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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Cat Quest II is an action-based role-playing game for Apple Arcade and Windows PCS. The game stars a cat king and a dog king working together to reclaim their respective thrones. The pair adventure through a land populated by colorful monsters and aggressive animals that they must fight using melee weapons and magic. Combat is cartoonish, with successful strikes resulting in nothing more than flashes of light, without blood or gore being seen. The simple story is an allegory that shows how different types of people (cats and dogs) can become friends and work together, while also suggesting that people with power have a responsibility to help those in need. Cooperative play encourages pairs of players to work together as a team, one as a cat, the other as a dog.
What's it about?
CAT QUEST II is a simple role-playing game (or RPG) that puts players in control of two former kings -- one that's a cat, another that's a dog -- who must overcome their differences as they work together to reclaim their thrones. Their quest is complicated by a persistent war between their species, nogoodniks who have usurped their power, as well as subplots that see them coming to the aid of various non-player characters in need of assistance. They are paid with a mix of physical and monetary rewards, as well as characters who offer their services to upgrade gear and magic. Whether exploring alone (switching between dog and cat at will) or in cooperation with a friend, players adventure in and around the heroes' kingdoms, stopping at farms, towns, and shops to meet new characters and take on quests, then venturing into dungeons to find treasures and defeat monsters. Combat involves a mix of ranged and melee attacks and well-timed dodges to avoid enemies. Players earn experience to level up their heroes and gold with which to purchase upgrades.
Is it any good?
This basic mobile RPG is a great way to pass time while on the go or waiting around. Cat Quest II's missions are generally short and sweet, making them a fine fit for portable play. The touch screen controls are wonderfully intuitive, requiring only simple taps and double-taps to navigate the world and carry out most moves. The most complex thing players do is press and hold to call up the magic menu and then select a spell. This doesn't make the game especially easy -- different types of enemies demand different kinds of strategies to attack and stay safe -- but it does make it easy to pick up and begin playing. And the storytelling -- with its positive underlying message of tolerance and cooperation -- is just right for a mobile game; it's enough background and exposition to grab and hold the player's interest but not so much that tapping through dialogue becomes a chore.
But you should go in knowing that you'll need to do some grinding to both level up and earn money. At various points within the game, it becomes obvious that the next batch of quests will pit you against foes that weaker heroes will have a tough time defeating. That means you'll need to go find some monsters to fight -- in dungeons or on the world map -- in order to grow the protagonists' abilities and earn enough gold to upgrade magic and gear. It's a noticeably artificial means of lengthening a game, but also fairly common within the genre. And if that's the worst criticism to be leveled at Cat's Quest II, then fans of fantasy role-playing games (and cats and dogs) looking for a mobile game to quench their thirst may have found just what they're looking for.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about screen time. Cat Quest II's missions are generally composed of discrete objectives that don't take very long to complete, so do you think games like this are most fun when played in little chunks, or in longer sessions that let you accomplish more?
Just because someone doesn't look the same as you or have similar beliefs doesn't mean you can't get along, so what different types of people are in your life? Have you made an effort to befriend them?
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