Cat Cafe Manager Review

Release Date
April 14, 2022
Developed By
Published By
Freedom Games
Nintendo Switch, PC via Steam

The aptly named Cat Cafe Manager is a simulation game about managing a cat cafe. Gameplay consists of decorating your cafe, adopting cats (can’t forget the cats!), fulfilling orders, forming relationships with the townspeople, and repairing the town’s shrine. Roost Games decently blends these concepts together in Cat Cafe Manager for an enjoyable experience.

Story wise, players arrive in Caterwaul Way expecting to take over Grandma’s cafe. Instead there is an empty field, a neglected cat shrine, the shrine’s Grimalkin guardian, and a handful of local characters. The story does some great things in this game. Naturally, story serves as a device introducing the faceless protagonist named Hawkable. The story also serves the role of a brief tutorial. Story, however, shines at character development and touches on topics that emulate real life concerns over time.

Players have to call town regulars to visit the cafe to build friendship. As time passes and relationships grow, topics change from how the cafe food is trash to seIf-worth, uncertainty about the future, and communication with customers. Arwel has strong food opinions. It comes out that Bonner has a husband and Mateo collects hobbies. Is the story needed? No, managing a cat cafe is reason enough a premise to play without the extra worldbuilding and character depth. The story is a fun addition though and ties nicely into the game play.

The core gameplay loop consists of three main parts. Part one is your cats and you will on a daily basis place a lure to attract new cats.  Then you pet the cats that have shown up and eventually adopt them into your cafe when you have gained enough trust. Later on you can adopt these cats out to the local community by finding their fur-ever home. You will then feed your cats and clean up after them. Expect to deal with a lot of pee when the cats are unhappy or improperly litterboxed, this is all a part of maintaining your cafe comfort levels. Why do you put up with all of this? Well it’s a game about managing a cat cafe for one reason, but also your cats have traits that will cause your customers to give you more rewards.

Part two is caring for your customers. The core gameplay loop here is the customer comes in then demands you make things and you fulfill that demand. Ideally they leave happy with what you’ve made them and give you rewards to power the town’s barter system. This will get you more ingredients to service more customers to get more ingredients. There is a strategy here to not acquire recipes as quickly as possible in order to keep customer demands reasonable. Certain customer tasks will be presented with an exclamation point which means only you can service them, not your staff members, which adds a bit of time management and plate spinning to the fairly low-key demands of the game.

Part three and our final piece of the core gameplay loop is managing your cafe. You can advertise to attract certain customers which you can tailor to the ingredients you have available. This allows you to set a menu that they will find agreeable. There is a notice board that you can go to that has staff to hire. Staff will all have various skills and flavor text differentiating them from one another.

Additional training can be done through a menu for the staff and will allow you to unlock new skills for them. Then you have the tasks related to owning a business: stocking ingredient by bartering at the market, repairing the kitchen as it deteriorates over time, and chatting with customers to build relationships and keep them coming back. The meat of the flavor of the game is in chatting with the customers.

All of this is in service to and serviced by repairing the shrine which serves as both goal and skill tree. Your cafe generates “Delight” in the town which acts as experience for the shrine which will then unlock new skills. The new skills can then help progress the storyline.

There are a few gripes surrounding controls. Controls are easy to grasp and suit the genre fine, but, they do not feel intuitive. The Y button is primarily the execute command opposed to more familiar  A and B use in other games. Selection can be problematic, dependent on character position, sometimes wiggling and a prayer is needed to serve the right customer. Menu and shops are the exception and work well in their list format and exemplify the clean and friendly UI. PC players may have a different experience using a mouse and keyboard set up.  

Some other noticeable problematics are tasks completed at the same time in regards to regular characters and shrine tasks. If a shrine task completes, and a regular chats at the same time it seems they interrupt each other. Possibly the engine tries to prioritize them both at the same time and fails. The chat prompts remain when back at the cafe and a new shrine task can be selected but can leave a moment of confusion. Pregame load time is weirdly long. The quirky loading text is fun, but the extra blank screen between it at the title can give the feeling of a console error if not expecting it. Not a deal breaker for play, as in game loading is minimal. 

Cat Cafe Manager overall, despite minor flaws, is a fun simulation. Play pace is set by the player, go slow and have a cozy time rescuing local cats or challenge yourself with a more strategic approach by trying to maximize results.


Cat Cafe Manager Review
Cat Cafe Manager Review
Cat Cafe Manager is a fun cafe simulation game with a mystical twist. The game features endearing characters to befriend while restoring the local shrine and rescuing stray cats.
Well paced play
Fun characters
Cute art style
Clean UI
Preloading time
Selection control