Developer(s) – The Gentlebros
Publisher(s) – The Gentlebros & PQube
PEGI – 7
Released 2 years after its predecessor to widespread critical acclaim, Cat Quest II picks up pretty much immediately where the first game left off, but at the same time, giving players a much bigger world to explore and more quests to undertake, as well as introducing a few new Gameplay mechanics and expanding the lore of the universe greatly. In every single respect, the second game is much better than the first, and the ideal way to expand on what is a very promising series of games indeed.
Graphics – 9/10
As in the first game, the game is set in the region of Felingard, where cat civilization is based and the same dangerous creatures roam the landscape for players to have to contend with. However, Cat Quest also introduces players to the Lupus Empire; a realm inhabited by dogs, which has a whole new design to it and a whole load of new enemies to fight and locations to discover. The Lupus Empire is a lot more bare and arid in stark contrast to the lush greenery of Felingard and does well to demonstrate the developer’s abilities to diversify in terms of location design. There are also a few new technical improvements made the visual as well; most notably in the water effects in underground cave areas, which make each of these locations stand out from one another much better than before. Me being a sucker for water effects in games, I was particularly impressed with how they were handled in this game compared to that of the first.
Gameplay – 9/10
In terms of gameplay, Cat Quest II is very much like an extension of the first game. The premise is virtually the same, with a couple of newly added gameplay features; the most distinguishable feature being that the player now has control of two characters; not just one, and can switch between the two at will. It makes the combat system itself infinitely more dynamic, with the introduction of new weapons for both characters to wield and new armor to discover and modify. In addition, there are also new spells to learn as well as old ones from the previous game. There are also many more side quests to do around the game’s open-world for longevity.
Controls – 10/10
The game’s control scheme functions exactly the same as in the previous game and as such, there are no issues to be concerned with; players will be able to go from Cat Quest I to II without skipping a beat. It doesn’t take long at all to get used to the newly introduced mechanics either, as they’re simple enough to get to grips with. The new sprint option also allows for more efficient exploration in a shorter span of time.
Lifespan – 7.5/10
To complete the game 100% takes around 17 hours to complete, which whilst isn’t a decisive improvement on the first game, it’s still an improvement nevertheless. I still think that a game of this potential and magnitude deserves to last far longer than what both the first two installments have offered players thus far, but it was nice to see minimal improvements in this respect at the very least.
Storyline – 7/10
Following the events of the first game, a cat king has been paired against his will with a dog king in order to bring about a truce between the warring regions of Felingard and The Lupus Empire. The story has all the charm as what the first game did with both cat and dog-related puns all over the dialogue, and even a few off-hand references to classic games hidden here and there. The story also escalates into something far bigger than what the initial synopsis suggests, which all helps to keep the franchise as fresh as possible.
Originality – 7/10
The only gripe I would have in terms of originality in this game is that a lot of its soundtrack is the same as what was in the first game; especially at the beginning, which at first made me feel like I was simply playing the same game again but with a few improvements. But after I’d played it for some time, I realized that wasn’t the case at all, and the soundtrack does become a lot more diversified as the game progresses too, with new types of music taken from new influences. That being said, the excitement of the new combat system alone does well enough to keep the series fresh and to continue to differentiate it from many other indie game series’ developed over the last few years and has made me all the more anticipatory of a potential third game.
Overall, Cat Quest II, with many improvements here and there, is a much better game than its predecessor; the combat system has been modified greatly, the charm and great atmosphere are both expanded upon to a phenomenal extent, and will do well to appease both fans of the series and newcomers alike.