Over the long holiday weekend, I powered through Hustle Cat. This game has been sitting in my backlog for a year as of…today, actually. Surprisingly I chose it of my own volition and not with my program. Possible spoilers ahead!
Hustle Cat is a visual novel dating sim centered around a teenager casting about wildly in search for a job. An opportunity to work for an eccentric cat cafe owner produces itself, with a hefty cat-veat (sorry, too easy). Aside from yourself, there are six characters to romance that cater to a variety of preferences.
I went through my first route in about two hours, which I was a bit taken aback by. Each character had their own unique and engaging backstory. That helped take some of the edge off the tedium of seeing some of the same scenes multiple times. I personally enjoyed the soundtrack and art style, and I felt compelled enough by the story to play the game through to 100% completion. It took me about 5 hours total, with the help of the dialogue’s fast forward button.
The biggest drawback for me was the lack of depth of the story. I only got glimpses through each character’s routes, but not enough to get a solid grasp of the whole picture. I wanted to know more about the magic mechanics of this universe. I wanted to dig deeper into each character’s backstory, even the Big Bad. Honestly, I would be all for Studio Ghibli or Trigger making it into a short film or series.
On a technical note, I did experience a few crashes while playing. Thankfully it happened just after an autosave, so I wasn’t set back too much. Additionally, I had to click a couple times on each route’s final scene to get back to the menu and register the achievement. These aren’t deal breakers for me, but it seemed worthwhile to make a note of.
I would recommend this game if:
- you like visual novels/dating sims that err on the side of shorter play times
- you like cats
- it’s on sale
Developer: Date Nighto
Publisher: Date Nighto
Time to beat: 5 hours