Top Critic Average
The fluffy pastel-candy aesthetic and charming setting of Calico is soured by simplistic gameplay.
The worst thing I can say about Calico is that it's undeveloped. While the entire experience can be described as relaxing, running the cat café isn't all that interesting and most of the tasks you'll complete for island residents boil down to the same two or three objective types. Anytime you're doing something other than those two activities, it's rather aimless. While its basic premise doesn't have a strong enough foundation to carry the experience, Calico manages to luck out in that its undeveloped nature and general wonkiness add to its charm rather than subtract from it. The "cute factor" does a lot of heavy lifting, and I could almost argue a lot of the design elements here "think outside the box," but I worry I'd be giving too much credit to a game that's just not entirely well-made.
Calico is a wonderfully weird and whimsical game. With a few tweaks to the rendering of the game, a few glitch fixes, and the ability to customise the controls, it would be an ideal island to visit for a few hours at a time. If only I could get my Animal Crossing island to have the same atmosphere…
Such was my time with Calico. The troubles I had were as unobtrusive and gentle as my enjoyment. You’re so laid back, that something like floaty controls or vanishing walls is barely an inconvenience. Conversely, the soft pastel skin of this game is difficult to get a grip on. Players looking for a more involved life sim will come up short, but if comfy gaming is your aim, you’ve struck gold. Calico is a brief, blissful vacation in a world of gentle magic and cute companions. If you’re looking to just relax for a little while, Calico will be exactly your speed.
Calico is still a little too buggy for us to recommend. It's fun to ride a huge cat off a cliff in an ice cream sundae outfit, but less fun when you get stuck in said cliff and your face turns inside-out. There's a lot of love in this game, but it doesn't quite outweigh the issues – and given that we've already seen more than one patch issued since launch, we're not convinced the developer can pull this one back from the brink.
Run and design your own delightful cat cafe in Calico, the latest from the two-person team at Whitehorn Digital. This review covers the release version in anticipation of a critical 1.1 console update. But with that in mind, there's still plenty to love.
The game tries so hard to be Animal Crossing but fails miserably in every aspect.
What sounded like the combination of a management game, Animal Crossing, and The Sims turned out to be barely influenced by all three. If you’re looking for a relaxing Switch game where you can collect clothing, decorate your home, and hang out with animals, there is already the perfect game for you: Animal Crossing New Horizons. If you’ve already played it to the point of needing new joysticks, then there are plenty of other indie alternatives to pick up before giving Calico consideration.
Both a tranquil and amusing game that has its moment of natural charm in certain gameplay and narrative elements, but falls short when that charm feels forced. The lack of quality in its visuals and quest lines hinder it from being a great game, but still worth a look for younger audiences.
The latest Indie Showcase for Nintendo Switch revealed that Calico was coming to the handheld console. Though I didn’t watch it myself, another member of the Rapid Reviews team instantly branded it as a “Chloe type of game”, and he was not wrong! I had actually played the demo on Steam, had the game in my wishlist and followed its development on Twitter.