Cat President – a More Purrfect Union – Visual Novel PC Game Review

I received this game for free in exchange for writing an honest review. I played through Frisky’s route and received his Normal Ending.

Frisky Lives Up to His Name
Frisky Lives Up to His Name

Title: Cat President

Genre: Otome Visual Novel

Platform: PC

Developer: Oh a Rock! Studios

Where to Buyhttp://store.steampowered.com/app/474980

tomcat

Geeky: 3/5 – On the fence with this score… Production values are fairly low and it shows, also not much “gameplay” as is the nature of visual novels. But it does earn a few points for geeky internet “meme-like” humor.

Sweetie: 5/5 – High marks for being an otome game (a game with a female protagonist) and for having cute cats. Also has pretty good character development and surprisingly good writing.

love confession from a cat?!
love confession from a cat?!

Concept: 8/10 Cat President is an otome game in which you get to help one of 6 different cat candidates (spoiler: one of them is a dog) become the nominee of their political party. You might also fall in love with your chosen candidate by the end of the game. Like most visual novels there is little to do aside from click and read. I like this genre of games a lot, but if you’re not used to this format, it may not be your cup of tea. On the plus side, Cat President takes a fun, whimsical, and light hearted approach to the visual novel genre. Most of the routes are short (around 2 hours each). There are multiple endings including normal, good, and bad endings which adds some more replay time. If you get all of your desired endings in one try, I estimate this game will take 12-15 hours to complete. Because of the light hearted nature, and short length of this game, it may be a purrfect game to give visual novels a try. However, if you’re a visual novel veteran, you might be disappointed by the “fluffy” nature of the plot, or by the somewhat amateur artwork, especially given the lack of poses of each sprite.

Pretty Sure This is The weirdest Line Of Dialogue I've Ever Read in A Game
Pretty Sure This is The Weirdest Line Of Dialogue I’ve Ever Read in A Game

Story: 9/10 You play as a young girl who has been out of work for some time when she decides to attend a debate with her best friend and you are called upon to give a question to the candidates. You mention how you’ve lost your job and want to know how the candidates will help people like you. They all have the purrfect answer, by offering you a spot on their campaign team. These are no ordinary candidates however, as they are all cats (and a dog). This is how the game opens. The backstory explains that politics became so corrupt 20 years ago that humans are no longer allowed to hold any type of political office. It’s also eluded to pretty early on that cats can (and most do) become human (if they can afford it). Although the story does take itself lightly, and has some genuinely WTF moments, it’s not without more serious and delicate moments as well such as relationship drama, political scandals, and very likeable characters who have very human-like flaws. I was very surprised by how relateable the characters felt to me. I could see qualities in them and in myself, in my cats, and surprisingly most of all, in my past relationships with other humans.  I went into this not expecting much other than comedy, so I was really surprised when I felt myself identifying with or nodding in understanding/agreement with many of the characters and situations in this game. Plus, if you like comedy (who doesn’t like comedy right?) and even more-so if you like cats, and are familiar with the internet memes, then you will really appreciate the humor in this game.

Characters with Real Feelings and Emotions Help Drive the Story in Cat President
Characters with Real Feelings and Emotions Help Drive the Story in Cat President

Gameplay: 5/10 – Unfortunately, as is the nature of visual novels, there’s really no “gameplay” per say, however the game does have all of the basic functions one expects in a visual novel such as being able to review different scenes or endings and gallery items. It does feature a lot of different endings and have high replay value. I’m not really so much of a fan of the “choose which route you want at the begining of the game” it seems to me only cheap “mobile games” use this mechanic, while “real” visual novels like Clannad for example, let you dip in and out of different characters’ routes, so you might experience different parts of the game each time you play. Locking into a route right out of the chute, limits then which stories and experiences you can enjoy in each play through. I’ve noticed this mechanic becoming increasingly popular, but I’m just not a fan of it. I like the “challenge” in trying to get with the guy (or cat in this case) that I want to be with, and putting me on his route right away takes away this challenge, and therefore, in my opinion, diminishes the fun a little bit for me.

