Cat Café Manager – Review

Cat Cafe Manager Review
Release Date
April 14, 2022
Publisher
Freedom Games
Developer
Roost Games
Platform
Nintendo Switch, PC
Reviewed on
PC
Review copy provided by
Freedom Games

Cat Café Manager, starts out like one of those home makeover mobile apps. As is customary in such situations, in Cat Café Manager, you take on the role of a young adult who has just inherited their grandmother’s ancient cat café. When you get to the small town of Caterwaul Way, you’ll find yourself standing in a vacant lot with only your cat and some hand-me-down furniture to build your café from scratch.

Cat Café Manager has a lot to swoon over if you’re a fan of cats and cat cafés. Cat fans who appreciate management games will also enjoy the game’s addictive gameplay loop, which is bolstered by the existence of numerous cute cats and the need to transform your once shabby Cat Café into the Cat Café it’s meant to be.

Cat Café Manager is a more challenging and rewarding time management game. You are a waitress at a bustling café, which has a simple setup. In order to earn resources, you’ll need to feed a steady stream of hungry customers who walks into your restaurant’s front door without appointments. It adds the element of actual shopping for ingredients for requirements to be met, when you cook some food, prepare desserts, or serve drinks in Cat Café Manager. In spite of its simplicity, the mechanics of the game are addictive, for both newcomers and seasoned players alike.

Cat Café Manager uses resources, which are divided into six categories: Fabric, Nectar, Fish, Gems, Gold, and Materials. These six resources make up the game’s currency. It’s a good idea to go over each Resource type in detail during the tutorial at the start of the game because it can be quite a bit to take in. But if you decide to skip some of the tutorials, the in-game pause menu option for Granny’s Notebook conveniently provides access to all previously presented tutorials. A single currency would have made things simpler, but adjusting to the new system takes some time.

Your cat café’s guests will use a variety of resources to pay for their visit. This is where the management part of Cat Café Manager comes in. With a quick click in the Advertising sub-menu, you can alter which Resources your cat café will be advertising to different types of consumers. In addition, you can change your target consumer groups on the fly, depending on what resources you want to earn.

Earned Resources should, by definition, be put to good use. For example, the vagabonds pay in fabric, the witches with nectar, the fisherman in fish, the artists in gems, the businessmen in gold, and finally, the punks pay with building materials. Every resource is essential to expand your cat café so spend them wisely. Among all the resources, nectar seems to be the most precious commodity because it is used to buy recipes and food supplies.

And speaking of food supplies and recipes, I loved how the game conveniently lists all the ingredients needed at the market, and the inventory summary cell for each ingredient in the catalog that shows its quantity will be highlighted when you hover over it in the catalog. This organized listing makes it easy for you to see which ingredient you’ve run out of, even during quick trips to the market during opening hours.

Overall, these visual signals are adequate, but they have the potential to be even better. As your recipe and menu grow, the grocery list becomes longer and you’d have to read through the ingredients in the catalog. If you accidentally click one, it is automatically purchased, and you have no option to sell it back. This applies the same for furniture. Make sure you don’t “accidentally” click on any item that you don’t intend to but coz you’d just be wasting resources. This happened to me once, I made a mistake in clicking the top item instead of the bottom one, and I had a duplicate fridge. Who needs two refrigerators? It would have been nicer if there was a confirmation prompt before making the sale final, or a buy/sell option to get rid of things you no longer need to be converted to resources that you can use for something else.

Overall, the shop screens are easy to use and understand. In the shops, the items are arranged into categories and alphabetized. You can only buy a certain amount of each item per day, but the following day, all of the items will be refilled.

A single click is required for many interactions, while a click and hold is required for many more significant actions. When a customer orders meals or drinks, for example, all of the basic interactions are just click and hold. After a long period of time, I found myself getting tired of repeatedly clicking and holding. Cat Café Manager has controller support, but I used the keyboard and mouse to play. There is no way to remap the keys, however, the default bindings used would be familiar and intuitive to most users.

I would say playing on a controller than a keyboard might make the experience more fluid. If your Cat Café is still small and the space is cramped with furniture, it’s really difficult to move around, especially if you try to maximize the limited space with the max amount of seats you are allowed to place. You’ll find yourself stumbling on seat edges or customers, and you have to walk around them to find a good location to engage with them because interactions are only possible at a very close distance.

The key is to have as much legroom in your café as possible. Cat Café Manager gives you the ability to create and modify your cat café in addition to running the business. The 2D layout that does not rotate may be challenging at first, and I just found out that changing the color schemes, wallpaper, and flooring in certain areas makes it look like a separate room, even in the absence of indoor walls. Additionally, since the front wall of the café is always obscured, it would have been nice to have a toggle option to raise it, because that’s the only wall you can place windows on, and who wouldn’t want to see the windows that you spent so much money on. If the game would allow players to place windows on the other walls of the café, that would have been nice as well.

