Calico (Switch, PS4, Xbox One, PC)

Open up and run your very own cat café in a magical land in Calico.  But what is a cat café?  Well, apparently they exist in real life and are just restaurants where they let cats roam freely in it for you to watch and pet.  Sounds fun, but I can’t imagine how they keep from getting cat hair in your food!  Anyway, Calico is a laid back, relaxing kind of game that has aspects from other titles like Harvest Moon and Animal Crossing.  It’s available on nearly all current game consoles, but reviewed on Switch here.

The first thing you’ll do is create your lady character.  I have to say, I was pretty impressed with the character creation mode in this game.  It’s almost as robust as ones found in games like Soul Calibur, so that’s pretty good!  After a brief tutorial, you’re all set to get started on your cat café!  Graphics are presented in a 3-D, cel-shaded style, and I liked them quite a bit.  Some have complained about graphical bugs like clipping, but eh, it didn’t really bother me.

You can decorate your café with furniture you either buy or get from doing favors from people in town.  To earn money to buy furniture and food recipes, you can either do favors or prepare food in your café (more on that in a bit).  You can also fill your café with animals, too!  And not just cats, but birds, dogs, raccoons, and much more.  To have an animal be in your café, all you have to do is approach it, pick it up, and give it a command to follow you or go to the café.  You can also pet animals and play with them using toys.

The world you live in is magical, and the residents all use some form of magic.  You can use magic to prepare food in a weird way.  To make food, you shrink down and walk around the counter, picking up ingredients and throwing them into a basket.  When you have all the right ingredients, throw the completed food on the tray and eventually an unseen person will come by and buy it and you’ll earn money.  You can also use potions to do things like make animals grow huge, and then you can ride on their backs to get around and break through barriers.  Yeah, it’s a little weird.  There are always objectives and missions to do, so you’ll always have something going on.

Calico does have a few problems, though.  One is the controls.  Basic actions like running and jumping are fine, but others aren’t so explicit in the tutorials and a bit cumbersome to perform.  For instance, to give a command to an animal, you must first pick it up, and press the L trigger button to bring up a list of commands.  But it’s not very clear when you select a command if it triggered or not.  Throwing objects in the cooking game is hit or miss as well, and there are other control quibbles, too.  The only other problem I had with the game is that it’s a bit slow-paced.  And I love games like Animal Crossing, so you know how that must be!  There are a lot of fetch quests and locating certain animals can feel like finding a needle in a haystack.  But if you like the idea of this game, it might be worth checking out if you want a cute, laid-back experience with a tinge of weirdness.

Kid Factor:

Nothing violent or objectionable here.  Reading skill is a must for the text.  I think very patient kid gamers would really like it, though.  Calico is rated E for Everyone.

One Response to “Calico (Switch, PS4, Xbox One, PC)”

  1. Between cel shading, cats, and Soul Calibur like character creation, this sounds right up my alley! Now, I’m curious! I’ll spend at least $9 on it!

    Plus, it turns one little section of Yakuza 6 into its own game.

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