Last week I wrote about my own personal disinterest and investment in most app games you download to your smart phone. I rarely use my phone to play games on it and the few I have decided to keep are most likely wasting space on the low chance I may actually feel like playing some of these again. I pretty much swore to myself I wouldn’t download another app game again until a very close friend of mine convinced me to give Neko Atsume a shot.
Developed by Hit-Point for iOS and Android devices, Neko Atsume: Kitty Collector is a game about collecting cats. No joke. This is the only real purpose of the game. You start off with a yard and are given a little bit of gray fish and gold fish (the game’s currency) to buy food and the cheapest toys to attract the cats. You’re then prompted to leave the food and toys in any available spots around the yard. Once you do, you’re done and can close out of the app and check back in a little bit to see what kind of cats show up. It’s that simple.
I first heard about Neko Atsume when I saw a few friends post a few photos on Facebook of their yard filled with the cutest animated cats I’ve ever seen. I also encountered an article Kotaku wrote about the game. In many ways it’s almost hard to call this a game when it’s really a game about nothing. As cute the animations are and watching cats do adorable things with the toys or pillows you leave out for them, I really wasn’t interested in downloading this game. So why did I finally cave and download an app game about nothing? It stems from a conversation I had a month back with my best friend about Pokemon Go.
My friend plays Pokemon Go and while he’s not obsessed with the game per say, he plays it often enough to have a little more investment in it than I would. I explained to him why I simply didn’t want to get in on the Pokemon Go craze and cited how it’s too much of a time investment to go around catching Pokemon in the neighborhood. I also mentioned how I’m not really playing a ton of app games anyway. He made a case for trying out Neko Atsume, which is sort of like Pokemon without all the work. It’s a low investment app game and one I can check once a week or a month later if I wanted. I guess the cuteness of the kitties finally got to me and I downloaded the game.
After having this game on my phone for about a month now, I can say I find myself casually addicted to it. I open the app about three times a day to see what cats came to visit, fill the food bowls, and occasionally switch out toys for newer ones. Every cat that visits you gives you more fish currency, the gray and gold ones, to buy more stuff to lay out in the yard. There’s even a yard expansion that costs a certain amount of gold fishes to purchase, but collecting the fish currency is a lot easier than one might think. Neko Atsume also has rare cats that will visit your humble abode if you lay out certain items that will attract these cats specifically. For example, leaving out a baseball will get you a visit by Joe DiMeowgio or leaving almost any kind of food out will earn you a visit from a white fat cat named Tubbs, who actually reminds me of the Pokemon Snorlax when it lies on its back, big belly protruding in the air, after eating a good meal.
Neko Atsume is a silly game with no real purpose other than to collect animated kitties. I definitely wouldn’t recommend this game as a must play, unless you don’t mind having an occasional app game with no real purpose other than to check on it maybe once in a blue moon when you don’t really want to play something. But for a meaningless game, I find myself somewhat cheered seeing these cats when I need to take my mind off a particularly hard day at work. They’re just cats being cats with the sweetest smiles on their faces and in a weird way it warms my heart.