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Parental Guidance: A Parent’s Guide to Cat Quest

Cat Quest artwork of a cat clad in armor looking determined

This feature is intended to help parents determine if their children can successfully play the following video game.

As parents, it’s important to know what your child is playing, but sometimes the rating on the box isn’t enough. How hard will it be for them to control? How complicated is the strategy? Will they be able to read it? Are there mature themes hidden there that you would prefer they learn from you rather than a cartoon cat holding a sword? As a parent who has been surprised by content I thought was appropriate for my kids, I’m here for you. So today, let’s break down Cat Quest, a fun, friendly, and surprisingly layered game, and find out if it will suit your family’s needs.  

Cat Quest has a straightforward premise. You play as an adorable cat warrior whose sister was kidnapped by a mysterious White Cat. He searches the world for her with his spirit companion, Spirry, fighting monsters and undoing the White Cat’s evil deeds as he goes. As it turns out, he is the last of a race of Dragonblood cats, the only ones who can defeat dragons, which is a good thing since he needs to defeat several dragons sent by the White Cat before the final confrontation to free his sister. Players willing to look can find the origins and history of the Dragonbloods scattered around the world. Optional side quests provide the stories of the other cats in the world and how they are faring under the White Cat’s evil presence. Easy-to-follow quests will guide players through the main game and side content with a large white arrow pointing the way. That’s pretty much it. 

The hero's sister is kidnapped by the mysterious White Cat.
No time to wait. I have a sister to save!

The art style is cute and bright, and the game is packed to the whiskers with cat puns. The world map is easy to navigate and designed to look like the player is walking on an actual map, with towns, lakes, forests, and plains labeled right underfoot. Monsters visibly wander the map; spotting something new is a clear signal that you have walked into a higher-level area. In these moments, it only takes a few seconds to decide if you are out of your depth and need to run or if you are ready for a new challenge. Travel becomes easier after a few story quests that open up new skills. Players eventually learn to both walk on water and fly, skills sure to delight any kid. Every town has side quests ranging from funny to heartfelt to downright creepy. Players can choose what they want to do in any order, but quests and dungeons are marked with a recommended level to help players not wander too far in a dangerous direction. It’s a simple and fun adventure that introduces new players to RPGs. Cat Quest is rated E for everyone, but can everyone actually play it?


When my kids ask for a new game, my first question is: Can they operate the controls on this? Even the cutest game in the world can require complex motor skills. A very small child could hold the controller and wander the early portions of the Cat Quest map successfully. Attacking involves simply walking up to an enemy and pushing a single button. Great for a little who wants to participate but doesn’t care about progression. Of course, it does get more complicated than that. Enemies have attack patterns projected as bright red circles or lines radiating from them that kids need to remain aware of. There is usually plenty of time to walk out of the coming attack zone before getting hit. Dodge rolling is easier: it is a second button to push and becomes vital later in the game when enemies mix multiple attacks. Then along come the magic spells, which are mapped to shoulder buttons. The motor skills can be complex for little hands later in the game. Juggling attacks, dodges, and spells can become frustrating, especially on the dragon bosses who will use two or more attack patterns at once, with random enemies wandering in and joining the fight. Some of the fights taxed even my adult fine motor skills. Fortunately, the game is extremely forgiving. Dying takes the player back to the last place they slept, then it is time to head back and try again or take the time to level up before progressing.

Battling a dragon with lightning.
You know what happens to a dragon when it is struck by lightning?

Strategic Thinking

As well as controlling the character on the screen, RPGs involve varying degrees of strategy and planning. Armor and weapons come from chests and drop randomly from enemies. They all change your character’s appearance, but dressing in the coolest outfit doesn’t necessarily mean the gear is the best. To be successful, kids need to understand that aesthetics aren’t everything. Basic problem-solving skills are necessary to choose gear matching the player’s style and armor covering their defense needs. Gear upgrades randomly and automatically when the player gets a second piece of something, so it requires no extra effort unless they aren’t getting upgrades for their favorite pieces. Then it’s back to the menu to pick something new.

