Cattails for the Nintendo Switch Review
Just the fact that games like Stardew Valley and Harvest Moon baffle me. Don’t get me wrong, I love these games with all my heart! But something about a chill, slow-moving game sounds odd in a world full of violent action games. And at the same time, it makes sense. Sometimes we need a break. But maybe you’ve played the heck out of Stardew Valley. There isn’t a lot of other options! That’s where Cattails comes in, another solid, slow moving game on the Nintendo Switch. It may not be the best in longevity like Stardew Valley, but it does fill that void.
Cattails sees you, the cat protagonist, abandoned on the side of a road. A kindly cat finds your character and shows you how to be a wild cat. Teaching your basic actions and giving you an ability, the cat sets you off with little to no direction from there. Which colony do you choose? Who do you romance? Do you wage war or make peace with other colonies? This may sound as if this is some high budget AAA game. It’s not. Luckily, Falcon Games decided to simplify these features as much as possible.
As a cat, you can swipe, forage, hunt and pounce, and swim. Collecting plants for food, collection purposes or cash is why foraging is essential. Need better food? Hunt and pounce on your prey. Enemy cat? Swipe at them. Do you really, really want that fish? Swim. Why would a cat want that though?
There are 10 days in a season. While this seems little, there isn’t as much as Stardew Valley in terms of content. I actually applaud this. If there were 30 days in a season, I would have been bored very quickly. The landscape also drastically changes with each season. Summer is bright and green, then by winter it becomes snowy. The seasons are what make the pixel art shine. Speaking of the art…
The pixel art is one of the highest points in Cattails. I loved the character portraits. The mix between sprite art and the look of a real cat is a high point for me- I will just stare at each of the characters. The backgrounds are also enjoyable, plants and certain landmarks are really cool to find and see.
The world’s currency is called mews. You will heal yourself with this, you will buy items. Unlike Stardew Valley where the goal is to be rolling in the dough, Cattails makes mews much harder to obtain. Not impossible or challenging, but you won’t be anywhere close to a thousand in a few hours. I like this, actually. The mechanic requires you to be frugal with your mews, instead of healing when you have -10 health.
When exploring, you may come across contested areas. Here, the war between the clans wages on. You can help fight or ignore these. Definitely not game changing, but a fun addition nonetheless. You may also earn some mews! Also while exploring, you may approach a mine. Here you will break rocks to earn a different currency than mews. You’ll be able to buy exclusive items and equippables. Mining is fun, but not as refined as other similar games. It’s still fun and adds to the experience of Cattails.
There are a few marriageable cats in Cattails. This is the main goal of the game- to get a partner and have a litter, to take on more adventures. Getting there takes time, though. You have to figure out which gifts each cat likes- and eventually they’ll like you enough. Becoming friends with the other colonies is similar to this approach, so it’s not just individuals.
You can either continue to wage war against the other two colonies, or if diplomacy is your thing, bringing gifts to the colonies works, too! Figuring out which items they like is hard. Making them not mad is harder. I as a diplomat kept trying to get them to let me in, and they eventually did. This feature is not a deep one at all, but it emulates a common AAA quite well.
There’s even little accessories and new colors for your cat! I gave my cat Keith (yes, Keith) a scarf and a turtle pet. Turtle pets are the best!
While I have praised Cattails quite a bit, when it all comes together, I don’t have any special connection to the game. It’s a very good game, but not more than that. Cattails has charm for sure. But it’s not enough. Cattails is worth your money and time, but just know you’re not going to be hooked like Stardew Valley might have.
Reviewed by Jack Bankhead on the Nintendo Switch. Game provided by Falcon Interactive.