Game: Stray Cat Doors 2
Genre: Puzzle, Adventure
System: Nintendo Switch (also on iOS and Android)
Age Rating: EU 3+ | US Everyone
Price: US $16.00 | UK £14.00 | EU € 16,29
Release Date: May 29th in America, June 3rd in Europe 2021
Review code provided with many thanks to Pulsmo
The Girl with the White Cat Hat
If there ever was a game that drew me in, just based on the graphics and whimsical atmosphere alone, it was Stray Cat Doors. Advertised as an escape room kinda game that was first released on mobile, and came to the Switch afterwards. Some time ago, Serena followed the adventures of the girl with the white cat hat, and reviewed it on Switch, as you can read here. You have to clear every stage, solve the little puzzles in order to make it to the next stage.
Now, the second game made it to the Switch via the same route: it has already been out on iOS and Android for quite some time. The description of Stray Cat Doors2 states that more content is added to the idea of escaping from the stage you are at. This time, you can change your character’s clothes, change the background music and decorate various rooms in the house by making furniture and items yourself. Is this new game just as charming as the first one?
What’s The Story?
There is a story to Stray Cat Doors 2, but as there is no text you will have to piece it together yourself. A little scene shows the girl painting a door, and meanwhile, two of her cats romped around, knocking over the chest with all of her favourite cat-related memorabilia.
Several multi-coloured cats appear, they pick up the items and make a run for it, with the girl chasing them. Meanwhile, the newly painted door peeps open, and the cat disappear through them, still holding her precious possessions. This is the start of your adventure in Stray Cat Doors 2.
Looking for Clues
Escape room games are a sub-genre of point and click games, as is very obvious in this game. Your girl visits a stage or room, not as boring as it sounds though. The stages are clearly lovingly crafted, with lots of details and not just in the items that you can interact with.
I’ve visited a park with her, seen the inside of a train and explored a house, just to name a few. In these levels, a little pawprint lighting up when the girl walks past shows where the little puzzles are. Some might feel it would be more fun to not have the way shown to you but it saves a lot of clicking on every item that you see.
In some cases a circle with a grey background pops up, indicating an item that you can use to solve other puzzles. Sometimes a close-up is shown of the puzzle at hand. It works flawlessly, and I feel the game is well suited to be on the Switch. The puzzles are varied: sometimes you have to figure out which words to form, or you have to use a broom you found somewhere else to knock a hat out of a tree, or a little animation shows you which sequence you have to open doors to several coloured stores.
Every new stage has new puzzles, all presented in the same lovely art style and laid back manner. No time pressure at all, but you do have to solve them all before the door appears and you and the cat you found in this level can go on to the next. Don’t feel like being stuck on a level? There’s a hint system in place to help you along, but you can always ignore that and find out for yourself.
Decorating with Stickers
On every level, you will find coloured gems to collect. You need them to craft stickers for furniture and other items to decorate the rooms you unlock.
Plus, you earn keys, with which you can open the cabinet in the main room, and find new memories or new outfits. Collecting outfits is one of the side goals of the game, as is collecting the gems. Outfits can be earned by solving puzzles but there are some you can only buy using rainbow-coloured gems.
Once you unlock a room, you get a little puzzle to copy the interior decorating presented as an example by making furniture stickers. To make these stickers you have to use the gems, plus you can unleash your inner Chip or Joanna by making the room as lovely as can be. For which, of course, you need a lot of gems in all colours.
This is where the revisiting of the finished stages comes in, because once you’ve solved the stage, you can go back multiple times. And each time with a new assignment, prolonging the gameplay. I must say it’s a nice idea to encourage people to play on, but the tasks do get a bit boring. I mean, how can a mother frog lose four kids in the same small area?
Another way to earn gems is by doing one of the mini-games: back with the frogs, trying to get them to jump onto the right lily pad to earn money for gems.
Smooth Puzzles and Lovely Visuals
The puzzles aren’t too tough, to me, it feels like just the right level of difficulty to play this game to relax. There is hardly ever a puzzle that is a straightforward Collect A to solve B. In most cases, it’s a matter of Solving B by first solving C, then use the outcome in A and then back to B. If you get frustrated, the hints are there to help you along, but it feels very good to do it all yourself.
Controls on the Switch work well, you control the game using the buttons as the touch screen doesn’t work. The big star of the game is how it looks visually. Adorable, pastel-coloured, lots of detail. This is the perfect game to come home after a busy day at work to relax.
Making this review, I couldn’t help to compare. First, there is the mobile game on both iOS and Android. I was surprised to see it was downloadable for free on there, but there is a catch. It means you have to endure adverts and you don’t get your hints for free: you have to watch a video first before you get it. Plus, you pay for some of the costumes. As far as I can see, unlocking all you get in the Switch package and getting rid of the ads costs you more than the full game on your favourite Nintendo handheld device.
Then there’s the matter of the price comparison with the first game: in dollars, we are talking about $ 2.59 for the first game, and $ 16.00 for this second one. That is a steep rise in cost. But, the first game was short and now, the game is longer and there’s much more gameplay is added like changing your character’s outfit, decorating the rooms and changing the background music. Plus, the stages and home base are much more beefed out. Is it worth it? I can only say that I feel the right price tag is added to it.
Conclusion – Relax and Enjoy
Stray Cat Doors 2 is a lovely game, gorgeous looking visuals, a nostalgic sweet feeling to the adventure and great puzzles to solve. Just the ticket when you get home from a stressful day at work and want to relax.
If you like Escape Room games this one might be for you if you don’t mind the cutesy feel. If you like wholesome gaming and solving some light puzzles, this is definitely one to go for.
The only minor remark I have is that the English translations could be better. But Pulsmo did a great job once again, expanding on the great gameplay of the first one!
Final Verdict: I Like It a Lot