On the other hand, players must level magic spells in their original temple or a higher-level one. Then, players need to go into the menu to map spells to the shoulder buttons, allowing them to heal or attack in the same patterns available to the enemies. Spells add four more buttons, using a totally different part of the controller, and might cause players with smaller hands trouble. Spell upgrades cost a lot of money, so saving up or grinding for gold is a big part of the game. Players must be able to identify when their spells aren’t measuring up against more challenging enemies and find their way to the right temples with enough gold to buy an upgrade. This level of awareness can be beyond younger kids, so they might need reminders to buy upgrades or a parent to step in and take them shopping if they are getting stuck.

Cat Quest screenshot of the hero in a void-like space dimension with a white door and seven stone platforms arranged in a circle

Reading Level

Another big part of video games, especially RPGs, is reading. For many kids, playing video games is a great motivation to learn to read. Several staff members here at RPGFan learned to read from games. Cat Quest has plenty of dialog, but reading isn’t required to complete the game. With a few exceptions, every quest in the game has a giant arrow pointing the player exactly where they need to go, and everything that they can interact with is very clearly marked. If your child can follow arrows or footsteps, step on the giant glowing marks on the ground, and choose green for yes and red for no, they can get through this game. They might need someone sitting with them and reading aloud for the first fifteen or twenty minutes so they can learn the controls before setting off on their own.

Now, if your child is a strong reader, they are in for a treat. The cat puns are endless. It is a pawfect addition to a game as furring cute as Cat Quest. On the other hand, Spirry is a fairly rude character and uses sweet little puns in lieu of swearing, which he does a lot. Younger kids probably won’t catch it, but I sure did. The game has a sense of humor hidden in the dialog that most children will find delightful, but now and then, it goes in the other direction to some pretty mature places.

Maturity Level

Cat Quest can occasionally hit on some complex and even upsetting themes that some children might not be ready for. The game is mostly straightforward and a bit silly. Many situations will have kids laughing and quoting dialog at you for days. There can be a subtext to some side quests that younger children might not pick up on, but will give bigger kids a laugh. Then there are the things that can be flat-out upsetting. For example, there are identical empty towns with identical quests that turn out to be a byproduct of a cat pursuing necromancy to raise his dead sister, resulting in everyone dying and both siblings trapped haunting the towns, trying to save each other. Or the meat-obsessed cats tricked into eating monster meat and becoming monsters themselves. Then there are Santa Paws, and his evil twin Santa Claws, locked in a bitter fight over how Kitmas presents are distributed. I don’t want to spoil the heartbreaking twist at the end, but I got weepy. Now, don’t get me wrong. These quests are few and far between, but running into darker storylines unexpectedly can be upsetting for a very sensitive child. It is a matter of knowing what triggers your child and what they can brush off because it is an otherwise adorable way to spend some time. It also doesn’t hurt that you can skip any side quest simply by picking up a new one.

Screen shot of the quest menu in Cat Quest.
Cat Quest contains many smaller quests.

My initial question was, can everyone play this? The short answer is yes. Anyone who can hold a controller can play this game to a certain extent. But let’s be real; if you set your kid down with a video game, you want them to be able to play it independently. The controls in Cat Quest are simple enough for most children, but don’t be surprised if your kid hands you the controller for help on a tricky dungeon trap or a boss fight. And although the game is playable without reading a word, emergent readers might need some help decoding unfamiliar words and the many puns in the game. Confident readers will find a lot of silliness and absurdity in the dialog and plot to keep them entertained. As for maturity level, you know your kid best. If they can handle ghosts, family conflicts, tragic backstories, and betrayal, there shouldn’t be much to give you pause in leaving your child alone with the game. Children mid-elementary and up should be fine playing this game unsupervised. If you are willing to sit with them so they understand how the game works and occasionally pop in to help play the tricky bits, even younger children can have a blast with Cat Quest. It is a fun and funny game with something to offer most ages.

Monica Rose

Monica Rose

Monica grew up with three older brothers in the days where games only had 3 save slots. She always loved games, but didn't really get into them until Zelda: Twilight Princess came out on the Wii. Since then she has been making up for lost time by playing any game shiny enough to draw her eye, and reading about the ones that failed to catch her magpie gaze. Now she combines her love of reading and writing with her love of games by proofreading for RPGFan.