Cat Story is an odd little Windows Phone 8 game that sends you to an imaginary world filled with a wide range of interesting characters you must help build a new life. Game play is a mixture of time management, puzzle and scavenger hunt styles.
The cast of characters in Cat Story have been shipwrecked on an uncharted island and a collection of quests to find all the survivors along with building a new community awaits. Cat Story is a well animated Windows Phone 8 with plenty of puzzling missions to tackle. The only concern is that game flow structure is a little loose and you often find yourself going with the flow.
Cat Story Layout
Cat Story lacks a main menu and from the opening screen credits that appear as the game loads, you jump right into game play.
The gaming screen has your vital statistics lining up across the top of the screen (experience level, gold count, crystal count, food count) and various gaming controls spaced out along the sides and bottom corners of the screen.
As best I can tell the gaming controls are as follows:
- In the bottom right corner you will find controls to view your inventory, sections of the map collected during missions, a button to hide the controls, a button to access the settings, and a mystery button with house on it.
- In the bottom left corner are controls to access the game store, view your achievements, access your building tools (used to construct houses, gardens, fish camps, etc), and two buttons I’ve yet to figure out.
- Along the left side of the screen are icons representing open challenges or missions.
- Along the right side are icons representing special in-app purchase offers that become available for a limited time only.
Game settings cover sound/music on or off, a screen magnification button and a screen capture button.
There isn’t a help section available for Cat Story but the game does a decent job of walking you through game play with a series of dialog screens and pop-up arrows. Still, I wouldn’t mind seeing a reference section that, at the very least, covers the game screen layout.
The game screen is touch navigable and zoomable. I have to admit the game screen does feel cluttered with all the controls present. Luckily you do have the ability to hide the control displays to give the game screen a little more elbow room.
Game play has plenty of quests for you to tackle. As you begin the game, you’ll be taken through a series of tutorials to get you accustomed to game play. From there the game is more of casual feel, discovering new quests as your stumble upon them. If you are looking for a structured game where you take on gaming levels in a particular order, Cat Story isn’t for you. While there is some method to the madness, game play has a more “go with the flow” feel.
The objective to Cat Story is to find all your fellow castaways that survived the shipwreck and build a new community to live in. Along the way you’ll meet native inhabitants to the island who will have their own quests for you to take on.
Quests often include multiple challenges and do have plenty of hints (usually in the form of large arrows that appear on the screen) to get you pointed in the right direction. Quest will range from scavenger hunts to building structures. When completed, you’ll earn experience, coins and sometimes crystals. The latter two can be used to buy items from the game’s store.
Along with the quests you will have to maintain a supply of food and building materials. You can collect these items by tapping on berry bushes, trees and large boulders. Some items will have an icon floating overhead illustrating what can be gained. At some point in the game you will build gardens that are a great source of food.
Your food inventory needs to remain moderately high because every task requires food (energy of sorts) to accomplish. For example, it takes one unit of food to cut down a tree.
Often quests require you to build a new structure, be it a thrift shop to sell items you create or a Fisherman’s House to produce fish for the chowder you can cook from the kettle you build. Here is where the game takes on a SIM City feel to it and you’ll need to plan out your building placement carefully or you will run out of room quickly. You may have to clear out trees, boulders and other items to open up enough free space to build on.
Eventually, Cat Story’s quests will have you locating your fellow cats. If you need to see how many friends are still lost, just tap on the sunken ship that sits towards the top of the game map.
The more I played Cat Story, the more the game grew on me but it took a while to root. Game play does have a Sim City feel to it where you have to build up your island community. Animations and illustrations are well done and the puzzles within the quest can be challenging. You also have a time management aspect to game play to keep your inventory of goods up and production facilities (such as the Fisherman’s House) in operation. There is plenty to keep you busy with Cat Story.
I do wish there was a help or reference section with Cat Story. While there are plenty of pop-up windows and tutorial screens available, a game as involved as Cat Story should have at least a reference section to fall back on.
Speaking of the game’s graphics, I like how the game screen will change with the time of day, various weather conditions and animations from some of the characters when tapped. All these little hidden gems help keep Cat Story from growing old too quickly.
All in all, Cat Story is nice addition to the Windows Phone 8 gaming library and worth a try. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea but it may surprise you.
Cat Story is a free game that is available for Windows Phone 8 devices (except low-memory devices). You can pick up your copy of Cat Story here in the Windows Phone Store.