Developer: FalconDevelopment LLC
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Category: Role-Playing, Simulation, Adventure
Release Date: November 29, 2018
How we got the game: I bought it on the Nintendo eShop
When I was 11 I started reading a book series called Warriors by Erin Hunter. I fell in love and still read the series to this day (since there are still books coming out for it). I’ve gotten behind and recently started reading them again. I told Kris that I wished there was a video game based on the books. Barely a week later, Kris came up to me and showed me Cattails which was, ironically, being released for the Nintendo Switch in just a couple of weeks. Now, this game has nothing to do with the books, but it still reminds me of the books in some ways.
I hate the way this game begins – let me get that out in the open right now. The game starts off with a young girl and her mother picking out a kitten. They’re all happy and bring the kitten home. The kitten and the young girl are best friends until, one day, the mother gets angry. The young girl is sad as they bring the cat to the middle of no where, drop it off, and leave, abandoning the cat. This broke my heart, despite it being a fictional video game and I didn’t like it at all.
This beginning is told through black and white pictures as well. There are no words or narration. There are no clues as to the motivation behind the mother wanting to get rid of the cat and abandoning it in the middle of no where. But, that’s where your story begins.
You, as the cat, are abandoned on the side of road and in the middle of no where. A cat named Coco appears and teaches you how to hunt and fight, two major skills needed to survive in the wild. Then he tells you about three colonies of cats – Forest Colony, Mystic Colony, and Mountain Domain. You can choose which you want to join and from there, you befriend cats from that colony.
As you go about your day to day life – hunting, fighting in battles over territory, and trying to woo eligible cats you can marry and have kittens with – Coco asks for your help. The Forest Guardian has disappeared and it’s up to you to help Coco bring him back. So, aside from going about your every day life, you must try to bring back the Guardian and essentially, save the forest.
You are a cat living in the wild. You can customize your fur color and eye color and give yourself a name. Once you choose a colony to live in, I chose the Forest Colony, then you begin living your life as a wild cat.
The days go by fast. The time mechanic reminds me a lot of how Harvest Moon works. Five minutes in-game seem to be 30 seconds to a minute in real time. The game goes through the four seasons, each season being about 10 days. This makes it so you can go through the seasons multiple times extremely fast. The seasons have their ups and down, though. For example, winter is the hardest season because prey is scarce and the lakes and streams are frozen over so you can’t even fish. Certain herbs don’t grow like Goldenseal, which helps heal you. I found it easiest to catch a lot of prey, pick a lot of berries, and stock up on healing herbs during the other seasons so I could use them during the winter time.
That is, until you get really good at your skills. Ending a day, picking herbs, battling, and catching prey earns you experience points. You can then use those experience to level up in hunting, fighting, foraging, and swimming. Plus, you can gain new skills such as calling allies to battle, killing in one blow, or “democracy” which allows you to get closer to the other colonies. Once you upgrade these skills and learn new ones, the game is a breeze.
There are many things you can do in the game aside from just catching prey and gathering herbs. You can dig through the mines and there’s a festival where all the colonies gather together at the Sacred Temple on day 10 of each season. These are mini-games in which you can earn tokens and trade them in for decor for your den, accessories for yourself, and other items. Instead of spending the tokens on things I need in-game, I saved up enough to get myself a “companion” from each season. So, my cat now has a pet turtle, dragonfly, ladybug, and butterfly following me around everywhere I go. They do nothing, but it’s cute.
You can also woo certain cats from each colony, mate with them, and have kittens. You have to build up your friendship and then build up your relationship before you can “marry” and have kittens. My cat hasn’t gotten the chance to become a parent yet, so I’m not sure how that experience will be.
Aside from just surviving, there are six pillars in the Sacred Temple, the one piece of neutral land that all the colonies gather to for a festival once a season. The pillars need certain items (mostly prey) to unlock. Once unlocked, the pillar will tell you where to go and there will be a puzzle that needs solving. Once the puzzle is solved, you’ll get a gem which is used to go inside that pillar. This needs to be done to bring back the Forest Guardian. I don’t know where he went, but he disappeared. Three of the pillars need the items and then certain areas in the forest will open up for you to go and solve the puzzle. The other three pillars, once they have their items, require you to get a key from each of the colony leaders.
This adds an extra step because while your colony leader trusts you and can get you right into the area, you need to get close to the other two colonies and allow those cats to trust you enough. There’s a lot of steps, but none of it seems too tedious.
Overall, there’s a lot to do in the game and I always find myself saying, “just one more day” to get through in the game before I turn it off for the day.
For being on the Nintendo Switch, the graphics aren’t at all what I expected them to be. They’re pixelated and the animations are very minimal. It reminds me of a handheld game or even a PC game that might be a little older. Still, the graphics are charming and it definitely works for the game. It looks nice both on the big screen and in handheld mode, though you can’t use the touchscreen when the game is in handheld mode.
The music isn’t bad either but it can go right through your head after a while. There are certain tunes depending on the time of day. At night, there’s silence. When the music is playing though, it just goes on a loop and can get old real quick. There’s no music when it rains or snows either, but the sound effects of the rain is soothing.
I have to be honest – this isn’t the best game I’ve played. When I first started playing it, I was slightly disappointed. However, it’s grown on me the more I play it and I want to see the game through to the end. I know I’ll be playing it until I beat the main story. After that? I’m not sure.
I know you can create your own custom colony, so maybe I’ll give that a go at some point. Either way, it doesn’t seem like there’s much to go back to once you beat the main story.
For me, I think I have feelings for this game more so for nostalgic reasons because it reminds me a lot of the Warriors book series – but again, this game has nothing to do with those books. I think it’s just merely a coincidence that they’re similar.
With that said, this game certainly isn’t everyone. But, if you enjoy cute cats and simulations games – even if you enjoy Harvest Moon – this wouldn’t be a bad game to try out.
4 out of 5 lives.