There are a lot of things to keep you busy in this game. Besides running the café, taking orders, preparing drinks, and serving guests, you’re also in charge of keeping the kitchen stocked, taking care of the cats, teaching the staff, and making improvements to the café. At times it can be overwhelming and a lot to handle. So leveling the Service and Staff Hiring branch on your Shrine is actually the most rewarding.

Cleaning, Cooking, Serving, Cat Care, and Fixing Skills are all included with your player character. More customers mean more money, which means you can expand, serve more people and offer a greater selection of items on your menu, and of course, take in more strays. Staff Training Points, which are earned by you and your future employees, are used to improve the individual skills of your staff. Cooking and Serving are the two skills that all hired personnel have by default. Only if they have the relevant Trait can they gain an additional Cleaning Skill.

Each member of the staff will earn a new Trait every five level-ups, up to a maximum of ten Traits. As with the initial trait you select for your player character, the majority of these Traits grant bonus points to certain Skills, and some skills are also amplified depending on the kind of furniture sets and objects you have in your Cat Café. You can level up their skills, particularly for tasks that you least want to do, in my case, cleaning and serving the orders, as I prefer to be in the kitchen more.

However the game’s lack of having the ability to delegate tasks and micromanage staff may leave your Café area very chaotic. There are times when all of your staff are just taking orders or chit-chatting with customers even when there are dozens of orders pending in the kitchen. The lack of efficiency leaves a lot of work for you.

It’s just a tad bit disappointing that the game lacks the necessary exciting elements such as the “perfect cooking” bonus or “speed” bonus found in other simulators or similar restaurant management games of this genre. In fact, it is difficult to determine how to completely raise the satisfaction level of each customer when you so desperately want to raise that A rating to S. And aside from the campaign, there are no other game modes or mini-game unlocked at the end of each level or post campaign. To put it plainly, there’s not much to say about the actual post-game content, or even difficulty tiers if one should want to try the game again with a much higher difficulty. In Cat Café Manager, there is no such thing as “Casual” or “Expert” mode.

You might find it disappointing that Cat Café Manager’s story-based mode is the only available game mode. There’s no sandbox mode or extras like limitless construction or spending or even mini-games to the sides. But despite this, the game’s storyline is still worth playing. Talking to the characters and understanding their lives with the dialogue choices that also affect how they interact towards you will keep you engaged.

In Cat Café Manager, there are five regulars who you can become friends with. They all have distinct personalities that are a perfect match for their outward differences. They’ll open up to you more as you get to know them better. Despite the short amount of time I spent with them, I enjoyed hearing about their personal lives and learning a few amusing anecdotes about their relationships with the other Regulars. As your Friendship level rises, more Regulars will start sending you gifts, and these gifts will be useful in adding points to your café’s ambiance. Moreover, friendships with these regulars are critical to earning access to higher-tier Cat Shrine projects so you can unlock more perks, items, hire additional staff, and most importantly, adopt more cats.

And after the main storyline ends, you can continue to play and expand your Cat Café with up to 50 seats and more cats. And for completionists like me, you’d be more disappointed to know that you can’t own all the cats in the game. You’d meet most of them, but you cannot adopt all of them. If your cat limit is full, and you want to replace one with another, you can opt to give up that cat for adoption through the people in the Note Board looking for pets to adopt.

Playing Cat Cafe Manager on a daily basis can become tedious after a while. Everything you do, from cleaning up after yourself to speaking with guests to delivering food and beverages to their tables, will be tedious. Repeat the same steps. Expanding your cat-filled empire is a wonderful thing. Whenever your café expands and you replace old, shabby furnishings with high-quality stuff, it’s exciting. Even if you don’t plan on playing this for weeks, it’s still worth the price of admission for those who enjoy cozy sim games.

There haven’t been a lot of management and cooking simulator games released recently, and I’m starting to wonder if any of them can top the originals. However, Cat Café Manager managed to achieve that flawlessly. This game proved to be more fun than some console games costing nearly ten times as much. I had a lot of fun developing and operating my cat café in Caterwaul Way. I also love the diversity that the devs included in this game, it just shows how much heart and attention to detail was put into making this game. Cat Café Manager is a great way to unwind at the end of a long day thanks to the friendly Regulars, a brief heartwarming story, and upbeat music.

Cat Cafe Manager Review
Cat Café Manager – Review
Score Definition
We tell you, it’s a good game! It’s not average! It might have some problems here and there, but you have to admit it is a “Good” game.
Pros
Engaging plot
Diversity among characters
Addictive gameplay
Cons
Cannot collect all cats
Lack of post-game content
7
Good