Review: Cat Cafe Manager (Nintendo Switch)
Cat Cafe Manager is a store simulator in which you not only run a coffee shop, you also take care of cats. Your character (of your design) moves to a very small town away from the city and starts the business. That’s pretty much it for the story (aside from a minor mystery about a cat shrine), but the game is fun and intriguing nonetheless.
While running a cafe in real life seems hard (or even boring) to do, Cat Cafe Manager makes it simple and entertaining. Many customers (punks, artists, witches, fishermen, and more) walk into your cafe and order lots of different items.
Each customer will give you different materials as pay, which will help you buy various things. For example, punks will give you wood materials, which you would use to either add more room to your cafe or buy furniture. With all the materials you get, you are able to also buy new recipes, ingredients, cat supplies, kitchen appliances, and more.
To earn all of these materials, you have to serve your customers. They will sit in any available seat, allowing you to walk up and take their order. Each customer has a few requirements to meet in order to have a satisfactory experience.
Even if your chairs are low quality they will leave unhappy, so it’s important to keep upgrading. Once you take their orders, if you have the right ingredients you can start preparing it in your kitchen. You then will take it back to them. Certain skills can help make this process go by more quickly as you upgrade them. You can also hire help and upgrade their skills as well.
One main character represents each type of customer, and they’re known as your “regulars.” These are the people who own the shops you evidently buy your products from, as well. Each new day in your game you can invite a regular and build your relationship with them. As you gain new hearts, you will start to have more meaningful conversations. They will talk to you about a corporation trying to take over the town and their thoughts on that, as well as their past and plans for the future. Each character is different and fun to get to know.
While serving your customers, you have other responsibilities as well. One of these is cleaning your cafe and keeping it presentable. This is also a skill you can upgrade and hire help for. You’ll clean trash, and also cat pee, which leads into another responsibility: taking in stray cats and caring for them.
To adopt strays, you will have to put cat food outside of your cafe and wait for the cats to come and eat it. You will then get a little notification that lets you know they’re at your cafe, and you can go outside and pet the one you would like to adopt. It takes about three days of petting for a cat to warm up to you enough to follow you inside and allow you to take care of it. Once you have adopted one cat, you can then move on to others you have yet to pet.
To care for cats, you will have to feed them and buy them litter boxes and keep them clean. You can also pet the cats, but they are given attention constantly by your customers so there’s no major need for that. You can upgrade your cats, as well. This is very helpful because once they reach certain levels, they are given special traits. These traits can either keep your cat from peeing or eating too often, make her more likable by the customers, or raise her satisfaction levels.
Once you have filled your cafe with as many cats as you can, you can give them away to forever homes. On the same board you use to hire help, there are also people asking for cats to adopt. If you have given a cat a punk trait, you can then give him away to a punk looking for a cat. The higher level your cat, and if the traits match up, the more hearts you get for giving him up for adoption.
The hearts you get are also gained from happy customers in your shop. These hearts allow you to upgrade certain shops and your cafe at the cat shrine.
The cat shrine has many cat statues, each with a specific purpose. One helps you to upgrade your recipes and allows the food shop to sell you more recipes. Another makes it so you can adopt more cats at once, and has the cat shop sell more cat food and furniture. Another allows you to upgrade the furniture you can buy for your shop.
The controls for this game are very simple, but their execution was troubling; I found it a bit hard to take orders and provide food. You do this by walking up to a customer and pressing Y on your controller. The problem is that you have to be in a very specific spot for this, which can sometimes take a couple seconds longer than you would want, especially if your cafe is busy. I also found that when I placed wallpaper on the walls of my cafe, some spots would be darker than others and look a bit weird. This isn’t a big problem, but it does mess up the aesthetic of the game if that’s something you care about.
The cartoon style of Cat Cafe Manager is very cute. Because there are so many different types of customers, it’s cool to see how they are all designed differently.
There are also many different types of cats. That makes it fun to choose which one you would like to adopt, as you can pick which you think is the coolest or cutest.
Cat Cafe Manager is a simple game, making it a fun choice when you just want to relax. That said, once you get into it, you could end up relaxing for hours.