The Nintendo Switch is giving a number of indies a chance to shine on other platforms, and Cattails is one of them. Originally a Kickstarter success story for PCs, this is the first time the cat life simulation game is available on other platforms. It is a perfect fit for the system. Cattails is one of those adventures that follows in the footsteps of titles like Harvest Moon and Stardew Valley, allowing us to gradually improve our station day by day while completing quests and bonding with the other animals around us.
Our cat in Cattails begins as an ordinary housecat. They are purchased from a pet store for a little girl. However, her enraged mother takes both on a car trip one day and leaves the cat abandoned by the side of the road. The animal waits there, alone, uncertain about what just happened. Fortunately, they are found by a mystical cat named Coco that teaches them how to survive in the wilderness and offers to help establish them in one of three colonies. After you learn the basics and choose where to live, Cattails’ story begins.
There are different layers to Cattails. Initially, your job is to survive. Your cat starts out with no experience and weak fighting, foraging, hunting, and swimming skills and no food in their inventory. Their den is a one-room house with only a bed where you can save and sleep. Your first task is to just learn how to catch some animals and gather some helpful plants. You get experience for these tasks, and building a foundation is an important first step. Once you start to get some experience and put that into those four sorts of skills, you could begin participating in one of the two daily battles to extend or protect your colony’s territory. Or, after a few days, you could begin participating in the Forest Guardian restoration quests.
Getting the Forest Guardian back makes up the main “campaign” of a game where really, just enjoying daily life as a cat is usually the all you need to do. Coco takes you to the temple and shows you six pillars. Like Stardew Valley, each one needs a certain number of items offered to it. For example, the first pillar is the easiest and only requires one black hare, one rabbit, two squirrels, and three mice. But really, as long as you explore, level up your hunting skill, pay attention to the bugs around you, and keep your eyes open, it is very manageable. Part of the fun for me, early on, was taking enough time to accumulate at least five or six items that would be needed for pillars, then find my way back to the temple to turn them in.
It is the objectives that you set for yourself that can make Cattails the most fun. There are certain cats that are romance candidates and doing enough to earn their favor can be a fun task for a season. Maybe befriending a neutral cat is another activity you would enjoy. I spent a lot of time extending the Mystic Colony’s territory, so my kittens will have a space place to explore with me after they are born and grow strong enough to start venturing outside of the den. Participating in the seasonal festival minigames can be a fun way to earn an optional pet or more coat colors for a cat. I even made a point of working to befriend the other two colonies, so I could visit their shops. There is a lot to do, and you can get a good idea of how long each task will take as you play. Befriending a cat or gaining access to a colony will take a few play sessions, but you can easily expand colony territory in an hour or so.
Cattails lets us go through life as a cat, expand our colony’s territory, find a mate, help raise a troop of kittens and restore the Forest Guardian. It works so well on a system where you can play at a TV or on the go, as it is the perfect kind of game to play cuddled up in a blanket cocoon on a couch on a snowy day (like I did) either in one place or away from your TV. It is thoroughly pleasant and is one of those titles where you can play for one in-game day to make some progress or go through a few hours as you attempt to expand territory and complete quests.
Cattails is immediately available for the Nintendo Switch. It is also available for PCs.