Cute and quirky games are just one of the reasons people love Japan. Their latest game import by Hitpoint, Neko Atsume, available on iTunes and Google Play, recently became an obsession for many even though it was released October 20, 2014. In 2015 and 2016, Facebook groups, Reddit, and Twitter feeds dedicated to the adorably addictive game emerged, and the app became one of the top-rated games by GameSpot despite the game’s simplicity.
The creator, Yutaka Takasaki, even admitted he doesn’t understand the game’s popularity, but that he created it with children in mind so they could operate the game without a lot of “investment and time” (CNN Japan, 2015). Whatever the intentions, it turned into a winning formula that yielded over 10 million downloads as of December 2015.
For fans of the popular 1990s toys Tomogotchi or Gigapets, Neko Atsume would be right up your alley. The kittens need fed, and they need toys in order to be coaxed into your yard, so this is similar to how both of the aforementioned work: You need to care for the cats. Unlike the aforementioned games, you don’t have to clean up messes and the cats don’t die. The game doesn’t end.
Neko Atsume’s objective is simple: Buy toys and food, set it out, attract cats. The more toys you put out, the more kittens you collect. Users purchase toys with gold and silver niboshi, which can be purchased as an in-app purchase (.99- $3.99 USD), or the kittens give them to you after they interact with the toys. The latter makes the game child-friendly because real money doesn’t have to be involved.
What’s nice about Neko Atsume is how it doesn’t require a lot of thought or time. For a minute or two periodically throughout the day, all you have to do is open the app, check in, then go about your day. One thing to keep in mind is the more you take care of your cats, the more they stop by and the higher chance you have of getting gifts early on from them.
In all, there are 49 cats users can lure to their yard, with some of those cats being rare. Different objects lure different cats, so it takes some playing around to figure out which toys and food attract what. For example, the cat metropolis will attract elusive cats like Peaches and Bob the Cat, but other rare cats may stay away from it. This is part of the fun!
While the cats visit, make sure to capture images of them, especially the rare cats. Each kitty has a “catbook” that needs filled, adding another layer of cute. Each Catbook can store 18 images, while the free album holds 72 photos.
As you continue to gain more cats in your yard, you’ll have options to upgrade your garden or expand in order to house more cats.
While Neko Atsume is fun for all ages, young kids and some older audiences may enjoy it the most because of it’s simple-to-use platform. Users don’t have to learn a lot of complex methods to complete the game. Neko Atsume is just a cute, time-waster that has a lot of charm.
Now, if we can just get a Nintendo 3DS version that involves playing with the cats, building a kitty city, and unlocking more cats and toys…
Neko Atsume is available for free on the iTunes app store and Google Play.