Make Choices to Help Your Cat Become the next President or Fall in Love
Make Choices to Help Your Cat Become the next President or Fall in Love

Graphics: 5/10 – This is probably my biggest complaint with this novel. The game could have been really “cute” I think if it had “anime” style drawings for the characters and cats in the game, similar to Dandelion Wishes Brought to You, or other Otome games featuring cats and animals. The photographs of the cats are cute, but my biggest complaint is they are COMPLETELY static, they needed to have more photos in different poses, or different expressions. As a cat lover and owner, I find my own cats and those we watch on youtube etc to be extremely expressive. These static sprite images don’t capture much emotion or charm of these cats. They could have used different poses or angles, or tried to get their cats to be more expressive for some of the shoots (but well cats do what they wanna do so I understand maybe it was more difficult lol). I did critique the artwork when I left a brief steam review, and I was told that it was intentional to be more humorous and fit the theme and feeling of the game, and also because the creator wanted to include his friends’ real life cats. I did write back and suggest maybe just adding some more varied photos/poses would help – but I still think anime, ultimately is the way to go – it’s what the target audience wants, and what we expect. I am not a “graphics whore” – and I play all sorts of indie games (sprite based etc) and retro 8 bit and 16 bit games — but with a Visual Novel, the art work becomes highly important, because you don’t have that “gameplay” you need the artwork to help tell the story, hence the name “VISUAL” Novel, right? So the art was disapointing, if for no other reason, than it felt too still / stiff and wasn’t emotive or expressive. Although the writing was full of charm and did a great job defining the characters, the art didn’t help draw out that charm in any way.

Cute Kitties but Very "Stiff" Feeling Artwork due to lack of poses and expressions. Also the "light" being from different angles when the cats are together like this can make the artwork feel disjointed and mashed together.
Cute Kitties but Very “Stiff” Feeling Artwork due to lack of poses and expressions. Also the “light” being from different angles when the cats are together like this can make the artwork feel disjointed and mashed together.

Music: 6/10 – Music “gets the job done”, the main track is Hail to the Chief, the official presidential anthem of the USA. It’s really the only track I remember hearing consistently throughout, but I do remember hearing different tracks, including a vocal track even, but they’re ultimately not very memorable. The good news is, since each route is short, they can get by with a very limited number of music tracks, and the music itself does its job by providing background noise while not distracting or detracting anything from the focus of the story.

Frisky Loves the Ladies
Frisky Loves the Ladies

Replay Value: 10/10 – The replay value is exceptional here due to there being 6 dateable candidates, and each one having multiple endings. The characters are also diverse enough that each route feels like a fun and unique experience. The relatively short nature of each route makes multiple playthroughs easy and enjoyable.

Is there an ending where Frisky becomes human? Must play more to find out!
Is there an ending where Frisky becomes human? Must play more to find out!

Overall: 51/70 73% “C Good Game for Girls” – If you love games like Hatoful Boyfriend, and love cats, furries,  internet humor, memes, youtube, or just want a fun, light hearted visual novel with great characters and a surprisingly warm and touching, though ultimately hilarious story, then you need to check out Cat President – a More Purrfect Union.

Cat President – a More Purrfect Union – Visual Novel PC Game Review was originally published on Geeky Sweetie

Rogue State Indie PC Game Review

In the interest of transparency and full disclosure, I received this game for free along with another game, “Dungeon Souls”, in order to do a review (of Dungeon Souls) which I still need to do (Dungeon Souls is pretty difficult, I’d like to not be a complete newb when I record a video for it. – Look for some gameplay footage of Dungeon Souls next weekend along with a write up of the game.) I was not asked to review Rogue State, but I spent much of today and lastnight playing it, and I really enjoy the game, so I thought I’d tell my readers about it since it seems like the type of game they would enjoy too :) All opinions expressed within this review are my own.

Title: Rogue State

Publisher: Little Red Dog Games

Genre: Political Simulation

Platform: PC

Where to Buy: Steam

Geeky

Sweetie

Overall: 63/80 79% C+ “Good Game for Girls”

Concept 10/10: You have been put in charge of leading a newly independent nation. You must balance the interests of different party members, your cabinet, foreign and internal government officials, and the general population. Unfortunately, your brother seeks to undermine your success and take power for himself; however he is too popular with the people to be denied a position in your government. You must decide which sacrifices to make in order to minimize the damage that your brother creates.

