Once a staple mainly in Japan, cat cafes are gradually appearing in other areas of the world. For example, in Chicago there’s the Catcade, a combination cat cafe and arcade. Now Roost Games is preparing a virtual experience with Cat Cafe Manager. You handle all elements of the business and even in an early build feels like it could get a bit involved.
As is common in so many simulation games, Cat Cafe Manager begins with an opportunity to start a new life. You’re given a chance to run a cat cafe in a town. Things started small in this build. A meager cafe with a few essentials were al I had. In fact, initially, I would only serve water. And you also begin with only one cat, with three initial ones being good with vagabonds and at least one other type of customer. In the case of the people here, there would be artists, people who fish, and witches.
Success relies upon knowing what you have available. Each kind of customer provides a different resource. For example, the artists provide jewels and the fisherpeople fish. You then use those to buy furniture from one store and things for cats from another. These increase the appeal of your cafe. Which could bring in more people and another kind of currency, delight. Delight is used at the shrine skill tree, which you can use to increase the amount of options available at your cafe and for caring for cats. You also want to make sure you pick furniture that is comfortable and enhances the interior. Not to mention, your kitchen needs proper appliances.
Even early on, it’s a cycle that feels like it is constantly feeding into itself and growing. If you do the task, you get resources that make you better at doing your job. You can become fancier or offer more. This gets you even greater variety. And, since you also need to cater to your community, this makes you better at it. Not to mention your NPC employees and cats will get better at their roles. They will level up as they do. This, in turn, will provide a chance to shape their stats and skills.
In a way, Cat Cafe Manager reminded me a bit of the Yakuza 0 hostess club simulation, which I mentioned to Roost Games Founder Rick Sorgdrager. He also noted he played it and that there was some influence. Given how different cats can appeal to different sorts of visitors, it makes sense. You’re considering your demographic to ensure optimal resources. And, like the Yakuza 0 minigame, stress and overwork can be an issue. As you start with one cat, until you collect more, they are under more pressure. Which means you might have to take time to pet them to ease their anxiety.
Some other things came up as I played and spoke with Sorgdrager. For example, there is no limit to how many cats you can have in your cafe. However, it is uncertain if Roost Games might add a means of managing how many you can have out at once or a place to store some you’ve adopted. In addition to normal cats, rare ones might show up. A meteorite was mentioned as a trigger for them. It also is a game where, if you need to step away from the cafe, you can. Sorgdrager described it as a “relaxing business sim,” so even if you go to a shop, you’ll come back and not miss anything.
Even after about a half hour of playing an early build, it feels like Cat Cafe Manager is the sort of game that will constantly offer goalposts and incentives to hit them. If you get certain amounts of resources, you’ll make cats and visitors happier. Which will then make you happier, because the money, specific materials, and resources you get from them will mean you can accomplish more. It seems like there’s already a solid gameplay loop in place, even at this point in development.
Cat Cafe Manager is in development for PCs.