Cattails is an RPG in which you play as a cat as you roam through the wilderness, romance one of sixteen eligible cats, raise a family, hunt mice, squirrels… the works! Learn more in our Cattails review!
Falcom Development originally took Cattails to Kickstarter back in 2017, seeking to secure the funding needed to complete the development of the game. They managed to reach the funding goal, and after releasing on Steam, the game has now found its way to the Nintendo Switch, updated to included all the extra content released for the Steam version.
You are one of many kittens in a pet store, ready to be taken home by a human. After a little girl picks you up from the store, you will take on a new life, playing with her, eating and having fun. Unfortunately, the girl’s mother is not happy about her daughter spending so much time playing with a cat and having so much fun, so she takes the cat out of the house in their car, only to leave it behind on the side of the road during a particularly rainy night.
Once you have selected your difficulty setting (which you can later change if needed), you will get to create your kitty! You can name it, select its color form the six available options, and select the color of its eyes from the thirteen available options, giving your cat its own look and feel, and it is this cat that you will take control off as you try to help it survive in the wild.
You will be found by Coco, who will come to your aid, showing its support. You will be given a short tutorial about moving your character around with the left analog stick or the D-Pad, and on interacting with others with the A button. You will also learn about how to forage. Your first task will thusly be to find some Goldenseal to bring it back to Coco. Once you grab one, go back to Coco, open your inventory with the Y button, select the Goldenseal, and give it to him!
While your cat can eat some plants, such as berries and licorice, to stay healthy, you will need to catch and eat some prey if you want to stay alive. If you end up being hungry and don’t eat, you will lose health over time. To catch, say, a mouse, you will need to hold down the ZL button so that you can sneak closer to it without the mouse noticing you. Once you’re close enough, you can pounce with the ZR button to deal the killing blow. Once you’ve defeated the mouse, collect it and bring to Coco to complete this objective.
Next up you will learn about spending experience points on your skills in the Skills Panel. There are passive skills you can upgrade with your experience points, such as hunting which is used for finding, tracking and killing prey, fighting which improves your attack damage and speed, swimming which is needed to float atop bodies of water, and foraging which is used for locating herbs, flowers, and berries out in the wild – it will also affect how effective plants are when used to heal and invigorate your cat.
There are also active skills to unlock. Your first active skill, sprint, will be given to you by Coco for free. Others need to be unlocked by spending your experience points. There is wild slash, which calls forth your feral roots, allowing you to unleash a big slash that packs a punch, lion’s roar, which forces enemies to flee in terror after hearing you, heal allies, which allows you to heal nearby allies over a period of time, or study prey, a skill that allows you to examine your prey so that you can see their radius of detection while you’re sneaking or walking normally.
There are three factions in the game, and you will need to play your cards right to earn their favors. There is the Forest faction, in which you can commence your adventure as your default setting after being helped by Coco, the Mountain faction, and the Mystic faction. The other two you can select by talking a bit more with Coco about the available options for your journey. If you want to gain access to the other two, you should keep in mind that a gift (or two!) always goes a long way.
As you collect coins (called mews, because of course they are), you will be able to use them to purchase a wide variety of things from the shopkeeper. You can purchase food (mouse, dove, rabbit), herbs (goldenseal, marigold, valerian), new fur colors (I hear calico is this season’s hot item), or accessories for your cat. Mews can also be used to pay for the services of a healer who can treat your wounds, either with a small dose that will give you a small boost or a big dose that can fully heal you.
There are different tasks for you to complete, and you can check them in the aptly named task board. After accepting a quest, you will be able to view your progress by taking a look at the world map. Tasks have a specific set of objectives to complete, and you must do this within a certain time limit to be properly rewarded for your efforts. You can use the task tokens you collect to trade them for items, experience, mews, equipment, or even some new color patterns for your cat.
As I mentioned in the intro to this review, you can romance one of sixteen eligible cats. To do this, you must increase your friendship level with each potential partner, which you can visualize by checking out the stars under their name when you talk to them. You can also boost your friendship level with the cats you don’t end up pursuing as your potential partner. You will notice which cats could be “the one” by checking if they have a heart when you have a chat with them.
Cattails is a fun action RPG adventure on Nintendo Switch that does some interesting things while remaining true to what other entries in the genre have done before it. The fact that it features a cast of cats as its characters instantly gives it bonus points, but beneath said novelty there is a solid experience that offers a fun battle system in which you will help your faction increase its hold over every square of the map, a skill tree with different skills to bump up your awesomeness and overall performance, and even a digging mini-game in which you can befriend a mole that will trade you mole cash for all the stuff you find from the hundreds of rocks you can destroy in the game’s mine. So if you’re into cats and the action RPG genre, be sure to give Cattails a go!
This Cattails review is based on a Nintendo Switch copy provided by Falcon Development.