How cute and how curious the calico that Nintendo made way for in its Indie World Showcase at the end of 2020. And a few minutes later he was already in the eShop, waiting for new entrepreneurs who would be encouraged to take over the reins of a cat café and start losing and be able to restore all its splendor. The new Peachy Keen Games Studio got our full attention, but still had to earn our respect.
What a disappointment to see that the operation of the premises was not entirely manual. Customers stop by the store from time to time to buy something, but you don’t have to be there at that moment as there are no simulation mechanics. When it hit Indie Direct, it seemed to get a lot, or at least a little more complex. You’d have a better time setting prices, creating a well-balanced menu, or decorating with style to keep your clientele going.
But no, the gameplay here is practically limited to chatting with the people in the city and completing the missions they have commissioned. These are errands that are repeated frequently and almost always involve a single task, e.g. B. to create a recipe or to get a new piece of furniture for the facility. I’ll admit that the dialogue was fun and that the characters have their touch, but being their messenger is very boring and following clear directions is absolutely no challenge.
At the very least, Calico gives you access to a good repertoire of objects that you can have the lovely cafeteria with. They are divided into themes like fear, clouds, monkeys … and under the ordinary tables, chairs and beanbags they have also placed cat beds, toys and other decorative elements with a feline touch. As the orders are completed, the list of items grows which, in the end, is the real reason to pay attention to people and move the reward forward.
Because in the creative part, this study goes well. They chose a representation that is somewhat reminiscent of the PS2 Okami, which says a lot, and they applied it carefully to a map that breathes visual diversity and cohesion between areas. The original area is a cherry blossom town, then there is a slope of a mountain covered with plains, and you can even get to a town where anthropomorphic cats live. And their melodies are a final price.
The announcement highlighted an aspect that stays in the background later during the game and that is the ability to befriend animals and invite them to be part of the business. There is also a mini-game based cooking area where you shrink and start tossing ingredients into a bowl in front of you. It’s entertaining at first, but since it doesn’t evolve it soon gets tired. Furthermore, there is no challenge here as there is no time limit and if you fail the start you will be considered good.
But the worst thing about calico is that it seems run down and even a little broken at times. There are constant frame rate slowdowns and silly glitches, like when some animals easily get stuck in the area. Once the “Next” button in the main menu didn’t work for me and the backup files were missing the date and time. Since there is no autosave and you cannot choose a slot in the manual, this is a mess. In fact, I came to the conclusion that nothing was saved at all.
It may be a very original concept and that is appreciated, but it has flaws on all sides and that is not forgiven. Beyond appearances, a game that is not what it seems seems overly simplified and simple, in which you can’t do too many things and the ones you do are repetitive. The decor and looks alone keep the spirit a bit high, but the rest of Calico doesn’t recommend it.