Cat Cafe Manager Review – Not Quite Paw-fect

Cat Cafe Manager Review

Cat Cafe Manager is a simulation game that allows you to run your grandma’s old business in Caterwaul Way. It is a simple storyline that brings together the residents of a small town, and you are at the center of it all. Developed by Roost Games, it is an incredibly cute and heartwarming experience. You get to adopt cats, run a cafe, and decorate your space. The concept is pleasant and the strategies are clever, but it doesn’t perform very well. There were noticeable glitches and slowdowns as the cafe got bigger and busier, making it harder to expand in terms of size. On the plus side, once Cat Cafe Manager is running up to speed (literally), the experience will be much more enjoyable.

Like most simulation games, you start from almost nothing and build from the ground up. New to town with nothing except a cafe your grandmother left behind, it is up to you to run the place by yourself. Through serving a variety of customers and bringing stray cats into your cafe, your actions begin to improve the lives of the townsfolk. Of course, you’re never really alone to fend for yourself. Certain side characters are always around to help out, too. They become your Regular customers whom you can call once a day. If you reach certain relationship levels with them, they give you actual decorations and cat lures. In return, you listen to their struggles and build their stories. 

A Paw-sitively Delightful Design 

As you are running a cat cafe, you begin by bringing strays home and serving patrons basic food and drinks. The in-game currency is unique as different groups of people will bring you different benefits. For example, fishermen pay you with fish, which is required for purchasing cat-related food and toys. Other groups will pay you in materials that you can trade for cafe furniture, ingredients for your dishes, and supplies to expand your cafe. If you are short on certain materials, you can advertise your cafe to specific groups of people and they will come the next day. Just remember to tailor your menu items to food and drinks that they love!

Not only are you tasked with running a cafe, but also to fix up the shrine and adopt stray cats. Helping with the shrine is a way for you to unlock things to improve your cafe. By working on these side quests, you can increase the number of staff to hire, unlock new furniture and recipes, and improve your cats’ lives. These tasks can only be unlocked if your relationship with your Regular customers reaches a minimum level, so it is important to maintain your friendships. 

You can also upgrade your own attributes and those of your staff. Some recipes require a minimum level of cooking to receive full customer satisfaction. Likewise, some customers may require your staff to have a higher service level to hold a satisfactory conversation. It isn’t hard to learn how to run your shop and there is always something new to do! Cats can gain levels as well, bringing other benefits to the cafe.

Glitches Make It Hard to Manage

Unfortunately, there are a lot of things that require improvement before Cat Cafe Manager can be thoroughly enjoyed. For one thing, there are so many glitches that prevent you from performing the actions you want. Taking your customers’ orders is hard because the action doesn’t pop up all the time. Sometimes you need to approach them at a certain angle before the action lights up. If you load a save and go back to where you left off, no customers will come into your cafe that day. Even if you decide to call a Regular customer to come visit, they will not show up. Their heart meter also stopped displaying halfway through the game, making it difficult to strategize who should come in. 

Once your cafe becomes a busy spot for the locals, the game starts to really slow down. Walking around is no longer smooth – probably because everyone around you is walking around too. The act of completing a task gets increasingly more difficult as it stops halfway. Cat bowls become impossible to refill because the actions simply stop popping up. The worst part is, it’s not because you’re bad at managing your cafe. Frustratingly, it’s the game not letting you do what you want to do. 

The decorating aspect of the game can be therapeutic but also frustrating. You can select a limited number of floor and wall details, laying each tile down one by one or opting to do this section by section. However, the game has frozen many times when I tried to update my restaurant by replacing a large section of my floor. I don’t think Cat Cafe Manager anticipated someone to update their restaurant this way, but if the option is available then it should be possible. 

Cat Cafe Manager is a work in progress that still manages to capture your heart. It was unfortunately riddled with small problems that ultimately led to an unplayable experience. Even though the cats were adorable and the characters were endearing, the poor performance made it difficult to see past completion.  The first few hours of gameplay are relatively stress-free, but as it progresses there are some complications that followed. Glitches, difficulty to perform actions, and laggy movements ultimately led to a frustrating gaming experience. Despite the fluffy cats and creative strategies, an update is needed to improve the game’s performance. After some improvements, it will definitely be a hit, but right now it’s not quite ready yet. 

***A Nintendo Switch code was provided by the publisher***

The Good

  • Good effort to reward system
  • Fun characters 
  • Lighthearted and simple game

The Bad

  • Hard to interact with game objects
  • Glitches prevent you from performing actions
  • Really laggy