Calico (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Nayu 12.08.2021

Review for Calico on Nintendo Switch

Set in a peaceful realm, Calico from Peachy Keen Games, Whitethorn Digital, and Maple Whispering, sees the protagonist start an animal café in a sleepy town filled with magic, where everyone is living their best life. Finding animals to frolic in both the café and the flat above it between running errands for villagers, learning magic, and cooking in a unique way all matter in this life simulation. Here's a look at it.

From the start Calico's game mechanics proved tricky. There is an astonishing number of ways to personalise the character, changing their body shape, specific details such as chin and nose length, eye and hair colour and style and much more. Figuring out how to create the character could have used a more detailed tutorial, because not all elements such as choosing colours was obvious to work out. Making a character unique is easy, although starting off with basic clothing that was a t-shirt and shorts felt a little out of place considering there was the option to wear a headscarf for modesty, yet the starting outfit felt the opposite: running around in what felt like underwear didn't match the appreciated cultural considerations in hair style. Using expansive colour options for clothing and hair is welcome, but it sometimes felt fiddly to get a particular shade. Colours for clothes and furniture can be changed at any time which is a bonus, though.

Screenshot for Calico on Nintendo Switch

Once past character creation the initial tutorial explains what to do in the café. Animals have to be befriended to come to and live in the café and the flat. They are found wandering around along the forests and paths near the village, and any animal regardless of its adoptive state can be petted. Initially, before launch, stroking the animal was fun, but the protagonist wouldn't look at the creature, but just stared off into the distance which felt completely at odds with the idea of stroking the fur. Thankfully an update did fix this. Once the creature is adopted it will follow the human back to the café - it can be carried or put upon the head. It can be fun having a pretty-coloured cat on the head, regardless of how heavy it would really feel. Carrying animals in arms is a natural action, but so often it looked awkward and how the animal was held didn't look right, which altered the level of game immersion. Creature names are suggested, and it's possible to create one from scratch, although keeping the original ones felt appropriate. It is easy to keep an eye on which animals are collected through the animal menu area.

The animal movement is for the most part realistic - not so much for the main character. Slow walking looks natural, but the running looks ridiculous with how the arms flail about. Being able to swim was a nice touch, with no added effects for wet or dry clothes. It's possible to sit in the variety of seats available for the café, but often instead of sitting at the right level of a chair, there would be a gap between the seat and the human, making it look like they are floating, which reduced feeling caught up in the game. There are enough styles to suit most tastes, with colour choice being endless. Furniture placement is easy to get the hang of and put wherever it is liked. One aspect that cause frustration is the way walls do not stay solid when getting close to them: the outside world appears which can feel jarring, and is not helpful when seeing how wall decorations look beside tables and chairs. Items can be rotated but sometimes there were limits to the number of positions furniture could be put.

Screenshot for Calico on Nintendo Switch

Furniture is gained through quests and can be bought from the local shops, which regularly change the items available. Money is gained through quests and selling items at the café. The way items are created is genius: stepping up to a floating recipe book, one recipe can be chosen, then the protagonist is shrunk down onto the counter. Ingredients are added by lifting and throwing them into the large bowl. If the throw is too far, then it's a bit of a trek to reach the ingredient, pick it up again, and throw once more into the bowl, one by one. At the time of playing multiple copies of a dish could not be made at the same time. Once in the bowl the ingredients would magically combine and produce the finished product, which then needed placing on the tray.

Screenshot for Calico on Nintendo Switch

This unique way of cooking was fun, but unfortunately the fun wears off since it has to be repeated for every single dish: even if the dish has been made before, it needs to be remade using the whole baking process. It would have been ideal if the elaborate cooking method was used for the first time a recipe is used, then had the option to be made automatically, as it isn't a quick process, especially if there are a lot of ingredients. Cooking games are meant to be fun, but when the process drags on the enjoyment rapidly runs out: - and since this is the main basis of the game there is no avoiding it.

Besides cooking for the café, there are quests to fulfil, like placing a certain style of furniture in the café by a particular time. Once completed rewards included new recipes, money, and items. There are magic potions to be made later in the story, which didn't get reached due to the slowness of cooking and various frustrating game elements already mentioned. Exploration is important, and is fun, and faster ways to travel may appear later on, but these weren't reached for the review. There are places which can't be reached initially but get unlocked as quests are fulfilled. The NPCs are a likeable bunch - most are super friendly, showing eagerness in meeting the newest resident. Naturally they have a lot of requests that need to be fulfilled, they seem to have a personal schedule of where they will be located at particular times of the day. Their outfits give an idea of what's available, and suit their personalities, which make them feel real - especially the less welcoming personas.

Screenshot for Calico on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 4 out of 10


Combining cats and other likeable creatures with a café should be a winning formula, but unfortunately Calico fails to offer an enjoyable time. Cute graphics and inventive concepts alone do not excuse the multitude of issues that give the game a feel of a draft version, rather than a finished product despite post-launch updates. Perhaps one day running a cat café will run like a dream, instead of a cute-themed nightmare.


Peachy Keen Games


Whitethorn Digital





C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  4/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


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