Cattails is a game where you play as a cat. There are other cats. They live in colonies that you can join. At the start of a new game, you get a cutscene showing the pre-made backstory for your cat, a pet adopted and later abandoned at the side of the road in the middle of nowhere.
You can choose an eye color on the customization screen and pick from the starting fur colors, and type in a name for your cat. From there, you are dropped into the tutorial.
A black-and-white cat named Coco will greet your cat and ask what they’re doing there. Upon learning that your cat is an abandoned pet, they (all cats in this game are ungendered to make the cat romance easier) will run you through a quick tutorial to teach you the basics of foraging for herbs, hunting for prey, and fighting other cats. At the end of the tutorial, Coco will tell you about the three colonies in the area and have you pick one out to join.
The first colony Coco will bring up, and the first one made for the game is the Forest colony, which, as the name suggests, is located in the forest. If you ask, Coco will tell you about the other two colonies: the Mountain Domain and the Mystic Colony. Like the Forest Colony, the Mountain Domain’s name gives away its location, but the Mystic Colony’s capital is not as magical as the name suggests as this colony lives in a swamp.
After that, the game opens up somewhat. You can go almost anywhere in the game world, picking herbs and fights and catching prey. This game has a leveling system for skills, where any exp you get can be allocated anywhere you like. Active skills are activated with a button press for an immediate effect; all are bought or unlocked and can be leveled up with exp to extend their length or shorten their cooldown.
Four passive skills affect your everyday activities: Foraging, Hunting, Combat, and Swimming. All passive skills have small incremental effects on gameplay as you level them up, but Hunting and Foraging also have positive effects that are gained when you reach a certain level.
At level 10 Foraging, all nearby herbs that are harvestable show up as yellow dots on your mini-map. At level 5+ in Hunting, you gain colored scent arrows that point to nearby prey when you are crouching, and at level 10 Hunting, you gain red dots on your mini-map to show where nearby prey are.
There is the main questline given to you by Coco; you are free to ignore it, although gaining the ability to make your own colony after it is complete may tempt you.
I had some issues with this when I made my move to Linux. The first problem is that the native Linux version is not the same as the Native windows version. At some point, they decided not to update it any further. I chose to use proton on the windows version to play the up-to-date version I was familiar with. One feature is the task board, which has a quest available each day. The rewards you can spend task points on are pretty good and reduce the gameplay’s repetitiveness, which I like in a zen sort of way, but it still gets boring at times.
I needed to use a custom proton version to get my controller to work correctly, which was essential to me since I find the controller far easier on my hands compared to using a keyboard.
All in all, I like cattails. I wouldn’t be writing an article about it if I didn’t. If this flavor of game is one you’ll enjoy, I recommend trying it out. But if you are a Linux user, you’ll run into some problems, and I’ve done my best to go over them and their solutions here.