Ever thought it might be fun to run a hotel full of cats? Well, oddly enough, there is an app called Cat Hotel in which you get to do just that, and She of Little Talent and I have played it for a few weeks so we can tell you exactly how much fun it is.
In the game, your job is to feed and water the cats, keep the litter box clean, give each cat a medical exam and sometimes some medication, and groom and play with the cats. In return, you earn coins that you can use to buy new things for the hotel. There is a slight learning curve at the start, but once you’ve got the routine down, the game is very easy to play.
Fun interactive play
Our favorite part of Cat Hotel is that you don’t just press a button to do things. To groom one of the cats, you grab the brush (virtually, of course) and then brush it across the cat’s fur. To play with a cat, you choose a game (feather-wand toy, laser pointer, or a game where the cat gets to smash a series of items on a shelf), and then you have to interact with the game correctly or else it won’t work and you’ll end up with a disappointed cat. For example, to play with the feather wand, the game will show you a pattern to trace across the screen. If you do it correctly, the cat gets to chase the toy. If you do it wrong, the cat just gets confused. The patterns range from a straight line to a W. Old SoLT messed up the straight line more than once, so don’t assume this will be easy!
A few downsides
The interactivity was our favorite part of Cat Hotel, but we do have a few not-favorite parts. First, on our iPad, the game tends to crash every time we hit the icon to put the guest cat to bed for the night. This is more than a little bit annoying. Also, while the cats are cute and it’s fun to play with them, it quickly begins to feel like you are doing the same things with the same few cats over and over again. You can buy lots of decorations for the rooms, as well as upgraded toys and even different cat breeds, but we found that the game got boring before we accumulated enough coins to buy much.
We wish there were more of a management challenge to this game and/or more variety to the things you get to do with the cats. For example, keeping track of three cats at a time (each with slightly different needs) would be more fun than doing the same routine over and over with just one cat at a time. The Cat Hotel description promises that you will be able to watch the cats play together, implying that you will be hosting several cats at a time, but we played every day for nearly three weeks and still had just one cat in our hotel. We think the game would be more fun if it got more varied and more challenging early on.
All that said, old SoLT does enjoy grooming the cats and playing with them. It’s kind of relaxing to play for a couple of minutes at the end of a busy day, she says.
A note on the "Paws Up" system: Miss C gives either one or two paws up. One paw is for a good app; two paws is for a great app. She never gives three or four paws because that would require her to lie on her back...and Miss C does not do that!