Cat Cafe Manager by developer Roost Games is an adorable and casual cafe management game full of cats, decorating, and fun customers. You return to the little village of Caterwaul Way, home to your grandmother’s old cat cafe. You’ve recently inherited the place and it’s your job to renovate it to get it back up and running. Impress the locals with your business savvy, while befriending and caring for the local stray cat population. Even adopt out the cats to forever homes!
I really enjoy the visuals in Cat Cafe Manager. It looks like a hand drawn game, and the backgrounds and character designs all feel unique. They fit in with the sleepy little village vibes and enhance them, even. Every visual works together to create the cozy vibe that this game goes for. The cats are adorable, too. Plus, the main characters each have their own designs and personalities. The regular customers are just carbon copies of each other, which works for this game as they only serve to earn you money. Their designs are nice, though. You can tell who is a fisherman, a witch, and so on.
Cat Cafe Manager is a fairly short game, clocking in around 10-15 hours depending on your play style. It’s reminiscent of Diner Dash, which I played a ton of growing up, just without the time constraints. Instead of dashing around as fast as possible to appease customers and keep them happy, you can take your sweet time taking orders, preparing drinks and food, and delivering to customers. There’s no reason to rush around. Everyone is there to relax and enjoy their time. Plus, they want to hang out with the adorable cats you’ve collected. However, it is a bit grindy and repetitive. Day in and day out is filled with opening shop, serving customers, buying resources, rescuing cats, and upgrading the shrine’s upgrade trees. That’s it.
You get to lay out your cafe’s floorplan yourself, so you can create the perfect little space to suit your needs and design vision. It’s a nice touch to the game to give you almost total freedom from the get-go. Cat Cafe Manager also lets you decorate the space using several different sets of furniture and appliances. However, the decoration options are severely limited. I want spooky, moody wallpaper and flooring to match the harvest and vampire tables, but that doesn’t exist. It’s all up-beat and perky pinks and greens, which are perfect for a plant-heavy cafe, or there are other unsuitable colors. This type of game should be heavy on the decor options, especially when sets are a thing already. The sets should go all the way into walls, floors, etc.
Another element to Cat Cafe Manager is hiring staff to help you in the cafe. This is useful if you’re tired of running around taking orders, making items, delivering to tables, cleaning, and making friends with the local strays. The staff can be tasked with any of those things, taking a load off your plate. However, it really veers into idle game territory once you do that. There isn’t much need for you to do anything besides befriend cats and shop for necessities or decor when you have staff. So, if you’re looking to be more hands-on, don’t hire so many staff members, or any at all.
Overall, I did enjoy Cat Cafe Manager. I did struggle with keeping the desired items stocked so customers could order them, but that could just be a skill issue. The different types of customers are very well interconnected with the rest of the game, otherwise. Each type pays in a certain kind of money, which can then be used at specific shops in town. Having different types of currency added a level of necessary management that the game otherwise doesn’t have since it’s so laid-back. Sometimes the item collision boxes were annoying as they aren’t very apparent, but caused me to get stuck on tables and chairs that didn’t appear to be in the way.
What really got to me, though, was that upgrading the shrine in town didn’t visually appear to change anything. Cat Cafe Manager emphasizes that you’re restoring the shrine by running the cafe and adopting out cats, and does give you upgrade trees to buy into. However, it doesn’t ever visually look run-down, nor does it look improved as you “restore it”. That would have been a super satisfying addition to the game.
This game is cute, but not extremely engrossing. I give it: