The Curious Tale of the Stolen Pets tells the story of a cat named Henry and Tiddles, his robotic pet dog. When Henry’s neighbor wakes up with her pets missing from their usual spots in front of the fireplace, it becomes Henry’s business to find them! As players make their way through this whimsical hand-drawn world, they will meet all sorts of clever characters who will help Henry on his journey, including a giant pink cat called Mitten. This game is made for all ages and works well with or without hand controllers. It should be noted, however, that there are several teleportation-based puzzles throughout the game; these were originally designed to be solved with hand controllers (or even 3DoF motion controls).
Early in the game, players will learn how to pick up items like pencils and other small objects that can then be used to solve various environmental puzzles. These initial interactions are done through natural-feeling arm movements; when approaching an object of interest, Henry’s hands will change into reaching animations while grasping either air or whatever item he has selected. When travelling further distances using teleportation spots scattered throughout the environment, however, these animations change to a single wave-like motion for both hands.
Overall, the game’s puzzle mechanics work well and encourage exploration of Henry’s apartment and surrounding neighborhood. The main narrative is told through cut scenes and character dialogue; players who prefer full immersion may find this aspect lacking as there are no real voice interactions throughout the entire experience.
On the other hand, those who enjoy casual conversation will appreciate how well Henry talks about his situation to anyone who will listen (and even those unwilling to do so). From time to time as you’re exploring there may be someone around with something important to say about Tiddles or another pet in town that has gone missing too. It really feels like talking to people, and there were a few times I actually got a word or two in edgewise with a short-tempered fellow who didn’t want to talk.
I found the graphics and sound effects very satisfying as well, though there were a couple of audio bugs all throughout my playthrough that slightly decreased the immersion factor. If you pay close attention, you’ll notice things like Henry’s voice lines not matching his mouth movements (or lack thereof), doors opening further away than they seem like they should, etc. This is most likely an issue with emulation rather than something directly related to this game; however, it does impact how believable the world feels when you see these types of issues.
All over the place are collectables for players to find: pencils, toys, etc. There are also several cat toys hidden throughout the world to find at any time, which will unlock bonus content like concept art and videos in Henry’s apartment.
There were a few other slight issues I found with The Curious Tale of the Stolen Pets that should be mentioned; for one, there is no way to tell how much battery life remains on your hand controllers when playing this game (outside of pressing Y before you start). When accessing the HUD menu through the PlayStation button (or whatever your equivalent might be), you’ll see things like localization information (which can’t currently be changed) or gameplay settings–neither of which exist here. It would have been nice if these options had been included so players did not have to use real-world menus to know their own preferences. Finally, one controller kept registering itself as being held upside-down at times; this was not a problem for me because I’m used to holding the same orientation as Henry, but if you play couch co-op or want to switch hands at any time it can be jarring until you figure out what’s happening and how to fix it.
This is such an adorable game with such lovely art and characters! I can’t wait to see more of these quests that are all different little story packs like this one. If you’re looking for something more interactive than just watching TV, then check this game out!
Shelley really enjoyed her time with The Curious Tale of the Stolen Pets on Hercules Quest, using 2 hand controllers and standing up throughout the experience. She completed the entire game in ~2 hours with no glitches or problems to report!
I really liked this one so I’m giving it a low score and not recommending anyone play it!