Therapeutic Tabby Tapping
In 2020, we all need a little help finding our zen. The life sim genre was practically invented for this. Alas, you may still find yourself wanting. I mean, playing as a human and doing menial tasks? That’s just real life with fewer steps. That’s why the–I’ll say it–heroes at Flero Games came up with the answer to all of life’s problems: Dear My Cat. Distract yourself from the abject horrors of reality by watching a calico chill in a hot tub!
From the moment you boot up Dear My Cat, every aspect is designed to put you at ease. From the gentle piano notes to the minimalist island floating in empty space that you find yourself in charge of. The title screen even encourages you to play with headphones in order to drown out that harsh mistress we call reality and slip into a wonderful world of feline fancy.
Your goal is simple. Level up your island and save enough gold to buy more features such as a hot spring, an observatory, and even a five-star restaurant. The more you level up your island, the more cats you can invite to live there. You gain levels by tapping the little fur babies whenever they’re happy until you’ve collected enough hearts. So all you have to do is let these silly little guys roam their new home and have fun while you reap their joy. But in a fun way!
There are two main goals for progression: buying island upgrades and leveling up your cats. The latter is important because higher level cats mean faster gold production. In the classic idle clicker style, each island upgrade costs exponentially more than the last. So progression quickly becomes impossible without spending serious time making these widdle kitties happy.
This is by no means a chore, mind you. Every kitty that comes to stay at your isle of dreams is given a name and introduction. You’re encouraged to embrace serenity as you read a biography for a kitty cat. Did you know Lonia is a sensitive, delicate cat that enjoys long naps on gloomy days? She may seem a tad fragile at times, but she can sense the emotions of her human and tend to them with care. Want to know more? Of course you do. Well, great news. Every time you level up a cat’s affection, they write you a letter that tells you a little more about themselves.
At this point I know you’re probably thinking, “How could God let something this perfect and pure exist? Surely He sees this as an affront to His wildly imperfect creation of man.” Well… there is a slight catch. Due to the exponential nature of progression, forward momentum comes to a grinding halt fairly quickly without the help of some useful shortcuts the devs were gracious enough to give you.
Unfortunately, if you want to use these helpful features, you’re going to have to sit through an ad every single time. This doesn’t sound all that bad at first, at least not until you reach the point when they become more necessary. Then the game devolves into an inane cycle of several minutes of ads, several minutes of gameplay, several minutes of ads, several minutes of gameplay, and so on, ad insanitum. If you thought reading that was annoying, you’re in for a rough time.
What Dreams Meow Come
If you’re like me, and you’re just ride or die for these fluffy little goofballs, you’ll be treated to a subtle, almost imperceptible narrative that grows in the back of your mind as the island expands. You begin to ask yourself, “Are these cats dead? Is this… heaven? Am I… God?” You see, Dear My Cat doesn’t shy away from the nature of life sims and their relationship with the player. Rather, the game embraces it with a coy smirk in a manner that only adds to the zen, paradisiacal atmosphere it so carefully and lovingly cultivates.
In no uncertain terms, Dear My Cat was exactly the escape I needed that I would’ve never thought to ask for. A game so otherworldly in premise that you’d be in danger of losing yourself in it were it not for the persistent ads. In that way, they act almost like a self-defense mechanism, a necessary evil keeping you grounded as you dip your toes into neko nirvana.
Is It Hardcore?
With its overtly saccharine premise, gorgeous renderings, and silly cat bowties, Dear My Cat has easily walked its way into my heart and left me a dead bird on its doorstep.