I think I may be too attached to Cat Cafe Manager. Now this isn’t a bad thing at all but it’s always calling to me like some sort of cat siren, singing it’s song of running an adorable cafe where cats roam. Sure, I’ve reviewed other games since getting my copy of the game. But I can’t say that when I was fighting skeletons in Tiny Tina’s Wonderland that I wasn’t really thinking about if I needed to stock up on more bread and coffee for my cafe, Cattuccino. Fortnite removed building and made the game a thousand times more enjoyable but I still found my eyes wandering towards my switch. Did my town need me more than I needed to figure out where I’m dropping? With all that being said, Cat Cafe Manager stole my heart and the spot for my favorite game of the year so far.
The concept of Cat Cafe Manager is simple, your grandma passed and you decided it was time to move to her village, Caterwaul Way, to honor her legacy. The best way to do that though is to rebuild her cat cafe. Essentially Gran ran a restaurant/coffee house/gathering place for the town where she also homed many feline friends. You first meet Bonner, a fisherman who’s husband is worried about, who tells you all about your grandmother. But then it’s off to the races once you’re given Gran’s journal. Build, decorate, and collect strays of all kind to build a cozy place for people to forget about the world for awhile.
The forgetting about the world aspect has always been something that escapes me. If you know me, you know that at any given time I’m working on at least 3 or 4 projects at one time. I struggle with anxiety among other fun little mental illnesses. But when I picked up this game, all of that sort of washed away. It’s so hard for me to not worry about all the things I have going on but something about this game was the first time I really felt like a game was a stress reliever for me. Never before have I taken so much joy in decorating a space like I have my cafe. Hours would pass by as I built out my staff and feline family to improve my cafe to see the happiness meters of my customers rise with each passing day. Nothing in the game stresses me out but rather just delivers so much joy with its humor, adorable art style, and it’s simple but rewarding gameplay.
You run the cat cafe which means you do pretty much everything. You buy furniture, decorations, food, cat toys, toilets, and all that jazz. You chose how to build it all out from lumber given to you by punks (this game is very pro-punk and anti big corp but don’t want to spoil anything!). Every day you serve customers to get different forms of currency to improve your cafe and buy more food. All the while, the happiness that flows is building up the Cat Shrine in town which unlocks abilities and new items you can buy. I also think I met the devil at the Cat Shrine in Caterwaul Way but that’s another story for another day (they’re very nice but mysterious).
The town is full of friendly faces in Cat Cafe Manager that you can call to come by the cafe. With each visit, your friendship grows as these friends open up to you more and more. You get to help guide them through the troubles of their lives and journeys towards self discovery. It’s not a giant aspect of the game but those level up conversations are so relatable and well written that you wish you could hug your new friends of Caterwaul Way because you just feel what they’re going though.
Now I’ve waited till the end to tell you this but I never really cared about cats until recently. Sure, I grew up with them but I always preferred dogs. That was until we rescued Kori and Mera (which I named my two first cats in game) who changed my life. Cats are goofy, absolutely weird, and some of the most loving little fur balls around. Playing Cat Cafe Manager reminded me of them a bit. Carefree, adorable, and always calling me to play with them. Now clearly I am a huge cat person which only enhanced my love of this game. Except this game cannot put its claws into my leg to remind me it’s time for pets like the real thing (well maybe metaphorically it did).
So I don’t feel guilty about playing Cat Cafe Manager a lot more than anything recently. Spending time with my friends at Cattuccino helped me slow down when typically my brains always racing. It’s one of those games that is going to be my go to from now on when I just need a true escape. We don’t do ratings here but I’d give this game a 100/10. Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I heard Bonner just come into the cafe and I know he’s going to have a story to tell me. 🐱
You can find the game here on Steam or on the Nintendo Switch store.