My grandmother called. She wants me to take over her cat cafe, in the countryside village of Caterwaul Way. I’ll do it gladly, in the latest project from Roost Games: Cat Cafe Manager.
Cat Cafe Manager is a relaxing business sim. There are plenty of cats to meet, friendly clients to chat with, and even an old legend to uncover. Not going to lie, this business sim is more pleasure than business. My little cat cafe is just getting set up, and it already attracts stray cats and clients.
Each cat has their own personality and will appeal to a specific client type. Just as in Pokemon, we can choose our starter cat from a list of three available.
Managing a cat cafe is easier than I thought. Sure, there are cats and clients to please, new recipes to learn, and staff members to manage. But Cat Cafe Manager makes it surprisingly easy to handle. I spend more time watching the cats mingle with Caterwaul Way residents than actually worrying about my cafe cash flows.
My main concern is choosing which stray cat I will adopt. Should I go for the white diva, the food-based black hole disguised as a cat, or the playful little gremlin?
My first cat in Cat Cafe Manager is called Missy. She is a sweet furball that loves lounging and massages. According to her description, she will attract Vagabonds and Artists. It is time to add more tables and chairs to our cat cafe. And probably a litter, too.
“The most difficult thing in Cat Cafe Manager is to make sure that cats don’t pee on the floor,” jokes Rick Sorgdrager, co-founder of Cat Cafe Manager developer Roost Games. “So get plenty of litter boxes! If you have a bunch of cats and not enough litter boxes, you are consistently going to have to clean pee off the floor. And nobody wants that.”
A fine morning, Carla-Lalla comes into our cafe. She is neither a Vagabond nor an Artist, Missy’s favorite kind of human. It doesn’t matter: even if Carla-Lalla is the representative of the Witches, she will still pet our lovely white cat.
A mysterious cat shrine in the woods
As our cat cafe is starting to make a name for itself, a new, unusual resident of Caterwaul Way makes their entrance. It is Grimalkin, a talking black cat that seems to have lived already more than seven lives. He let us know that a mysterious cat shrine lies in a nearby forest. So we put down our cup of tea, leave Missy and Carla-Lalla to get to know each other, and head to that secret shrine in the woods.
The shrine works as a talent tree, and gives players objectives that will unlock new things in Cat Cafe Manager when completed. There are four different categories, each boosting a specific aspect of the game. Completing missions unlocks new features and furniture for our cozy cat cafe. Missy is going to have more friends, and maybe even a new scratch post.
“While there are challenges in the game, we don’t want Cat Cafe Manager to ever be stressful,” Sorgdrager says. “The biggest challenge is for you to decide when you want the game to be more challenging, by upgrading the shrine’s levels. It is solely up to you, and the game will never punish you for not meeting one of the objectives.”
Cats. Cats everywhere.
Carla-Lalla has her own little shop in town, where she sells various lures for stray cats. Each lure attracts a different kind of cat, appealing to a specific category of clients. To adopt a new cat, we need to put lure outside our cafe a couple of times, to build enough trust for the cat to follow us inside. But cats are not the only ones coming at the door.
“My favorite cat is not a cat at all,” Sorgdrager said. “It’s a raccoon called Mingus that sneaks into your cafe and just pretends to be a cat. And everybody just accepts that Mingus is a cat, even if he obviously is not a feline at all.”
— Cat Cafe Manager (@roostgames) April 1, 2021
“There are some very rare and mysterious lures to find as well,” Sorgdrager adds. “You can only imagine what kind of cats you will lure in with a piece of fallen meteorite. There are some legendary cats out there to be found that are probably a little bit weirder than what you might expect.”
I hope they are really weird, because I intend to find, pet, and adopt all of them.