Cat Cafe Manager – Just Cute Or A Fun Management Game?

Cat Cafe Manager

“Travel to the sleepy village of Caterwaul Way and rebuild your grandmother’s cat cafe. Renovate your restaurant, befriend the local cats and townsfolk, forge lasting friendships, unravel catty mysteries, and build a home for dozens of unique felines!”

Developer: Roost Games
Publisher: Freedom Games

Release Date: 14 April 2022
Platforms: PC, Nintendo Switch

In Cat Cafe Manager, you take over a property in the quiet village of Caterwaul Way which was left to you by your grandmother. The cafe needs serious work and you will be in charge of building it, expanding the menu and attracting and adopting cats.

Cat Cafe Manager – Official Trailer | E3 2021

Cafe Gameplay

During the day, customers will visit your cafe and order food. There are different types of customers: vagabonds, witches, artists, punks, fisherfolk and businesspeople. They will enjoy different types of furniture and decoration and will pay for their stay with different currencies. This means that you are managing six currencies at the same time, plus an affection system that acts as experience. Each currency allows you to purchase a particular type of item. For example, fisherfolk will pay you with fish, which you can only use to buy cat lures and furniture for your cats. Witches leave nectar which you can use to buy ingredients for your menu. You can choose which types of customers you want to attract by changing the advertising of your cafe with immediate effect.

When a customer enters your cafe, they will go to a chair and sit down. After a moment, they are going to request one of the food or drink items on your menu and you have to take their order. You can prepare orders using the kitchen items, while some types of food require a specific kitchen item. Finished orders can then be served to the customer. Some customers may want to chat, use the bathroom or decide to pet one of your cats during their visit. Happy customers will pay more for their stay, and their expectations increase over time.

I personally really enjoy cafe gameplay and it is a lot of fun to take orders, prepare them, and serve them. I do wish that customers had a bit more personality to them and that you could perhaps listen to snippets of their conversations or hear what they think about your service and your cafe. Serving can be a bit monotonous and at times stressful if a lot of customers want a meal that you don’t have the kitchen items or ingredients for at the time.

Building

Building your cafe is pretty simple. You can put floor tiles on the ground and they will automatically turn into a room with walls. You can change the design of the flooring and walls at any time. Your view on the cafe is through a fixed 2D perspective and while you can rotate items, you cannot rotate the camera view. Decorations can be placed from the same menu. Keep in mind that your kitchen area, seats, and toilets have to be accessible.

Building and decorating in Cat Cafe Manager is very simple and quick to do, but this also means a lack of options for those who like to build. There is no second floor, no basement, no patios or garden areas. Decoration items are so expensive that throughout the main game, you will probably not be able to pick and choose as you wish – you will just have to work with what you have and get as a gift by regulars.

Building a big cafe with a distinct style will take a lot of grinding and is probably not going to happen for you throughout the main game.

Shrines

The main objective of the game is completing the shrines you will be introduced to early on during gameplay.

There are 4 shrines to work on after finding them: Cats, Decoration, Food, and Service.

The shrines have to be completed in a linear order, going from left to right and following the white lines. You pick an upgrade you want to work on (check the requirements to see if you need to do anything else before starting but this will usually not be an issue).

Each tier has a delight requirement and delight works similar to experience. Happy customers give you delight and you can also gain larger amounts through giving a cat to a forever home. Once the delight meter is full, you will get a popup informing you of your rewards and you can immediately go to choose a new one.

I enjoyed completing the shrines and it feels like the pacing for completion is fine. However, I found myself not looking forward to the rewards that much. Unlocking items for your cats and decorations means that you have to purchase them, which I usually didn’t have the money for so I could never buy items right after unlocking them. Expanding your menu and having to buy ingredients was very stressful too, so I was anxiously working on the food upgrades, knowing that I will struggle to buy and serve these recipes. The service upgrades are great though, they allow you to hire staff from the notice board, which can run the restaurant for you. Staff can be upgraded and you can assign tasks to individual members of staff.

Caterwaul Way

These are the locations which are available to you early on in the game. The pet shop has items for your cats and lures to attract more, the carpenter has furniture and kitchen appliances for your cafe, the market sells ingredients and the notice board allows you to hire staff and give cats a forever home. The shrine can also be found in the forest. More locations will be accessible later.

The map of Caterwaul Way is easy to read and easily accessible. The art style is really cute and I appreciate the cosy and peaceful vibe. I would love it even more if you could see and go back to your cafe on the map.

Regulars

There are five regulars in Caterwaul Way, which can be invited to hang out in your cafe and which have their own storylines that you can unravel as the game goes on. Regulars are the only customers you can actually have conversations with.

Each regular represents one of the customer types that you can welcome in your cafe. Advancing the friendship meter with these characters will unlock bonuses and advanced requirements for their customer type.

Cats

You can attract cats using lures in a bowl outside of your cafe. When cats have arrived to enjoy the snack, you can pet one of them once to increase their trust towards you. Once the bar is full, you can adopt the cat and change its name, if you wish. Keep in mind that you can only have a certain amount of cats and need to re-home a cat before you can adopt another if your spaces are full.

The designs for the cats are all cute but in my opinion, there is very little to do with the cats themselves. You can pet them but this will not do anything for your game and as long as they have a cat bed and food, you will not hear much from them. Cleaning up their pee is probably the most common interaction. I also didn’t like as much that there is a set order that you will see the cats in, as every lure will only attract specific cats.

Is it worth it?

Cat Cafe Manager is a charming game with luke-warm cafe management and cat care systems. None of the things in this game are particularly difficult to achieve, but all of them will take a good chunk of time because you will have to grind for pretty much everything in this game. This is a cheap way to make it seem like there is more to do in this game than there actually is, in my opinion. I found myself constantly switching my advertising to “witches only” to get enough nectar to buy the ingredients I need to prepare what my customers want just to keep the cafe running. Saving up for a single furniture item can take multiple in-game days. The simple gameplay loop can, on the other hand, be appealing if you are just looking for a cute and relaxing game to play after work.

I was also very surprised that I ended up not caring about the cats that much, as I though I’d spend a lot of time to take care of them and ensuring that they are happy. Interactions with cats are pretty much non-existent, which was a massive bummer.

The NPCs in Caterwaul Way are cute and I liked following their stories and getting to know them better. This gave me a sense of belonging in the community and tied the whole experience together a bit better.

All in all, I am having a good deal of fun playing Cat Cafe Manager because sometimes, simple gameplay loops, grinding, and cute characters are my jam. I would not recommend buying this game while it is not on sale though.

Final rating: 💛💛💛🖤🖤

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *