Developer: The Gentlebros Publisher: PQube
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, iOS
Review Platform: PlayStation 4
The story in Cat Quest 2 begins when two kings wake up from a deep slumber, one a cat from Felingard, and the other a dog from the Lupus Empire. Your thrones have been taken by two evil individuals named Lioner and Wolfen, and together you must unite cats and dogs to overthrow the usurpers and bring peace to the land. The main villains themselves seem fairly one note for the majority of the story, but their motivations eventually unfold to add further intrigue during the final act. If you haven’t played the original Cat Quest, that’s perfectly okay, as the new story takes place long after the events of the original game. The narrative is more than serviceable, introducing some quirky characters and an interesting plot that kept me entertained.
The best aspects in Cat Quest 2 are the incredibly charming side quests, all of which contain expertly crafted cat/dog puns to emphasise the adorable nature of this world. If there was an award for ‘Best Cat/Dog Puns’ Cat Quest 2 would win easily, they are simply pawsome. Most side missions have ongoing stories that will take place over 5 or 6 quests, and very rarely will you find a throwaway story. While most side quests boil down to the same formula to complete, the charming writing and interesting characters keep everything fresh. Whether you’re facing off against a Cat Quest version of Jekyll and Hyde named Kitward Klyde and Dr Jekitt, or saving a pack of dogs from being brainwashed, each side mission is well-written and enjoyable. I experienced every side quest available in Cat Quest 2, and I implore you to do the same. These quests offer some of the most hilarious, heartfelt and charming moments in the game.
The biggest change in Cat Quest 2 comes in the form of cooperative play, as you will now always have a second character alongside you for the adventure. Cat Quest 2 does not offer online cooperative play, with two player gaming only available locally. Cooperative play also features drop-in/drop-out functions. If you don’t have a second player your cooperative partner will be controlled by the AI, which is sufficient. There were moments where my AI companion went down extremely quickly, but if your playable character goes down first, you get a second chance as the other character.
Players will also have full control over customising both characters, which includes armour, weapons and magic abilities. I focused on using my cat as a melee specialist, while outfitting my dog companion with long range magic abilities. This kept my partnership varied and meant each character controlled differently during battles, keeping your team diverse makes a huge difference during tough encounters. Due to a second character on screen, the number of enemies you face at once has also increased. For the most part Cat Quest 2 isn’t a difficult game, but there are a handful of later boss fights and wave based encounters found within dungeons that will offer quite the challenge. Learning when to utilise your dodge roll and counterattack skills is vital, and I had a blast testing my skills against these powerful foes.
Aside from the added novelty of a second character, combat is almost identical to the original game. If the original combat didn’t offer enough in-depth challenge, don’t expect that to be altered in Cat Quest 2. While gameplay is smooth and enjoyable (as it was in the original), nothing feels incredibly different from the previous combat offering. Many of the enemies from the original are present, with the exact same attack patterns. Despite the fact I found the combat in Cat Quest 2 to be enjoyable, I couldn’t help but wish new elements has been added to the combat to substantially differentiate itself from the original game.
Cat Quest 2 always rewards you for your efforts. Loot can be found within every dungeon, hidden in secret areas, rewarded during missions, and all the while your characters will constantly level up. It’s a satisfying and addictive gameplay loop which kept me invested in the adventure. The range of loot has also increased over the original, and you can choose to outfit your character in whatever you see fit. Every piece of loot offers its own designated stats, and it’s up to you to decide which pieces will benefit your playstyle. Or you can simply customise your characters to look as adorable as possible; the choice is yours.
Cat Quest 2 looks absolutely gorgeous; the charming and eye-catching visuals make every second spent in this world an absolute delight. The colours pop from the screen and every character, no matter how evil or vicious, looks downright adorable. This is a bright world, which is emphasised by the fantastic musical themes throughout. There isn’t a huge range of different musical tracks, but each is used perfectly to make every play session an enjoyable and pleasant adventure.
My biggest issue with Cat Quest 2 is the barebones features available throughout the menus. Since the narrative setup allows players to explore both Felingard and the Lupus Empire, the size of the map has almost doubled. This becomes an issue when navigating the map screen, as you don’t have any ability to zoom in/or out, filter the map to showcase certain objectives, or simply place your own checkpoint markers to help navigate the world. Chasing down hidden items using the lacklustre map menu was a time consuming experience, and meant I spent way too much time combing through the map menu. Your inventory screen is also missing basic features, such as being able to sort loot by various options, which means managing loot can be slightly more time consuming than it needs to be.
Another feature that feels oddly barebones is the fast travel system. Players can find fast travel points, but from there players are never told where exactly each fast travel point will take them. You may have an idea where you will appear, but there is no indication on the map where exactly that will be. Due to the aforementioned map issues, the process ends up taking more time than simply walking there yourself.
The lack of control over each of these features feels odd, and ends up making each more cumbersome than they need to be. These features don’t require an overhaul, but providing the player with more control over these menus would make the entire process way more player friendly; something the rest of Cat Quest 2 absolutely succeeds at accomplishing.
In Cat Quest 2 everything has been expanded to offer more of the content you loved from the original, with more areas to explore, more loot to collect, and more cat puns to enjoy.
If you adored the original game and want more of the same, Cat Quest 2 delivers. However, those expecting some fundamental gameplay changes from the original, may be left underwhelmed. Cat Quest 2 is ridiculously fun, charming and enjoyable, but it does feel quite similar to the original adventure.
Despite lacking some useful features that would make menus easier to navigate, Cat Quest 2 is incredibly friendly to players, and is a delightful experience for those wanting a charming and enjoyable pet-themed adventure.
The Score: 8.0
PlayStation 4 review code was provided by publisher.