Cat Cafe Manager is a building/management sim game published by Freedom Games combining two of my favourite things, simulation games, and cats.
I do enjoy games where I’m free to build and decorate my own business how I want to, and in this game there is definitely plenty to do on that front.
While unfortunately it’s not possible to have an adorable bundle of fluff of my own in real life, I can at least dream of owning as many virtual cats as I want and become a cat lady. Mind you, not a crazy one, though!
Without further ado, let me introduce you to your new venture in the cosy countryside village of Caterwaul Way. Cat Cafe Manager is available on Steam for €19.99, Nintendo Switch for $19.99, and Epic Games for €19.99.
STORY – WELCOME TO CATERWAUL WAY
Cat Cafe Manager is one of those games where you inherit a business from a deceased close relative and you have to restore it to its “former glory”.
The story begins in Caterwaul Way, where you’re tasked with rebuilding your late grandmother’s Cat Cafe, and you’ll meet the lovely—and a little quirky—villagers. However, there seems to be a halo of mystery shrouding this countryside village, and it’s up to you to uncover the secrets behind it.
GAMEPLAY – A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A CAT CAFE MANAGER
In Cat Cafe Manager—as the name suggests—you need to rebuild and manage the cafe. It’s not as simple as it sounds (at least at the beginning). You have some money and resources that let you to buy a table, a couple of chairs, and cat lures to start with. You’re also tasked with what is the most important thing above all, the naming of your Cafe. Being a game involving cats, you can let your mind run wild with cat puns and name your business after one of them like I did. Is it cheesy and predictable? Yeah, probably. But who cares, it’s your business after all.
Customers will come to your cafe and order food and drink, play with your adopted strays, and pay for the service. You will be rewarded with hearts, which will be useful once you unlock the shrine. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, though.
One of the things that really bothered me was that in order to complete a task (whether it was taking an order, preparing food, chatting with the customers, or even cleaning whatever mess your little furry friends made) I would need to get the specific spot where the prompt would become available. It wasn’t sufficient for me to get near the customer—for example—I had to pick the right spot, which resulted in me going back and forth several times because the prompt to complete said task would not appear.
THE ART OF MULTITASKING
However repetitive the day may get, you will be on your feet all day long. From the beginning of your working day, you will run back and forth serving customers, preparing their order, taking care of the cats, as well as entertaining some of the people with some chit chat. The menu in the bottom left corner will help you with some tasks you’ll need through the day and at the end of your shift.
The village of Caterwaul Way is divided into five areas.
PET GOODS: Here you can acquire pet food and lures for the stray cats. As you progress with the game, different lures will become available. I wonder what cats will come visit your cafe…
MARKET: The market is the place where you buy ingredients for the recipes in your menu. You can also unlock new recipes (and purchase ingredients for the ones you already have, if you have enough money).
FURNITURE: Simple as that! You can buy—you guessed right!—furniture for your Cat Cafe, as well as decorations and various appliances.
NOTE BOARD: Just like a regular notice board, here you will find ads from people looking for employment, as well as people looking for cats to adopt.
SHRINE: The shrine is quite the vital point of this game. In order to restore it, you need to unlock each project (for pets, recipes, furniture, and staff).
As a Cat Cafe Manager, you’re also in charge of decorating your cafe. At the beginning you’ll start with basic furniture and appliances, but you can get fancier stuff as you advance in the game. However, you also have the option of decorating floors and walls, add windows, doors, and make your Cat Cafe really stylish.
Here’s where you find the menu for your Cat Cafe. Fancy, isn’t it? You can select which recipes you want by clicking on them and remember, you can unlock more by completing the food projects in the Shrine!
This is where you level up your strays. Each cat is more suited for certain types of customers, therefore you’ll be able to increase the number of visitors based on the cat’s preferences. At times, levelling up your furry friend means that you’ll get to choose some pretty unique perks for them. It’s up to you to pick which one can work in your favour.
There’s no I in team and, as you expand your cafe, you’ll need some extra help, which you can get from the note board. Whether it’s for cooking or serving, you’ll certainly find the right fit for your Cat Cafe. In the staff section, you can level up your staff to make them more efficient. You’ll be able to increase their cooking, service, and cleaning skills. There’s also a repairing skill, but that’s only for you. Just like the cats, you and your staff will also get extra perks. However, the staff ones are a bit more varied and can also help you out with your furniture, resources, and customers.
It’s important to remember that, if you’re struggling with your resources, advertising for certain types of customers will help. Each type pays in their own “currency”, and you will use that currency to purchase ingredients for your recipes, lures and food for your little strays. For example, if you’re short on Nectar (which is used to buy ingredients), just advertise for Witches only and you’ll get plenty!
The people of Caterwaul Way are very supportive of your venture, especially because they knew your grandmother very well. During your daily shifts, you’ll have the option to invite them to your Cat Cafe, so you can get to know them a little better. Each one has their own unique personalities, and once they become more acquainted with you, they’ll trust you enough to confide in you with their problems and worries.
A Cat Cafe is not a Cat Cafe without cats, and you’ll get plenty of furry visitors every day with the lures you can find at the pet shop. There are many types of lures, and each lure attracts different types of strays. Adopting a stray is not as simple as you may think, though, you’ll have to bond with them for a while first. Just like in real life. I can tell you my heart melted a little at each adoption prompt.
AUDIO & VISUALS
The music here is very relaxing, I believe it’s very fit for this game. However, what made me appreciate the audio aspect even more was the array of everyday-life sounds. The chime of the bell as the new day begins, the cats’ meows, the village folk greetings… Or even something unimportant like the sound of a broken appliance being fixed. To me, adding this little bit of reality made Cat Cafe Manager more enjoyable.
Being a simulation game, I think the cute, cartoony style was really on point, and I really liked the diverse form of the villagers of Caterwaul Way, as well as the almost-stick figures of the Cat Cafe staff and the rest of the customers. Not only that, but I couldn’t help but praise the level of detail that went into designing each piece of furniture and appliances.
Cat Cafe Manager was reviewed on Nintendo Switch with a key provided by Stride PR.