Cat Cafe Manager is an indie game that allows the player to be teleported to the dream job of managing a cat cafe. In the village of Caterwaul Way, the main character arrives to fix up a small cafe that was left to them by their grandmother. At the start of the game, it is your job to construct your cafe along with everything else that a cafe would need. True to its name, the game also allows you to adopt your first cat to occupy the cafe and welcome in guests.
The gameplay has a similar feel to many other diner dash types of games. As the player you must rotate from taking orders, preparing them, feeding cats, and even cleaning up spills. A fun aspect of the game that made it feel more customizable was that you are able to decide on your menu and change up the cafe’s design to match your own style. The roster of visitors that enter the cafe keeps the game feeling fresh, and the dialogue with certain guests also removes from the mobile game feel. Another aspect that keeps the game fresh is the myriad of cats to rescue, and secrets about the village’s past to discover.
One major downfall of the game that I experienced was how slow paced the start of the game felt. After arriving and building the structure of the game it takes a great deal of time setting up the initial cafe and working to receive enough in-game currency to really customize your experience. At the start of the game, you build the base of the cafe but rely on the game’s currency system to unlock menu items, buy ingredients, and also purchase lures to invite more cats to the cafe. During the first half hour of the game I found myself wanting to skip ahead to when I could have multiple menu items and add more cats and furniture to my cafe. By the time I had collected enough in-game currency to afford these items, I found myself already losing interest in investing additional time into customizing my cafe more. The balance between grinding for in game currency and spending time furthering your cafe and menu seem off.
Although there is a slow start, the game’s simplicity and overall charming style are a great combination. The color palette used along with the lofi beat soundtrack created a very relaxing setting. Even in-game angry customers that were unsatisfied with the cafe for one reason or another didn’t ruin the soft relaxed feeling that the game conveys. Cat Cafe Manager is an aesthetic cat cafe simulator for both an avid gamer and someone who is simply interested in a cat cafe that they can fill with as many cats as they can. Along with creating your perfect cafe, the game encourages players to share photos of their cafe and choices on their discord community. Overall the game offers endless options to run your very own cafe.
Cat Cafe Manager released on April 14th 2022 on Steam and Nintendo Switch.