Title card of Doctor Cat

Are Jigsaws the key to healing your trauma? Doctor Cat is here to find out – Review

Did anyone ever sit down to do a jigsaw puzzle and think “Boy I could do with some trauma while I try and do this”? If so, then the Doctor Cat has you covered!

Doctor Cat is a jigsaw game at its heart but framed as, you are the titular Doctor, a psychologist, and the jigsaws are images of the patient’s trauma, while the therapy goes on in the background.

Oh, and they’re all cats.

Doctor Cat in his office

Pretty simple right? The gameplay has a tile swap style formula with it being a six by six grid on easy and progressing up with difficulty to eight by eight and so on. However, even if you enjoy this style of game I cannot recommend the title for a number of reasons.

The most glaring is the navigation. When you swap a tile, the selection cursor doesn’t stay where it was instead moving with the piece. Say I selected a piece at the top and swapped it with a bottom piece, the cursor should stay at the bottom. Instead, the cursor moves to the top, the initial selection.

puzzle of a cat gambling

This gave me no end of frustration as I’d constantly lose my place. The colour of the highlighted piece also blended in with some images adding to my frustration.

When a certain percentage of the puzzle was solved the story would continue so I would instinctively press a button to advance text. However, it doesn’t work this way and instead, I would end up accidentally moving a piece.

Most infuriatingly, the game didn’t have any save function. I quit the game (making sure I went to the main menu) and assumed there was an autosave as there was no option for manual. When I booted back up all progress was gone and had to replay the previous puzzles to gain access to the later ones.

a cat scared in the city

With a total of twelve levels, the game is short and although it does offer a hard mode after completion I found no reason to put myself through it.

As for the patients’ stories, well I can summarise them. The patient has a traumatic experience, Doctor Cat asks for the story, the patient self-realises what needs to be done to heal, and Doctor Cat agrees.

Having gone through therapy myself this is almost insulting. I know it’s not meant to be realistic but if you’re gonna frame your game around psychological issues at least have some respect.

jumbled puzzle

The artwork is fine if a little amateurish and that’s about the only thing I can say about it. There is one music track which is pretty upbeat but will get grating after a while and is completely at odds with the subject matter.

Doctor Cat is a game with an identity crisis. It wants to be a cute puzzle game, but I found myself getting triggered more than charmed. I appreciate what they were trying to do, but when your store description has better writing than your game, you might have a priority issue.

3/10 star rating

Publisher: Afil Games

Developer: Headway games

Platforms: Steam, PS5, Xbox, Switch






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