A cat and dog come together to stop a great war between their species!
One of the companies I had longer meetings with was Pqube. The publisher is known for bringing quirky titles to various systems, and the Nintendo Switch certainly isn't an exception. Cat Quest II: The Lupus Empire certainly fits that description to a tee. The original, which released in November 2017 on the platform, brought fun action and interesting quests. Our very own Neal Ronaghan was more critical of the title, and I can understand why. The map was pretty underwhelming, and the way that the camera was set up wasn’t winning any prizes. Pqube was graceful enough to show off an early build of Cat Quest II, and the results very much pleased me.
For the record, I must admit that I was shown a very vertical slice. The demo guided me to the right locations and rushed me to the big dragon baddy at the end of the demo. It did allow me to do some minor exploring of the overworld, collecting items and defeating smaller enemies, but exploration wasn't the focus here. You almost immediately went to the different dungeons to engage with increasingly harder foes. These enemies could be subdued by straightforward attacks and crowd-control spells. The combat isn't unlike what we experienced with the original; however, there are some key differences here.
An important one is a co-op mode. While initially this seemed like something obvious, the implementation was really well done. For starters, you get to play a cat AND a dog. I sure fancy that as a dog person. Honestly though, that isn't the major reason why it feels good. The camera adjusts as you are closer or farther apart from each other. This is an instant step up from the original, where the camera wasn't well suited in certain combat situations. The game gradually gives you more room to play with, which is rather excellent.
Another reason why co-op matters is in your approach towards enemies. Particularly during the boss present in the demo, a solid strategy required. Personally, I would circle around and distract the boss, while my friend would attack with the best spells. The dragon at the end wasn't properly balanced yet, but with a lot of hard work, we got the job done. Coordinating those attacks successfully felt really satisfying and really forced a back and forth conversation between me and my partner. The co-op gameplay makes for an excellent experience for two people.