Gameplay 10/10: Time passes as you build infrastructure, train your troops, create new policies, or call upon your neighbors and allies. You can raise taxes to get income but this will lower the support of your people. You can use a series of sliders to adjust your stance on many different policies trying to strike a balance between preserving your culture and heritage, but also progressing and building a profitable and sustainable future for your nation.

One of the interesting things is that your cabinet members, allies and neighbors are all randomly generated; so sometimes you’ll have a wide mix of conflicting political beliefs, and other times you’ll find less diversity.

As you make new policies, new opportunities for bigger and better policies will unfold. You can also visit the situation room and work on improving your military, invade your bordering nations, or undergo massive research projects which require a lot of capital and time but produce big benefits and earn you more support if successful.

Almost always at some point, your brother will try to overthrow you; depending on how happy the different political factions are, and also depending on how much you’ve researched and advanced, you will be able to successfully defend his onslaught.

Other things like the recession of the economy of the united states, or various natural disasters, or environmental conditions may also occur at random which will greatly impact your reign and your treasury.

At the end of each turn you’ll face a political or moral dilemma which will force you to make a decision which will shift your support and political alignment.

If you can survive 5 years in office, you will get to choose whether to give up your political office to allow the country to elect their own leader, or cling to that power indefinitely for yourself.

At the end of each term in office you must give a speech where you’re presented different dialog options to choose from. You must put together a cohesive speech using strong sentiments that tie into the overall message you want to send. You should align this message with your gameplan for the next term. If you want to focus on bolstering your military for example, give a speech to increase patriotism. Or if you want to focus on helping the poor; give a speech about healthcare reform and education; or if you want to increase profits, give a speech targeted towards capitalism and deregulation.

You need to keep everyone happy while also keeping your treasury profitable. Several military, policy, and research options will require an ongoing upkeep fee which will be deducted at the beginning of each new turn.

You can import and export goods across your borders too to help maximize your profits. Think carefully, you can only sell exports to one country at a time, and you will be locked into a contract for several turns after agreeing to trade to them. The price they are willing to pay depends both on the demand for the item as well as your political relations with the nation in which you wish to trade.

Story 5/10: There’s honestly, not much story, beyond that which I explained in the concept of running a newly independent country and the challenges that entails which will crop up randomly and change each play through.

Graphics 8/10: The graphics, and the user interface, have a very retro feeling to them. There is a bar across the top of the screen which can be accessed via hotkey or mouse press which is where most of the gameplay is carried out. You can also mouse over parts of the screen and if white text pops up it means that you can interact with that object. Your character will walk, sit, stand, and interact with things as you command them to. You can also choose between a male or female ruler; and the government seal is a basenji dog which is pretty cute. Some of the menus are confusing, such as I didn’t realize on my first playthrough how to activate political favors by clicking on parliament and then clicking on the cabinet member you’ve earned favors with, and then clicking on the square which indicates said favor. I think if they would’ve had a tab that listed “available favors” or something it would have been less ambiguous.

Music: 6/10 Ethnic retro chiptune style music, with a bit of comedic value, thanks to recent pop culture references such as Borat. The opening theme to this game reminded me of the national anthem in Borat.

Voice Acting: 8/10 The game is fully voiced and the ethnic accents help create immersion. The only flaw is most of the lines are word for word the same regardless of the different actors used. The delivery changes somewhat, but the dialog itself does not.

Replay Value: 10/10 The replay value is really high thanks to all the random events, and randomly generated characters thrown into the game. As your game comes to an end, for better, or for worse, you are awarded a score and based on that score, you will earn XP which can be used to unlock new campaigns, gameplay modes, or traits that can give you an advantage for your next playthrough, open new dialog options, or more. Each playthrough is fairly short, lasting 60 turns or less which makes it possible to play multiple times in a relatively short time.

Overall: 63/80 79% C+ “Good Game for Girls”

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Rogue State Indie PC Game Review was originally published on Geeky Sweetie