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Quilts and Cats of Calico review — A cosy puzzle game for cat lovers

Quilts and Cats of Calico
Image: Monster Couch

There’s a chance you’ve already heard of Calico. This cosy game started out life as a physical board game — a puzzle game playable solo or with up to four players.

Essentially, all you’re doing is placing coloured tiles in order to make a quilted blanket. But with a lot to consider — patterns, colours, the preferences of resident cats (yes, really) — it’s more fiendish than it looks. It’s a wholesome sort of challenge, though, and if you’re looking for a cosy puzzle, it’s the sort of thing you’ll try out time and time again.

With the release of Quilts and Cats of Calico, available from today on Steam, that cosy board game is now available digitally. Despite having a slightly different name, this is an official digitisation of the board game, and great care has been made to ensure the experience is as close as it could be. The rulebook is exactly the same, and the game plays out perfectly on a computer screen. It’s like it was made for it.

Quilts and Cats of Calico
Image: Monster Couch

Don’t worry if you’ve never played the board game version of Calico, though. Quilts and Cats of Calico caters just as much to newcomers as it does veterans of the game. You can jump straight into a single-player game to hone your skills, or take it online to play against real players. Or, if you want to start from scratch, there’s a fully-fledged story mode to enjoy.

We’d probably recommend the story mode as a starting point for newcomers. Telling a cute story, illustrated with beautiful animations of a cast of whimsical characters, it teaches you the basics of Calico over a course of short, targeted games. To begin with, you’ll only have to deal with a small number of tiles, and achieve one particular pattern. Over time, more of the game’s rules are introduced before you’ve got everything you need to beat the game with a flourish.

Calico board game box

Calico board game – $41.99 at Amazon

If you want to leave your screen behind and play the original version of Calico, it’s available now on Amazon US for $41.99, including everything you need for up to four people to play.

Although even if you’re an expert player, the story mode is so wholesome, we’d recommend giving it a go all the same. It introduces a few variations to the rules here and there, so might not always be what you expect, too. It tells the story of a quaint little town filled with cat-lovers, having you climb the ranks as a quilt-maker as you progress.

As for how to play Calico itself? It’s complex, but easy to learn. To begin with, you’ll choose your starting tiles — blank pieces of quilt that have certain requirements. They’ll ask you to place a particular number of colours and patterns beside of it. For example, a starting tile with “AAA-BBB” wants three sets of tiles, each with a different colour or pattern. Manage to fit the requirement of both colours and patterns, and you’ll score highly.

Quilts and Cats of Calico
Image: Monster Couch

The cats roaming around your game board also have requirements, too. They’ll have favourite patterns, and if you manage to place a set number of matching pattern tiles together (or in a design determined by the cat), you’ll get bonus points. You’ll also get points for matching three patterned tiles together.

If you’re playing with others, each player has their own board. Ultimately, the player with the highest score wins. It is a competitive game, then, but not in the sense that it’s a race or you can sabotage each other — well, other than taking tiles they need to complete a pattern, perhaps. Still, it’s not the frustrating, aggressive type of competition: Quilts and Cats of Calico is chill and relaxing down to its very core.

With several different modes and solo and online play at your fingertips, Quilts and Cats of Calico is the type of game you can go back to again and again. Challenging yet wholesome, we love its unique brand of puzzle that manages to test your brain while also providing an ideal tool for relaxation. Whether you’re familiar with the Calico board game or not, this is a PC puzzler worth checking out.

Quilts and Cats of Calico review – GameSpew’s score

This review of Quilts and Cats of Calico has been facilitated with a code provided by the publisher. It’s available on PC.
Editor in chief // Kim's been into video games since playing Dizzy on her brother's Commodore 64 as a nipper. She'll give just about anything a go, but she's got a particular soft spot for indie adventures. If she's not gaming, she'll be building Lego, reading a thriller, watching something spooky or... asleep. She does love to sleep.