Developer: The Gentlebros
Publisher: The Gentlebros
Platforms: PC (version reviewed), Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, iOS, Android
Release Dates: September 24th, 2019 (PC) Fall 2019 (Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, iOS, Android)
Cat Quest II offers a bigger adventure than the first but feels more like an expansion than a true sequel.
The first Cat Quest was one of the best surprises of 2017 bar none. It had all the makings of a cheap mobile game but had a pleasant aesthetic, won you over with its corny but charming insistence of constant puns, had really solid engaging combat combined with deep customization and great pace of finding better loot constantly. For the sequel, Cat Quest II, they added a dog.
I’m oversimplifying but not by a whole lot here. The story in Cat Quest II (and yes, the series has some surprisingly deep lore if you want to examine it) is that the Cat and Dog kingdoms were friendly long ago, but have been bitter enemies in a sort of cold war stalemate for a long time now. When the kings of their respective kingdoms are deposed, a cat and dog must work together to save both of their kingdoms from going to all-out war with each other.
What this essentially means in terms of gameplay is that now you have a constant partner with you at all times in Cat Quest II. In the previous game, it was all you; now you have a backup.
This adds some extra layer of strategy that wasn’t present before. While you can swap out equipment as much as you like on each character, it’s pretty convenient to just develop, say, one character as a warrior and one as a magic-user. It also can serve as a sort of “extra life” if the one you are controlling gets knocked out. It’s an extra layer, but the fighting is still basically the same so it’s not a drastic change, just more of a slight tweak.
The addition of the dog in Cat Quest II also allows for co-op. Obviously, this is a game that is very family-friendly in its appearance but much like the first, actually offers a substantial challenge – so there is a big positive in there for kids who might need help from someone older to get through the game. You cannot merely hack away at enemies and hope to win, you have to time your dodges right and wait for good openings if you actually want to get far in the game.
Graphically, Cat Quest II looks virtually identical to Cat Quest. I wasn’t expecting a huge improvement or anything given the scale of the game, but it’s a lot of the same enemy designs, terrain types, animations, etc. Again, I wasn’t expecting a major upgrade, but some more new things to see would have been very welcome. This also comes into play with the performance though.
I played the first Cat Quest on the Nintendo Switch, and it ran pretty flawlessly. I played Cat Quest II on a fairly new gaming-focused laptop purchased just a couple of months ago. There were plenty of points where the game slowed down or straight up froze for a few seconds. Only once in my time playing was there an actual crash but it’s still strange that a game that isn’t particularly taxing on my hardware runs like this.
The good news is that the loop of quick quests and constant loot on satisfying combat that made the first Cat Quest such a pleasant surprise is still plentiful in Cat Quest II. It might get a bit old if and when there is a third game, but the formula still works for the sequel, and there is a much wider variety of equipment than in the last game with differing buffs and abilities.
I do wish there was something I could do with the equipment I don’t use at all, however. Either sell it or have some sort of crafting system (maybe that’ll be in the next installment) that allows me to break the pieces down and make new equipment or incorporate into the equipment I like to use. Right now it just seems like a waste.
There’s not much in the way of new things to experience in Cat Quest II, but the formula still works really well and is still worth your time if you had fun with the first one. The co-op mode makes it a pretty ideal option to play with other family members as well. Without a major change-up, the formula might feel too stale for another entry but for now, Cat Quest II is an enjoyable, fun and charming loot adventure that much like the first holds surprising depth given its somewhat simplistic presentation. It is certainly worth a look (possibly more so when it comes to additional portable platforms later in the year which it seems like a better fit for).
A copy of this game was provided to App Trigger for the purpose of this review. All scores are ranked out of 10, with .5 increments.
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