Hero near Catuga Beach in Cat Quest 3
Image Source: Kepler Interactive

Cat Quest 3 Hands-On Preview – A Feline Pirate Adventure

You don't have to be a cat lover to like this game.

The upcoming release of Cat Quest 3 solidifies this as the definitive era for cats in video games. From titles such as Stray, Little Kitty Big City, and Nine Sols,  it seems that gamers can’t get enough of of these adorable furry little pawtagonists. As a self-professed cat lover with two magnificent ginger tabbies myself, I’m all for it.

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Of course, The Gentlebros have been fur-crazy since their first Cat Quest game was released in 2017. Now, seven years later, Cat Quest 3 will mark the third entry in the developer’s feline-inclined action RPG series. After sinking a handful of hours into the preview build, I can safely say you don’t need to love cats to dig this game. It looks like it has enough going for it to please any fan of whimsical action adventures.

Hero exploring island with sunset in the background in Cat Quest 3
Image Source: Kepler Interactive

As with every other entry, Cat Quest 3 is an indie action RPG, inspired by Torchlight and Zelda. Having never played a Cat Quest game before, getting acquainted wasn’t an issue as it’s fairly straightforward to pick up. This time around pirates are added into the fold. You take the reigns of a cutesy swashbuckling purrivateer as you search the seven seas for a mythical treasure.

Right from the get-go, you are treated to a wonderfully animated opening cutscene which sets the scene. After your ship is destroyed at sea, our young hero is saved by an adorable blue cat ghost, Captain Cappey. Straight away you find yourself on an island ready to find the famed North Star treasure.

That’s all the backstory you get, and quite frankly, it’s all I really need. Just from the few hours I got to play, it’s clear this isn’t the most sophisticated story out there. But that’s ok. It serves more as a set dressing for the game’s whimsical and colorful tone.

This is most apparent in Cat Quest 3’s incessant use of cat puns. Almost everything is a cat pun in this game; it’s chock-full of them. It pervades everything, from locations, to characters, and even dialogue. It can induce the odd cringe and eye roll on occasion.

As you may tell from this preview, I appreciate a good pun with the best of them. However, even I found it a bit tiresome after a while. It’s something fans of the series will undoubtedly be familiar with (and likely love), but it’s worth flagging for those who may have a low tolerance for such things. Either way, the story and plot in Cat Quest 3 seem mainly to serve the real meat and potatoes of the game: its exploration.

Hero on Catuga island in Cat Quest 3
Image Source: Kepler Interactive

Exploration is where Cat Quest 3 truly shines. First off, everything is gorgeous to look at. As with the previous Cat Quest games, it has a delightfully vibrant and colorful visual style. It expertly merges the 2.5D action of Cult of the Lamb with the unique character models of Paper Mario. The textures and draw distances are also something to behold. They look to be an improvement on previous iterations in the series. It’s a joy to see the bright visuals pop on the screen.

This vibrant backdrop serves the game’s exploration wonderfully. In keeping with its pirate theme, Cat Quest 3 introduces ship traversal to the series. It’s a good thing, too, as the map is full of small islands to explore. Thankfully, you can embark and disembark from your ship at a whim.

Ship gameplay is surprisingly speedy. You just hop straight on and can zoom and zip quickly to where you need to go. It’s a great way of getting around as you explore the islands, caves, dungeons, and puzzles that litter the map. There’s a nice mix between ship and on-foot traversal, giving you a deeper sense of freedom as you get about.

Each island also has a certain amount of treasure to discover. It’s all tracked on your map with a green checkmark after finding everything, which my inner completionist is thankful for. You can also play the entire game in co-op, which makes the exploration a lot more fun. Ultimately, there seems to be an impressive amount of content on offer. It makes me very intrigued to experience more when the full game drops in August.

Ship combat in Cat Quest 3
Image Source: Kepler Interactive

While swashbuckling your way through Cat Quest 3’s vibrant world, you’ll be getting in plenty of battles and skirmishes with pesky pi-rat enemies. As an action RPG, the game features real-time combat with melee, ranged, and magic attacks. Initially, the melee combat feels a little lackluster, as you initially only get a basic slashing move and a dodge roll. It feels fine and serves its purpose, but it’s definitely not as interesting as a more animation-based combat system that you’d find in Dark Souls or the more recent No Rest for the Wicked. However, with the Cat Quest 3’s much younger audience, perhaps this is for the best.

While completing side quests, dungeons, and caves, you will find better gear, weapons, and trinkets. As you collect better equipment, the combat begins to open up a bit more. Melee weapons behave differently depending on their type, while spells add a nice bit of variety when you want to do some damage from afar. Perhaps the most interesting gear type is Cat Quest 3’s trinkets. These each grant a special ability and also boost your main stats. They seem like a good way to add variety to your build. It makes the most sense in co-op when you’re working to complement each other’s skill sets.

Talking of stats, Cat Quest 3 has health, attack, magic, and armor stats that you can upgrade with gear and by leveling up from completing quests and defeating enemies. Your ship even has its own stats, with weapons and upgrades you can switch out on the fly. It’s too early to tell how all of this will coalesce to serve the game as a whole, but I did enjoy my time experimenting with its action RPG elements so far. I hope to see more build variety and types at release.

Dungeon in Cat Quest 3
Image Source: Kepler Interactive

All in all, I enjoyed my limited time with Cat Quest 3. While it doesn’t offer the most sophisticated story or complex combat system, it left me excited to sail the open seas of the Purribean. By far, my favorite aspect of the game is its rewarding exploration and gorgeous and delightfully whimsical feline-inspired visuals (despite going in a bit heavy with the cat puns). The RPG-esque stats system and potential for interesting gear leave me intrigued by the types of builds I can create as I get deeper into the game. I’ll have to wait and see how it will all come together when Cat Quest 3 officially releases in August.


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Author
Alpay Dedezade
As a passionate gamer and an experienced writer, Alpay uses his enthusiasm and knowledge to cover a range of game topics and has been featured on Twinfinite, The Game Crater, GamingIntel, Stuff.tv, and TheGamer. When not clacking away at his keyboard, he can be found exploring exciting virtual open worlds, lost in a high-concept TV show, or spending an unnecessary amount of money on yet another Steam sale for games he doesn’t have the time to play.