CAT QUEST II: THE LUPUS EMPIRE
By Ferry "Sadhonker" Adams on October 25, 2019
Now, it's universally accepted as truth that cats and dogs don't get along. Usually, these two species just go their separate ways and be done with it, but sometimes, just sometimes, they will have to set their petty squabbles aside and put their heads and paws together in order to overcome an even greater threat. Can they keep out of each other's fur long enough to save a kingdom in peril? Let's find out!
Cat Quest II: The Lupus Empire is a sequel to the critically acclaimed action RPG: Cat Quest. Both games are developed by the Gentlebros and put the player in the fur-filled boots of a cute-looking hero. While in the original Cat Quest, we took the role of a lonely feline hero, we can now also team up with a friend and play as either a courageous cat or a daring dog. Now, I can almost hear you think: "How in the world has this strange alliance come to pass?" Well, my friends; just sit back and I will explain everything.
Once, a long time ago, both the Lupus Empire and Felingard Kingdom were at constant war with each other. They fought many battles over the possession of the fabled Kingsblade, a sword that was said to bestow the power to rule the entire world upon whoever wielded it. Then, the blade suddenly shattered and everything changed. An ancient evil arose and the kings of both empires banded together to fight this evil. Sadly, they failed and were corrupted by it. Many years passed and the kings faded into legend, but it is foretold that they will once again return at a time when their kingdoms need them most.
The time of the kings is nigh, dear readers! In Cat Quest, you can take control of one of two brave royal adventurers and set out to restore peace to the world. As already mentioned, you can play Cat Quest II in coop mode, which makes for a fun adventure together with a friend. Got no friends? Now worries, because you can also play the game by yourself and switch between the Cat and the Dog king on the fly, making the best of both their powers; powers that you will have to earn and distribute between the two characters.
Like in the first Cat Quest, gathering items and spells is a very important part of the game. By collecting and equipping weapons and armor, you can make your character stronger in one of three areas: Attack, Magic and Armor. By equipping a combination of items, you can choose to either balance out your character's powers or specifically focus on one of the aforementioned areas. Because there are now two protagonists, you will also have to choose who gets what, because one piece of armor cannot be worn by both heroes at the same time. Same goes for the powers you collect. Using Flamepurr to set your enemies on fire is a lot of fun, but only one of our heroes can wield this power at any given time. You can however, should you so want, switch powers from cat to dog and vice versa.
During your quest, you will come across lots and lots of enemies, friendly characters and, quite importantly, heaps of gold coins. Do not forget to collect said coins, because they are essential when upgrading your gear. Every item you use can also be upgraded by spending gold coins. This way, you can make your armor stronger and your sword, axe or staff more deadly to enemies. You can find these coins on the main map, as well as in the dungeons you will come across during your travels. Each of these dungeons has a number, showing you the recommended level to reach before trying to tackle said dungeon. Now, you can try to enter a level 99 dungeon when you're only level 6; the game will not try to stop you. But what you will most likely find is a quick death at the hands of far too strong enemies, so keep an eye on the level of the dungeon before storming in head over paws!
You will also encounter a number of NPCs that will ask favors of you; time for side quests! Yes, apart from the main quest, Cat Quest II offers you tons of side quests. These challenges are optional but, at the same time, a very good opportunity for you to collect some additional XP and coins. You'll need the XP, represented by blue orbs you'll find along the way, to level up and become a stronger character. Both characters level up at the same time, so they stay a nicely balanced duo throughout the game. Okay, so XP is divvied up evenly, but what about the gold? Well, every coin you collect is added to one big pile, so it's a matter of deciding who gets to buy what from this shared wealth. (This is the main reason why you should always play coop games with a younger brother or sister or someone equally gullible, so you can keep all the good stuff for yourself. MWOOOOHAHAHAAAAA. excuse me, I got a bit carried away.) But seriously, decide who needs an upgrade the most and spend your money accordingly. Trust me; doing so will result in a much more fun experience!
Now, I played the game together with my lovely wife and DumeeGamer.com head honcho, Diana "DumeeGamer" Dumee. She chose to be the Cat King (I always suspected her to have the makings of a crazy cat lady.) and I chose to play the Canine King. While going on our adventure, we quickly realized a big difference with the first Cat Quest: the difficulty. While Cat Quest had a more mellow pacing as far as difficulty was concerned, Cat Quest II steps it up a notch and throws enemies at you that will quickly get more difficult to defeat. Throw in enemies that can only be harmed by using magic or the traps in the environment itself and you've got a challenge on your hands. To tackle this, Diana and I chose to create two vastly different heroes. While she focused on magic and healing powers, I directed my attention to the more physical approach and invested in armor and strong weapons, as well as in destructive spells.
Talking about spells; these can also be upgraded, but, unlike your gear, the spells can only be upgraded in one place: The Arcane Headpawters in Felingard. Upgrading your spells is also done by throwing heaps of gold at it. Here, the same rule applies; decide which spells you both use the most and invest in those, instead of just being selfish and needlessly spending your hard-earned money on yourself. So yes, one could come to the conclusion that teamwork is key in Cat Quest II. Having one player deals out massive damage and soaks up the majority of the damage inflicted by enemies while the other player deals with magic characters and heals the party from time to time, is a very good way to deal with most obstacles on your path.
We had tons of fun playing Cat Quest II: The Lupus Empire. It is a truly fun game to play together and it looks awfully cute. But don't let its appearance fool you! To reach the end, you will have to face heaps of challenges and the road will not be easy. Now, some may say that the game doesn't quite offer the same depth as some of the more "serious" RPGs out there. And while this is true, I don't see the problem. My issue with a lot of RPGs has everything to do with too many diverging skill trees, hours and hours of useless and unfunny conversations and characters that (quite frankly) annoy the hell out of me because they are incapable of performing even the smallest tasks for themselves. I remember a game (which shall remain unnamed) in which I was asked to do a guy a favor. "Please bring this shield to my wife to show her I love her", he said. "Sure", said I. "Where is your wife?" Now I thought I'd have to cross the continent to get to the lady in question, but I couldn't have been more wrong. "She's right across the road." the guy answered. Come on dude! You've gotta be kidding me, right? Bring her the damn shield yourself, you useless excuse for a man!
I think that Cat Quest II is a ridiculously good game that truly deserves to be played! The fact that you can now embark on this furry quest together with a friend only serves to increase the fun even more! The graphics look really cool and the characters are as cute as can be, but without giving the game a childish look or feel. Although they look cute and cuddly, both kings still have their claws and teeth. The background music and SFX suits the game's premise flawlessly and helps to further enhance the entire experience. The game features a cool story and tons of fun characters, puns and other references to pop culture. I can only say: get your hands on this game and see for yourselves how awesome things get when cats and dogs work together!
Holy Hairballs, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls; I really have to leave you now, for Diana and I have a world to save. The honor of two Kings is at stake, as are the lives of countless cats and dogs living in the two kingdoms! Have at you, monster scum! Make way for Crafty Kitty and Power Pooch!
CAT QUEST II: THE LUPUS EMPIRE
September 24, 2019 (Steam)
October 24, 2019 (PS4 / Switch / Xbox One)
September 19, 2019 (iOS)