Two nights ago, I opened up the Apps Store on my iPad to complete some updates. While I was on the Featured home page, I noticed an app with a white kitty on it called “Neko Atsume” in the Editors’ Favorites section. Naturally, being hopelessly obsessed with cats, I was curious. I clicked on the app details, and installed the app. Neko Atsume is now my new favorite cat game.
How it works:
When the player begin the game, a tutorial will pop up. This tutorial explains that the goal of the game is to lay out what I like to call “kitty bait” (toys, treats, food, etc.), and wait for a cat to show up in your virtual yard. That’s it. The currency used to purchase the kitty bait are fishes and gold fishes. Gold fishes obviously cost more and are in short supply.
When the player taps the menu in the upper left-hand corner, there are several options to choose from. The player will have to go to the shop first to purchase an enticing red rubber ball to place out in the yard. Once the player places the ball in a particular area in the yard, they will have the opportunity to fill up a food dish with “Thrifty Bits.” When all the kitty bait has been placed, then it’s time to play the waiting game.
My first cat didn’t show itself in my yard until last night. Cats can come and go without the player ever seeing them in their yard; only when a cat is present in the yard can the player take pictures and add them to the Catbook. The Catbook also informs the player of which cats have visited, and which cats have been present in the yard while the player is there.
Other aspects of the game:
Along with the gameplay, there is a shop where the player can buy all kinds of kitty bait, the Catbook, (which acts like a Pokédex of sorts), the “Goodies” kitty bait inventory, accept gifts from the cats who have visited, and a camera to take pictures of your fur-iends.
The player can place as many goodies as they want into their yard to attract kitties. They can also buy some pretty cool things from the shop. The products vary from food, to treats, to toys, to cushions, and even cat condos. The products can be ordinary or luxurious, which is where the gold fishes come into play. Unfortunately for me, some of the products offered are so stinking cute, I just want someone to shut up and take my fishes.
Without the feline visitors, the player cannot earn more fishes. It is imperative that the player attracts cats to their yard to earn more of this currency in order to buy more kitty bait. In turn, the more kitty bait placed, the more kitties will come into their yard. KITTY CAPITALISM!
Is it fun?
Honestly, yes. I like waiting for new cats to arrive. I had been anticipating my first cat to stop by all day. I got home from work yesterday, checked my iPad, and saw that my first kitty—named Tabitha—was playing with the red rubber ball I had placed by the food. Half an hour later, I had placed a cardboard box in the yard, and gained another cat. Another 20 minutes later, a third cat visited. Before I went to bed last night, a black and white cat named Spot stopped by. This might not sound trhilling, but I am in love with this game.
Also, I don’t mind the fact that it’s slow-paced. It could be a game you keep on at work, and check every so often. Like I said, I love the feeling of anticipation it gives. When I first began to play, I thought that I had made a big mistake by downloading the game. I thought that it would take forever to get a cat. Once I got used to waiting, the game became more fun. Just like if you were trying to get an actual cat into your own yard, it takes patience. But the reward for being patient is cats, and that’s my favorite reward.
So, if you would like to try a unique game, and you’re also a fan of cats, then I recommend Neko Atsume. The game hearkens back to those Pokémon days, giving off a sense of nostalgia with maximum cute overload. Also, it’s FREE! Why not give it a try?
Life was meant to be lived nerdily, so what are you waiting for?
Note: all images of gameplay, except for the Featured Image, are screen captures taken of my own gameplay. The Featured Image can be found here.