Simon's Cat - Story Time
By Marc Saltzman,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Colorful puzzler with friendly characters and fun gameplay.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
The story surrounds a neighborhood banding together to preserve a patch of land behind their homes. It's a positive story about friendship, love for animals, and community.
Positive Role Models
Based on animator Simon Tofield's Simon's Cat web cartoon and book series, this game focuses mostly on Simon, a middle-aged single cat lover who moves into a neighborhood, as well as neighbors like Penny, Tony, the grumpy Mr. Potts, and others, including their pets. There's good representation of age, gender, body types, and skin color amongst the characters.
Ease of Play
This Apple Arcade puzzler is easy to play, with a tutorial and helpful hints peppered throughout the game, especially when there are new gameplay elements introduced. It's easy enough to control with your fingertips, but there's support for controllers, too, if desired.
Products & Purchases
The game's based on the Simon's Cat animated web cartoon and book series, but there isn't any promotional elements. Plus, Apple Arcade games prohibit in-game purchases and advertisements.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Simon's Cat: Story Time is a puzzle game exclusively for Apple Arcade. It doesn't contain any inappropriate or questionable content. It's a Match-3-style puzzle game with a story tied to a neighborhood of pet lovers who work together to clean up gardens and repair broken items, take care of their pets, and stop a builder from bulldozing an area near their homes. The puzzler is based off of an animated web cartoon and book series, but there's no promotional ads or items included in the game, especially since those are intentionally excluded from all Apple Arcade titles.
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Simon's Cat - Story Time
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What’s It About?
Based on Simon Tofield's popular animated web series and various books, SIMON'S CAT: STORY TIME is a "Match-3"-style puzzler available as part of Apple Arcade. The game's centered around Simon, a middle-aged single man, and his curious cat, who move into a new neighborhood and begin to meet the neighbors and their pets. After cleaning up the yard, fixing up a garden, and decorating their properties with various objects (like garden gnomes, a fountain, bench, and gazebo), the community learns of a builder planning to bulldoze through an area enjoyed by the pets and pet owners in the area. They've got a month to restore the mysterious wasteland behind their property before the diggers destroy it all. Gameplay involves clearing tiles on a board, based on the instructions for that exact level by tapping a minimum of two adjacent tiles of the same color. Some are trapped in bubbles, blocked by stones, covered by flowers, and other obstacles that need to be dealt with. You'll need to remove dandelions and bees, and drop items to the bottom of the screen. You'll use TNT to blast areas, rakes to clear vertical rows or horizontal columns, and tap balls of yarn to destroy one particular color from the screen. Power-up boosters can be purchased with in-game coins earned by completing levels (and not with real currency as Apple Arcade titles don't allow for that). Each level tells you the maximum number of moves you have to work with. By completing puzzles, players will earn stars to unlock the next phase of the story, which you can advance at your own pace.
Is It Any Good?
This is a solid game for puzzle fans and pet lovers alike, without having to pay for power-ups or sit through advertisements as you would with other "freemium" Match-3-style games. Simon's Cat: Story Time isn't doing anything unique with the genre -- all of the gameplay elements have been done before -- but the story and characters (humans and pets) give it its own unique flavor. The game starts off easy enough, but begins to layer in more advanced elements, such as additional obstacles, and around level 50 things become trickier to complete. If you fail a level, you can try again, use up some virtual coins to continue on, or take a break from the game and play through some story elements. Unlike most games, the story progresses at your own pace. You can spend 20 stars in a row to plow through the story chapters, or alternate between a game board and a new chapter in the book. It's entirely up to you, instead of being forced to read through the story. In fact, you can bypass the story altogether, but again, this is likely the reason why someone would download this title (especially fans of the Simon's Cat world).
During the story elements, you'll be asked to make decisions here and there, such as deciding how to decorate your backyard. In fact, you can always change your mind and go back to completely revamp a garden. Options are usually basic, ornate, and wacky -- so you can infuse your own personality in there, if you like. The animation is cute and quirky, just like the web cartoon, including bulgy-eyed birds, fish swimming in the water fountain, and of course, seeing the animated neighbors and their pets (including cats that don't like each other!). The jazzy music soundtrack is whimsical. What Simon's Cat: Story Time lacks in originality it makes up for in personality, story, and presentation style. If you already pay the $4.99/month for Apple Arcade and enjoy puzzle games, download this title, which should dish up several hours of fun.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the strong story element tied to this puzzle game. Do players actually want a story with several characters, because it gives purpose to your actions? Or does it not make sense that you need to complete colorful Match-3-style puzzles to progress through a story about protecting your neighborhood and pets?
What kind of cause would you get behind with your friends and neighbors? Is there something you'd be willing to help others with in your neighborhood, even if it meant disrupting previously created plans?
- Platform: Apple Arcade
- Pricing structure: Paid, Free
- Available online?: Available online
- Publisher: Tactile Games Limited
- Release date: April 9, 2021
- Genre: Puzzle
- Topics: Cats, Dogs, and Mice, Friendship, Science and Nature
- ESRB rating: E for No Descriptions
- Last updated: September 16, 2022
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