Calico – A Wonderfully Wholesome Community Sim with lots of Cats!

Calico - Key Art

“It’s worth getting out of bed some mornings. And it’s a pleasure, especially if the pale winter sun is out and shining, to delight with your lover in the urban gift of your favourite café. Fresh coffee, steaming croissants, and the Sunday papers. Ah!” – Andrei Codrescu


Calico is an adorable slice-of-life community simulation game in which players are tasked with running the town’s cat café! It needs to be decorated, furnished and filled with cute animals and tasty snacks in order to get business booming once more!

Developer: Peachy Keen Games
Released: 15th December 2020
Price: £9.29 – £9.99
Engine: Unity

Platforms: Windows, Mac, Xbox One/Series X|S, Switch
Available on: Steam, Epic,, Humble, Microsoft, eShop

Calico Screenshot - Map


Calico introduces the player to their cat café by having them decorate and furnish it with basic items as well as making a recipe but managing the venue is only part of the game. The other main objective is to clear the paths to different areas of the star-shaped map which is done gradually by doing quests for the plethora of townsfolk. Each NPC has three quests available and they involve things such as delivering items, making specific recipes, gathering escaped rainbow-coloured rabbits and learning to fly! This is a really fun aspect of the gameplay, especially since the NPCs have distinct and interesting personalities and appearances. Whilst there are dialogue choices, conversations seem to be risk-free and do not impact the course of the game overall.

Time passes in-game and sleeping is one way to save but is not necessary, it is possible to explore and play throughout the night without too much hindrance beyond some NPCs being unavailable or in different locations. Sometimes it is necessary to wait until the next day to hand in a quest but this can be overcome by sleeping.

Calico begins with a very detailed and comprehensive character design screen that lets players fully customise their avatars with minimal restrictions. A lot of the fundamental appearance choices are modified with sliders and colour pickers giving a lot of freedom, with more limited choices for other aspects, such as clothes. This was a great way to start the experience and was is a good indicator of the accessibility and diversity within the game. However, whilst we see characters from different genders, races and sexualities there is a distinct lack of elderly characters. It is not possible to age the player character much in the customisation screen and the only ‘old’ character in the game, Poppy, has a relatively youthful appearance.

Calico Screenshot - Character Creation Screen

Cooking is a whole event in Calico. Players are shrunk and must complete a series of tasks such as collecting ingredients, mixing dough, cutting cookies and baking things whilst in miniature form. These minigames are unpunishing but do score the player on performance and time which gives the end product a rank of gold, silver or bronze which will in turn affect the price it can command. This adds an optional challenge and competitive aspect for those that want it. There are three different food types; sweet, savoury and fancy and the cafe can stock six different items at any one time. Once an item is created, there will be a fixed number of ranked iterations available for customers to buy, after that the stock is infinite but ‘stale’ and will only fetch a basic price. Recipes are either bought or received as quest awards.

Another aspect of Calico is exploration. Unlocking new sections of the map brings new scenery, people and quests. The map can get a little sizable towards the end but purchasable utility potions such as ones that allow the player to change the time of day or return home can minimise excessive travel. Having said that the environments are pleasing and there are plenty of things to do in each new area. One such thing is animal collecting and the island is covered in critters and creatures to meet and befriend. All animals in the game can be petted and picked up and can also be assigned to either the café or the party. Five creatures can be in the party at any time and the café has room for ten animals. There are also potions that can change the appearance of animals in fun and sometimes silly ways as well as an enlargement potion that allows animals to be mounted and ridden.

Calico Screenshot - Cooking

Narrative and Styling

There is a limited narrative that runs through Calico and it centres around the player’s character and the ways in which they return the cat café to its former glory! The protagonist takes over the establishment after their aunt goes travelling and must fill it with the right critters and food to keep the townsfolk happy! There are also narrative elements to be found in the quests carried out for the other residents as we learn of their backstories, interests and relationships with each other.

Calico has a unique illustrative cartoon art style that mixes soft textures and a distinct vibrant pastel colour palette with harsher outlines giving it a really beautiful appearance. There are potions available that will change the look of the whole world, such as only showing the linework or other kooky variations. These are fun but not ideal for playing. The music changes depending on which area the player is in and consists mostly of piano and lo-fi tracks with twinkling sounds and gentle vocals. This really fits the casual themes and relaxing feel of the game but does get a bit repetitive in the areas where most time is spent, such as Heart village. The game includes some lovely ambient sound effects that help bring the different environments to life as well as some really cute animal noises!

Calico Screenshot - Exploring and Quests


Calico can be completed (with achievements) within about ten hours and offers wholesome, varied and fun-filled gameplay that pulls from a range of genres, including RPGs, management and building games and life sims. Overall, the feel of the game is very calm and relaxing and it seems like the developers have gone above and beyond to make the experience as stress-free as possible. From the soft aesthetic, gently uplifting sound design and casual gameplay, everything is crafted to work in tandem and create a cosy and comfortable experience. Even the cooking, arguably the most challenging part of the game, since scoring highly is often quite difficult, is very forgiving and does not impede casual players. I thoroughly enjoyed Calico and highly recommend it to anyone looking for a cute and laid-back gaming experience.

If you enjoyed Calico, you might also like these cat-themed game reviews:
Cattails – An Adorable Open-World Cat Survival RPGPurrfect Date – Romance and Research on Cat IslandA Castle Full of Cats – Can You Find the Cursed Felines?

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