Posted on 23 Sep 2019 by Jay Shaw

Cat Quest 2

The Defence

Developer: The Gentlebros
Publisher: PQube
Genre: Action, Adventure, Role Playing
Platform: Consoles, PC
Review copy: Yes
Release date: 24 Sep 2019

The Prosecution

Minimum
Recommended
OS: Windows
CPU: Intel Core i3 2100 @3.1 GHz
AMD equivalent
VGA: Intel HD 520
RAM: 4 GB
HDD: 600 MB
DirectX: 9
Controller: Full
Mod Support: No
VR: No
FOV Slider: No
FPS Lock: Unknown
OS: Windows
CPU: Intel Core i7 7500U @2.7 GHz
AMD equivalent
VGA: Intel HD 620
RAM: 8 GB
HDD: 600 GB
DirectX: 12
Controller: Full
Mod Support: No
VR: No
FOV Slider: No
FPS Lock: Unknown

The Case

Cat Quest 2 takes the formula of the original Cat Quest and adds dogs. Oh, and a bunch of new spells, a larger overworld and, somehow, even more cat and dog puns. We have no idea how The Gentlebros managed to cram in so many puns that they’re denser than the storage medium but we can tell you if the game’s worth playing. Read on!

The Trial

First off, we’ve got to talk about Hotto Doggo. While in the first game, Kit Cat was your blacksmith friend and aide, this time her doggy companion Hotto Doggo takes up half the duties and he’s an absolute treasure. Dressed in Japanese style clothes, with a headband marked with the kanji for inu (dog) drooping over one eye. He speaks almost exclusively in vaguely proverb like tidbits about hotdogs: “…you two are different! Like a hotdog eaten in summer…” This joke is carried on throughout the entire game, he’s practically a Gintama character.

With that out of the way we can continue. Cat Quest 2 largely follows the same structure as its predecessor, action style combat overlaid on an overworld map littered with dungeons, ruins, and towns. Quests are often simple and stupid to the point of absurdity and narrowly miss becoming grating thanks to the abundance of charm every millimetre of the game is stuffed with. Almost everything is a joke and what isn’t is still laced with cat or dog puns. You may groan at the first few but once you give in to it you’re in for some treats like ninja cats using “Meowruto” as a password, or a dog town being called Pound Town. The world map is crammed with jokes too, like Purrmaha Beach, Cat-thulhu, or the Far-Fetched Sands. Even when referencing old dark stories like Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde there’s an overwhelming amount of cute and dumb in just the right proportions to make it fun for everyone.

The GentleBros definitely opened Pundora's box.

Whether you’re on the world map, in a dungeon, cave, or ruin you’ll always be close to a fight. Monsters abound both above and below ground while traps are also abundant in the latter. Sometimes treasure will be hidden behind a multi-wave fight called a trial, sometimes you’ll have to kill all the monsters in a cave, and sometimes a spatial puzzle like a maze with multiple entry and exit points or teleports will keep you from your prize. It’s a good job then that fighting is slick, whether you’re wielding a melee weapon or wand the basic controls use one button for attack and one for a dodge roll. Spells are kept on the shoulder buttons and triggers (if using a pad) and act as an accompanying attack or buff to your regular basic combo. Enemies telegraph their spells and attacks with red marks on the floor, allowing you plenty of time to get out of the way if you’re not like us and far too aggressive. Thankfully, you can revive a downed teammate by just standing in the circle around their body for a few seconds.

In cooperative play each player is responsible for their own gear selection while in single-player you’ll take on the role of the two heroes simultaneously. Controlling one while the AI takes command of the other. You’ll equip both with gear and spells and can mix and match to find roles that suit your style. For example, early game we kept the dog as a tankier, slower build with buffing and protection spells while the cat was faster and more DPS focused. Mid-late game we switched this up to have the dog be a ranged spell caster armed with a wand and plenty of damage spells while the cat took on the role of both tank and DPS with a mixed armour and weapon set that granted them immense armour and good damage. If that sounds intimidating like an RPG stats screen without tooltips, you have nothing to fear. Cat Quest 2 only uses five stats: health, mana, damage, magic power, and armour value. Each is pretty self explanatory and while some armour pieces will offer things like resistance to lightning, you’ll never need to be concerned with more than the core five. Or you can just equip whatever looks cutest or funniest because Kit Cat and Hotto Doggo can level up your armour and weapons for money so nothing’s ever off the table.

Even the treasure chests have little cat tails!

We weren’t trying to 100% complete the game, but we did see probably 80% of the dungeons/caves/ruins and the entire story as well as almost all the side quests and the game clocked in at a respectable 10 hours for us. Very little of that time was spent aimlessly wandering or messing around either; there’s an impressive amount of content in Cat Quest 2 even if there’s not a great variety – and that’s the crux of Cat Quest 2‘s shortcoming. While the overworld map is respectably large and you’re never more than a couple of seconds from something to do, it’s all very basic. To be clear, we don’t mean that as a negative. This isn’t Pillars of Eternity or even Diablo, more like Gauntlet with a two continent world map.

Performance wise, the game runs great even on a moderate system with no frame hiccups or lock-ups happening during our entire play through even when things got really crazy on screen. That’s a relief then, since there’s no graphical options aside from resolution and windowed/fullscreen. Some of the sound balance felt a little off on a 5.1 headset but in stereo mode or running through TV speakers everything sounds spot on. Some sound effects are louder than others, like a spell going off, but it helps sell their impact and isn’t obnoxiously loud so it works.

The Verdict

It’s hard to find anything to object to in Cat Quest 2. What it does, it does excellently but if that thing (cat puns and some basic hack and slash style play) doesn’t click with you then you’re barking up the wrong tree entirely. To be blunt about it: if you’re not going to giggle at a place called Pound Town or enjoy mini challenges for loot then you’re not going to enjoy Cat Quest 2. You won’t be seeing more than a handful of terrain types and the overworld map layout largely becomes trivial once you gain the ability to walk on water so if you come in expecting a serious but cutesy action RPG adventure then you’ll leave disappointed. If you come for a wonderfully realised parody world and responsive combat then you’ll be in for a treat, like a hotdog in summer.

Case Review

  • Puns: Please make them stop! Wait, no, they’re pretty good actually.

  • Pups: The dogs are a natural addition.

  • Hotto Doggo: Practically a Gintama character and one of the funniest things in the whole game.

  • Call-backs: References to the original game are kept to a minimum and are light enough that you don’t need to have played it to know what’s going off.

  • Basic: Being more complicated would’ve bogged gameplay down, but being basic can be a tad boring if you’re just stomping enemies weaker than you.

5 Score: 5/5
Cat Quest 3. When?

Evidence

  • Graphics: Fullscreen toggle and resolution selection.
  • Audio: Music and sound effects volume sliders. Text language selection.
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