SNAP Review – Cat Tower
Cat Tower is adorable piled on top of adorable – literally! What do you say about a game when the entire box is covered with super adorable cat art?
It’s not just super adorable cat art, but the box actually unfolds to become a papercraft cat. It’s so cute!
I mentioned adorable piled on top of adorable, and I meant it. Cat Tower is a super cute cat stacking game designed by Aza Chen and published by Renegade Game Studios. It’s a family game for everyone age 6+, and a game lasts 20 minutes or so.
We said it was adorable, let’s dig into it. How is the Art in Cat Tower?
Well – In one word, adorable! The game is made up of 42 cat cards in seven different types. These cards are designed to be bent or folded into thirds, kind of like a cat with front and rear legs.
There’s a die and some circular cat tokens, and twelve “Fatty Catty” cards (thicker cardboard that stays flat).
Everything is cleverly designed to look the part on all sides. Bend the front and back legs of the cat, then flip it over and see its cute little tummy!
In Cat Tower, deal out seven of these bent cat cards to each player. You can drop the count if you want a shorter game.
Put one cat in the middle of the table to start the stack. The youngest player goes first, and play proceeds clockwise.
On a player’s turn they roll the cat die. There are five icons on the six faces (one is repeated). Each of these icons directs the player to do different things, like:
- Put a cat on the tower
- Put a cat on the tower upside down
- Take a Fatty Catty card (thicker cards that aren’t bent) and put it on the tower. Then flip a cat token, put it on the Fatty Catty, and perform the action on it (which can include putting more cats on the tower).
If the card the player is trying to stack falls, they must take that card back into their hand along with another (extra) cat card. If any tokens fall, they take *another* cat card.
The first player to get rid of their cards wins!
We were over the moon with the adorableness and the cleverness of the design. We appreciated it from opening the box and seeing that you could turn the box into a cat that would stand on the table.
With everything so smartly designed artistically, we expected to see some clever mechanics that would put a fun and satisfying twist on this genre.
Reading the rules, we expected Cat Tower to be an adorable, simple, fun dexterity game. And it was adorable and simple!
But we were surprised, and disappointed, at how fun it wasn’t.
We talk a lot about the importance of agency in games – it’s important to have choices. With dexterity games, that importance is mitigated by skill involved (in this case, stacking cats).
But we really struggled with Cat Tower because the only choice you ever have is when you get the Cat Paw icon: you choose a player to perform the stacking. Every other option in this game is completely rote. You make no decisions.
To make it worse, there is a huge amount of downtime in this game. We are a family of five, and it was really difficult to get around the table quickly while playing.
We all had to cluster around one side of the table because we all had to reach the same tower.
Since the turns themselves were spelled out for you, it wasn’t a lot of fun to sit and watch three or four other people get told what to do by a random die roll before it was your chance to receive instructions again.
We asked our kids about what they liked and didn’t like about Cat Tower. Claire was short and to the point. She asked me, “what does Cat Tower do that Rhino Hero doesn’t do better?”. We didn’t have an answer for her.
Cat Tower is very cute, and artistically very clever, but unfortunately that’s where the shine fades for us.
If you really love adorable cats and silly dexterity games, and you don’t have any stacking games already, this one might be worth a look. But there are lots of other cat-themed games out there. And you can find better dexterity games to test your fine motor skills too.
Powered mostly by the art and design, we’re giving Cat Tower from Renegade Game Studios 2 out of 5 cat paws.
Find it on Amazon or ask for it at your local game store.
The Family Gamers received a copy of Cat Tower from Renegade Game Studios for this review.
This post contains affiliate links, which do not change your price, but help support The Family Gamers.
- Cat Paws
Number of Players: 2-6
Age Range: 6+
Playtime: 20 minutes or less