing the map. There’s no real punishment for death and since there are two playable characters, you only lose progress if both of them die. Otherwise, you just revive your partner and go about your merry way. The only complexity at all is in using magic. You map each spell to a button of your choosing, and you can have up to four at once mapped out. It’s really not very complicated at all, but for a more inexperienced player I can see it getting overwhelming to remember which spell you put where. Luckily, just landing melee attacks will refill your mana gauge, so it really isn’t too detrimental should you accidentally cast the wrong spell.
However, I played the majority of Cat Quest II single player and I was wholly impressed with the intelligence of your AI partner. At any point, you can choose to play as either the cat or the dog and the AI will take control of the other. You can easily swap between either and if you die, you’re automatically switched over. The AI, on the other hand, does a fantastic job of keeping pace with you. They don’t get stuck or waste their magic or constantly do dumb things that get them hurt or killed. They will use their magic or melee attacks appropriately and dodge enemy attacks just as well as you… and sometimes even better! I’m not judging, I’m just sayin’! This is something that I think any gamer can appreciate! There’s nothing quite as disheartening as playing a game with an AI character that constantly has to be tended to and looked after. I’m here to save the world not babysit dangit!!
Cat-itude is Everything
The extra playable character is really the biggest “upgrade” Cat Quest II has going for it though. Really, I would say the game is more of an extension of Cat Quest then a sequel. Yes, the story takes place a long time after Cat Quest’s story ends, but the gameplay and graphics are almost exactly the same. Travel around the map, complete dungeons and NPC quests, level up… maybe this describes most games, but Cat Quest II is really just more of the same. Which is fine… just don’t expect to be wowed by all the “newfangled” mechanics or anything.
One thing that remains the same and that I’m certainly not disappointed in, is the fantastic dialogue. Those bountiful and glorious cat puns make the game worth playing in and of itself! I will admit at times they seemed stretched to fit, but who cares!?? It’s a cat pun! Just enjoy it! But also, added purely for your enjoyment, there are now dog puns as well! Which by no means overshadow the illustrious cat ones. I mean it’s called Cat Quest after all!
The story is very similar to the first Cat Quest in that your main goal is to defeat the evil King(s) and unravel the various bits of history that have been hidden from you. It’s all very wholesome and uncomplicated and honestly at times it feels catered to suit a much younger audience. NPC’s are very transparent with their desires so it’s not hard to tell who the good and bad guys are. While there are of course naughty kitties and puppies there is nothing terribly nefarious going on that would disturb younger players. The cuteness remains untainted no matter what the villains try to pull off.
The Paw-sibilities Are Endless
Speaking of cuteness, there are a lot more costumes to collect in Cat Quest II. Hats, body armor and weapons are received as rewards from missions or chests and each will have specific stat boosts applied to it. Kit Cat is still ever present in all her southern kitty glory to upgrade your armor, but this time around you need to travel all the way to the dog kingdom (pretty far into the game which is kind of a bummer) to get your weapons upgraded. Hotto Doggo is the resident weaponsmith and to credit his namesake he is obsessed with all things hot dog. He more often than not speaks in hot dog metaphors and if the cat puns weren’t enough of a draw already… this… this is the stuff dreams are made of my friends!
Are You Kitten Me?
Something I will say I found odd and kind of annoying was the fact that the map was peppered with Kit Cat and Hotto Doggo upgrade stations, but only one singular place to upgrade your spells. And it was at the far end of the map, nowhere near a warp! Not cool! I barely ever upgraded my magic because of that. And magic is a pretty big deal in Cat Quest II. No matter what, you can always use magic, but with the appropriate armor and a staff you can set one, or both,of your characters up to be purely magic focused. Basically, they will have a long range magic attack instead of up close melee and their spells will be much more powerful. In the beginning, it was a great way to balance out combat since a lot of enemies have elemental weaknesses, but as you strayed further and further from that upgrade place, I found my magical partner to be falling way behind damage and health-wise. In the end I just found it easier to have them both be melee centric with the magic taking a back seat and only getting upgraded if I horded my gold and made the long trek. I will say that all the spells you unlock were super fun and surprisingly useful, even though their strength and usefulness was measured in leaps and bounds.
The Puurr-fect Sequel?
So, here we are, sadly finished with the long-awaited Cat Quest II and how did I feel about it? It was Cat Quest! That’s the best I can say really. If you liked the first game, then there’s absolutely no reason for you not to like this one as well. Or if you are new to the series then there’s nothing you will be missing by not playing the first one first…even if that is a blasphemous thing to do! But I digress, Cat Quest II was really everything I was hoping for and that was simply more Cat Quest!