Oh boy! Little known fact, I’m actually a pretty big fan of visual novel games. They’re my guilty pleasure game. I know, they’re cliché and slightly embarrassing in a lot of cases. But there are times where you find such gems! What might seem like the most ridiculous premise on earth can turn into a brilliant plot that draws you in. For all you know, Cat President ~ A More Purrfect Union ~ could be pure genius! How dare you judge a cat by its shit covered fur!
Sadly you were entirely right to judge this one, though. Cat President is awful. I literally tried every angle I could to find some redeeming features for this one. I cannot find any! So let me describe every single facet of what is wrong with a game about dating cats who run for president. Enjoy!
Cat President is a visual novel game wherein the protagonist inadvertently becomes campaign advisor for a candidate in the upcoming presidential elections. The player must pick between several cats, and follow their story to ensure they become the next president of the United States. You’ll find out their inner workings and back stories and hopefully, fall in love with your cat along the way. And yes, there is indeed a Donald Trump cat and a Hillary Clinton cat.
So, bestiality aside, pretty basic story. Sure, the hiring policy of a campaign manager might be a bit more complicated than “Hey! I don’t have a job!” but we can all dream! Cat President is more or less filled with all the tropes you expect from the visual novel genre. The shy one, the mean one you grow to love, the womanizer, they’re all there! They’re just cats. However, if you’re going to go outside the norm of pretty anime men and use animals instead, I have no choice but to compare to another animal visual novel with dating, Hatoful Boyfriend.
Most people write off that game because you’re dating pigeons in it. However, if you actually go into the game, you’ll find quite a deep, interesting story mired in pure ridiculousness! It took the ridiculous concept of dating a pigeon, and ran with it all the way to a mountain made of pudding. That’s what you need to do with games like these. If you’re going to make it ridiculous, run all the way with it! Make your story as deep and engaging and surprising as you possibly can.
In the case of Cat President, I feel they could have taken it much further. I mean, don’t get me wrong, it is ridiculous. But it’s not enough! The characters are all brainless, seemingly for humor, but the jokes fall flat. It just seems like everyone in this universe has an IQ of 12, and it wears thin. Most of the jokes had me groaning rather than laughing. It was the comedic equivalent of “Hur, hur! You’re dumb!” over and over again. And while there were some good moments, and I enjoy the political satire the game is trying to achieve, it just feels forced.
What’s more, I wish the dev team had tried harder on the actual visual side of this novel. Every character and background were more than likely stock photos. There was no artwork, no animations and in the end, no effort put in. The closest thing I saw to any actual effort put into changing the photos was a pair of ears stuck on the dog candidate. And it says a lot when the most effort your art team put in was stick a picture onto another picture.
Though perhaps the most damning thing about this game is the price. If you’ve ever dabbled in the realm of visual novels, you’ve probably seen or heard of a program called RenPy. In short, RenPy is a free engine for visual novels. You can download it, add in your assets (Character art, backdrop, music) and make a visual novel pretty easily. It’s pretty much the staple thing you need to make a basic visual novel because it’s got all you need! Text boxes, main menu, saving and loading, options menu, the works! It’s a tool for people who want to make the most basic novel possible with little experience.
It’s the program you use for your first game, and many games made using RenPy get released for free, or for a lower price. However, for a game that looks almost exactly like RenPy, minus an options menu, Cat President is €8.99! A game with no original artwork and a lackluster story is 8.99, when games with original, handcrafted artwork and deep, interesting stories are being put out for peanuts! How does that make any sense at all? Honestly, I would be much easier on this game if it weren’t for the price, but alas.
I don’t usually like giving bad reviews to games. I always try to find some redeeming factor. But I literally cannot find one in Cat President. In several months, the game won’t even be relevant any more. The jokes will fall even flatter than they are now because no one will care about the election. This is one of the dev companies first games. They have time to turn things around! But I have to be harsh, you guys need to shape up! If Oh, a Rock! Studios makes another visual novel game, I hope they try a little harder.
As for Cat President, I say we just let it slide. It’s another addition to the many jokes people are making about the election. Buy it if you want a few cheap laughs, or you have to get a present for someone you don’t like very much. Other than that, lets just stick to our usual games about Neko-girls and boys rather than going full cat.