Welcome to Susan Arendt's latest column on Pocket Gamer. In 2018 we've recruited the best writers and most experienced gamers in the industry and asked them to inspire us. Today Susan takes a look at the games of developer Runaway, and finds herself looking after animals of the sea, sky, and land...
Have you found yourself uttering deep sighs, lamenting how much battery is left on your mobile phone? Allow me to fix that for you. Reader, meet Furistas Cat Cafe, the game where you manage a cat cafe.
Look, I know I have a tendency to tell you about cat games, and maybe you're a dog person, or prefer chinchillas or whatever. I get it. But you have to pet these kitties and clean up their little dirty paw tracks and nurture them so people can spend longer cuddling them. I respect your theoretical preference for other furry creatures, but tell me you don't need that kind of positivity inbetween your forays onto social media.
People wander into your cat cafe and request a kitty with a certain personality, like one that's chill or one that's friendly. Pairing customers with their preferred kind of cat nets you extra hearts - the currency with which you buy baskets of upgrade goodies - but they'll take any ol’ purrface you have on hand.
Occasionally they'll also want a cup of coffee or tea, which you'll need to fix up for them. That's it. That's the entire experience. Every so often, a cat will feel a little neglected and you'll have to give them extra skritchies to cheer them up, but for the most part, you're a cat pimp, matching humans to felines for a pleasing bit of snuggling.
It's simple, delightful, and cute. Buy new decor for your cafe, like a plant or a comfy chair. Watch the kitties roll around or do that thing where they snooze with their face fully shoved into the cushion. (How do they breathe when they do that? Through their ears, right? Gotta be.) Pay attention to Furistas as often as you like; there's no penalty for not checking in at regular intervals. Your customers and cats will wait patiently for you to need a cuteness fix.
Ok, ok, FINE. You like the idea of tending to animals via phone, but you're just not a cat person. Might I then direct you to Splash, in which you help a turtle not entirely unlike Crush from Finding Nemo, who's trying to restore a reef to its former glory?
Splash is more fiddly than Furistas, in that you have to hatch fish, feed them, collect coins, and complete missions, but its fishies are faithfully rendered to colorful perfection. It's like having a very big, very glorious aquarium crammed into the confines of your phone screen, and if you want to learn more about our ocean denizens - which is the whole point of the game - you can.
You don't like fish, either? Alrighty, then.
pushes up sleeves, wipes brow
I've got one more for you: Flutter. Slightly more fiddly than Splash, even, and it leans harder into the educational aspect, but where else are you going to hatch, nurture, collect, and fuse butterflies? Nowhere, bucko, that's where.
Flutter's mechanics are more hands-on than either Splash or Furistas, as you have to attract eggs, hatch them, feed caterpillars, collect honeydew, and clear forest so your fluttering friends have room to move around, but that's also part of its appeal. It's hard not to feel invested in the little buggers after you've put so much effort into bringing them into the world, something Furistas makes perhaps a bit too easy.
All three games I've mentioned are from the same developer, Runaway, which clearly has a certain penchant for collecting and feeding adorable creatures. Maybe it'll do a dog groomer yet. "Tap to wash poodle."
I’d play it.
Read more of Susan Arendt's columns on Pocket Gamer, and find out more about Furistas Cat Cafe at the game's official site. If you're looking for more columns, then check out Harry Slater and Jon Jordan, who are always on-hand with sharp, tasty opinions too.