Remember Tamagotchis? Neopets? Nintendogs + Cats? Forget all that. Neko Atsume (Kitty Collector) is the mobile game that reflects its subjects to the letter. The setup is simple: you have a yard where you can leave food and/or various goodies. Over time, cats eventually come, and if they like what you’ve left them (food, cat trees, swishy feathers, and a pile of leaves) then they’ll leave you sardines which you can use to buy bigger and better things to leave for them next time. Rinse and repeat. Over the course of the “game,” you will encounter various common cats as well as more elusive novelty cats like Joe DiMeowgio and Guy Furry.
The English translation hit the web in October of 2015 (available for iOS and Android) and has recently become this cat lover’s favorite mobile game. Unlike other mobile games that really shove the in app purchases in your face, the pace of Neko Atsume is appropriately feline. Sure, you could shell out your own cash for sardines, or you can just take it all as it comes, snapping photos of the cats and seeing what kinds of mementos they might leave you (I got a bird feather!). You can even hit the web and get swept up in the Neko Atsume theories (Is Tubbs good or pure evil?) or even read reactions from geeky personalities enjoying the quirky game. There’s something about the slow burn of Neko Atsume, the aimlessness that feels true to cat behavior in real life. I haven’t bothered to see if anyone has cracked the method behind the madness (how to get the rare cats, which cats like which toys, etc.), but I doubt there is one. We love cats because of their delightful contradictions and Neko Atsume fits the bill and wastes your time purrrffectly. Meow indeed.
Who are your favorite cats in Neko Atsume? Do you rename your cats? Would you play a dog version of this game? Sound off in the comments below!