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Monkey Island meets Spirited Away in the gorgeous Cat and Ghostly Road

Cat and Ghsotly Road on Switch is an adorable, atmospheric indie game that sinks its claws into your heart, proving cats are truly a human's best friend.

Cat and Ghostly Road review - a screenshot showing a floating woman's head with a traditional headdress, and her hand holding up a white cat

Upon first glance, I just knew I had to do a mini Cat and Ghostly Road review. Just the key art alone was enough to get me on board, and the promise of ghosts was the icing on the cake.

You see, like many of you, ghosts and cats are two of my favorite topics. And the addition of traditional East Asian folklore only sealed the deal further, as one of my top pastimes is reading ghost stories and mythology from different corners of the world.

Cat and Ghostly Road is a short, sweet, and simple narrative-driven point and click game that follows the story of a little white cat. After the poor kitty falls unconscious one snowy night, a kind old painter comes to the rescue and invites his new feline friend into his home. However, after a brief period of domestic bliss between the painter and the cat, a strange, ghostly demon appears and steals the painter’s soul, leaving him gravely ill – and now it’s up to that brave little cat to repay the favor and save the painter’s life.

The narrative takes you on a dangerous journey through the world of ghosts and demons, using the cat’s special spirit vision to see and communicate with beings on the other side. From playing an ocarina to subdue a demon to helping a carp turn into a dragon, this sweet little kitty will stop at nothing to help his friend, and every step of the journey is just as beautiful and moving as the last.

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The gameplay is a pretty standard point and click puzzle affair, with the left joystick controlling your character and the right joystick controlling the cursor. You can hit one of the shoulder buttons to highlight all interactable points on the screen, and hit the A button to interact with, talk to, or pick up items.

Beyond that, the meat of the game relies on you combining and/or using the correct items to solve puzzles in order to get through to the next area. There are also a few small deviations in puzzle patterns, such as one where you must click on an ocarina’s different finger holes to play a tune, as well as a short memory-based minigame later on in the story.

Most solutions are pretty straightforward, while some take a little more thought, and there are some items that are scattered quite far from where you need to use them, which means you often have several items stashed in your inventory for quite some time.

However, it’s unlikely that you’ll ever get stuck – at least, not for long – especially if you’re a fan of puzzle games. Essentially, as long as you remember to make use of the skills at your disposal, such as spirit vision and, later, your ability to shapeshift into a human-like form, you’re golden.

Cat and Ghostly Road review - a screenshot showing the cat talking to a dragon in the water

The controls are also pretty straightforward and easy to get to grips with, though, as is the case with any point and click games on console, the cursor can be a little slow and clunky at times. Additionally, actions like using items do require a certain level of fiddliness, with you having to open your inventory, combine them, then drag them to the right location. But when you get into the rhythm of both the controls and the gameplay, everything else takes a backseat to the beautiful story and stunning art.

Speaking of stunning art, the visual style of Cat and Ghostly Road is utterly striking, boasting an almost ‘pop-up book’ style with layered illustrations and gorgeous colors that make each scene look as though it were plucked straight from a gallery wall. From the breathtaking environments to the intriguing ghost and demon designs, it truly is a piece of art that oozes elegance and charm in every pixel.

The sound design is also lovely, with an effective balance between silence, ambient sounds, and atmospheric music that kicks in at just the right time. The game doesn’t feature voice acting, but I honestly don’t feel like it needs it.

Cat and Ghostly Road review - a screenshot showing a cat human saying 'now I can fly lantern in the sky. I hope the soul of the painter will see it and understand that I'm coming to help'

However, some of the subtitles are a little clumsy, and there are a few errors in the translation – but, personally, I find these to be quite charming, especially with the otherworldly vibe of the overall experience.

Cat and Ghostly Road is quite brief, sitting at around three hours long, though it actually took me a little less. However, it also comes at a pretty small price, and I definitely think it’s worth it for such a touching and memorable little indie game. And, with its recent arrival on Switch, Xbox, and PlayStation following its previous success on Steam, it’s now available to a wider audience than ever.

Plus, the fact that the titular kitty is inspired by the developers’ own feline friend Lune is utterly adorable – especially given that they rescued him from under a bridge 15 years ago, paralleling the experience of our courageous cat friend. And it’s easy to see that Lune is a very special cat to have inspired such a lovely project.

Cat and Ghostly Road review - a screenshot showing the painter and the cat together outside their hut

Overall, if you’re as fascinated with folklore, cats, and ghosts as I and the rest of the PT team are, you should definitely give Cat and Ghostly Road a try – it’s a truly special little gem, and has earned a well-deserved spot on our lists of the best cat games, the best ghost games, and the most relaxing games for the foreseeable future. Anyway, I’m gonna go find my cat, kiss him on the head a million times, and hope that he never has to take a trip to the ghost world to save me.