Calico Analysis

Calico proposes us to become a magical girl to manage a cat cafe, a fantastic idea that despite a poor execution keeps what was promised.

A magical girl in charge of a cat cafe . That is how simple is the premise with which Calico is presented , the new game from the American studio Peachy Keen Games, which has just been published on PC, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch under the edition of Whitethorn Digital and Maple Whispering Limited. It is a game of social, animal and hospitality management, a work in which we control our own customizable avatar to put ourselves at the controls of a very special place on a no less peculiar island full of fantasy characters.

 

Peachy Keen Games is made up of only two people and this is practically their first game; This studio has previously worked on other minor works that also pursued this lovable, laid-back aesthetic, and Calico is considered their first major project . Obviously this implies several things: its final state perhaps is not as polished as one would expect, especially in Switch though we’ve played on PC through Steam – and generally they look a rougher tad account , what which sometimes weighs on the experience.

 

 

Calico, the cat cafe run by a magical girl

An experience that begins when we arrive on the island after having customized our avatar in an editor that makes it easier for us to create a magical girl , but also allows us to create other types of characters that are a little further away from that aesthetic. After that initial step, we have to do something similar with the cafeteria : we arrive at the place at its worst, when it is abandoned and devoid of furniture, so what we have to do is choose its decoration style among three possible ones and place the first chairs and tables .

 

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With the premises open, the next step is the one that will occupy the bulk of our daily activity in Calico : collecting animals . Our cafeteria is a cat café , so you need cats to live there as a refuge. Of course, as we move forward we will see that we can not only adopt felines : all the animals on the map can be taken to the cafeteria, and on the island there is such a varied fauna that we can find from crows to capybaras, passing through wolves and polar bears .

 

Our cafeteria does not have much space, but it does have multiple customization options.

Our cafeteria does not have much space, but it does have multiple customization options.

In addition to being in the cafe, these animals can also accompany us on our adventures, letting us take advantage of their advantages : if we hold on to a bird we can plan when jumping from the mountains of the island, for example, while the larger animals will do the trick. as a mount to travel the map faster and unlock new exploration paths.

 

Recadera of the town and friend of the animals

Although coffee is the main thing, the backbone of the whole game, Calico could not be called a social management game if it did not have neighbors who ask us to help them with errands in exchange for doing us a favor . The island is full of other magical girls, in addition to other fantasy beings, who will entrust us with missions to give the game a cyclical packaging: every day we will have something to do, whether we want to or not, and in return we will receive money, furniture, objects or an affinity with those people.

 

On the island of Calico there are characters of all kinds, from other magical girls to fantasy beings such as worker cats.

On the island of Calico there are characters of all kinds, from other magical girls to fantasy beings such as worker cats.

You can’t expect deep system design from Calico : the cafeteria is managed with a cooking minigame, the neighbors gain affinity based on what you cook, and the missions are basically about going from here to there carrying things. Neither are the characters particularly well written – without texts in Spanish , by the way – although there are certain moments of endearing interactions. It’s a very basic game in these senses, perhaps because it focuses all its attention on customizing our character and the cafeteria.

 

And, unlike in other games, the customization of our avatar is available whenever we want a simple touch of the button. The game places special emphasis on allowing us to change our style, leaving us to buy clothes that are renewed every day in a day / night cycle that serves little more than that. You can also buy recipes, furniture and, in general, content to make our own cat cafeteria.

 

To cook we become miniscule in size and throw the ingredients into a magic bowl in which they cook automatically.

To cook we become miniscule in size and throw the ingredients into a magic bowl in which they cook automatically.

From the worst to the best of Calico

At a visual level there is a scale that is never kept in balance : sometimes the game is tremendously beautiful, with landscapes that feel great about that low-poly watercolor style it presents, but others, especially in short distances, leave glimpse a poorer touch than it seems at first; in general it seems that the team has not found a clear aesthetic and sometimes plays in two leagues that do not combine well at all.

 

On the other hand, the menus and the interface are simply ugly . It seems that Peachy Keen Games has tried to keep the adorable flair associated with magical girls in their UI design, but the result is far from fitting that idea and adds a seedy touch to the overall proposal. Everything is rougher than usual, the lines are not well defined and the response is not what is expected. In addition, if we play on a PC with a controller we will see the Xbox 360 controller button guide, a detail that gives a feeling of neglect in this section.

 

You can ride a giant cat while wearing a baby polar bear with a beret on its head, helping to forgive game glitches.

You can ride a giant cat while wearing a baby polar bear with a beret on its head, helping to forgive game glitches.

That feeling is not exclusive to the interface: there are many details that show that the Calico seams are not well stitched , such as the ragdoll physics of the animals, which are too exaggerated, or the collisions of the camera with the objects in the environment. There are many bugs that go beyond the understandable bugs that the game may have; They are errors that start from the design and that will not work for people that this game has to convince.

 

But if you want to enter into this proposal, if you are interested and you like just looking at the images, it is likely that you can forgive all those failures and focus on the good things about Calico , which has them. This game is configured as an endearing space in which to hang out with the animals, play with them and walk around the island with the company of a varied gang of pets. Making friends is easy, buying clothes and furniture too, decorating and cooking have their own game system … Maybe Calico is not the best management game, it may not be the first that comes to mind when we think of this genre, but sure which is one of those works that manages to create affinity with its audience, however concrete it may be.

 

At the top of one of the mountains there is a spa of capybaras that you can pet, pick up or take to your cafeteria.  This, neither more nor less, is ‘Calico’.

At the top of one of the mountains there is a spa of capybaras that you can pet, pick up or take to your cafeteria. This, neither more nor less, is ‘Calico’.

Conclusions

Calico is a very special game developed only by two people with a very clear idea, but perhaps without the necessary means or experience to carry it out . Leaving aside the bugs that it may have and that may be corrected in the future through updates, the final aspect of the game is too crude to be undoubtedly recommended; His proposal is, without a doubt, and the originality with which he carries it out makes him a must-see for those who enjoy both the genre and the aesthetics of magical girls . However, its controls are imprecise, ragdoll physicstoo exaggerated, the texturing is a bit poor and the interface quite uncomfortable. This is the first great game from Peachy Keen Games and, as is obvious, they have fallen into certain errors of this amateurism, does that mean that you cannot enjoy this experience? At all, it is up to each person to set the bar for what things to forgive or sacrifice in favor of entering their proposal; Those who put aside those prejudices will discover an adorable adventure of social management with a high degree of integration in the work and flashes of visual genius .

by Abdullah Sam
I’m a teacher, researcher and writer. I write about study subjects to improve the learning of college and university students. I write top Quality study notes Mostly, Tech, Games, Education, And Solutions/Tips and Tricks. I am a person who helps students to acquire knowledge, competence or virtue.

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