Cats, the true connoisseurs of comfort. You’ll learn so much about the nature of these creatures in cat-collecting game Neko Atsume. Things like: your cat is always going to try to fit into any space it can, proving the age-old theory of “If it fits, I sits.” Once in a while, your cat will also bring you the most peculiar gifts as tokens of appreciation. Just accept the gift no matter how useless it is — it means a lot to them.
Designed by Japanese games studio Hit-Point, let’s just say the mobile game is a cross between The Sims and Tamagotchi, and Taylor Swift collecting her friends. Players are given an empty backyard, and your job in this daunting game is to feed the cat with good food, keep them happy by buying and arranging cat toys to play with, and occasionally snapping pictures of them for their portfolio. Neko Atsume teaches us that we will never understand cats, and that’s okay. Also, the game is all in Japanese.
How Do I Understand Anything?
Don’t worry at all about your Japanese language disabilities. You’ll be ushered into a tutorial once the game loads. Chill, don’t panic — just tap on the moving arrows to move forward. You won’t be able to buy any of the items until you’ve completed the tutorial (which shows you how to buy stuff). Once you’re done, you’ll be given the corner of a garden. It’ll be unfurnished, so you can work your cat wooing skills.
On a side note, if you’re in a private space, keep the volume up. Neko Atsume has the cutest gameplay music.
What Can I Buy?
To get your kitty haven up and running, you gotta buy some stuff. Leave out some food and toys for them to play with. There’re two types of currency here: grey sardines and gold sardines. You start out with the amount given to you, so spend as you please, but we advise you to buy food first.
Tap the food bowl to top up food or replace existing food. It runs out pretty quickly, so remember to check every few hours to refill. Once you’ve got their tummies settled, here’s the fun part: toys.
There’s a wide range of toys available: plastic bags, the classic ball of yarn, scratching posts, and fancy things like poofy pillows and parasols. To buy them, just tap the paw print icon at the top of your screen and select…the shopping bag. See, told you no Japanese is needed.
With Great Power Comes Great Responsibilities
So here’s the dilemma: buying more gold sardine products will get you more love from cats (they come back often, sometimes bearing totally useless, but cute gifts), but gold sardines can be difficult to earn back from your cat patrons. We recommend you save up your gold sardines, maybe buy 2-3 gold products, then save up the rest for that room expansion…
Eventually, your cat garden may look like this:
Some Extra Catnip
Sometimes, regular cats show their love by bringing gifts. It’s nothing you can actually use in the gameplay itself: things like a seashell earring, or remnants of their favourite toy. Its cute and thoughtful, and dammit — why am I trying to please these cartoon cats so much?
Snap photos of your visitors as well, by selecting the paw print icon again to keep track of the toys they like and how many visits they’ve made. These social media-friendly cats love it when you snap a picture, and will ‘meow’ loudly after you’ve done so. The cats come with Japanese names as well, but you can rename them in the cat album.
Have A Little Patience
One thing about Neko Atsume is that it is a waiting game, but it’s really worth it when you see a full house, and then collecting payment after that. Like I said, it takes quite a while to save them gold sardines. It’s a great game if you’re busy and don’t mind checking in once in a while on the game’s progress.
Collect ‘Em All
Not all cats are the same, which is why the photo album feature is great to see what their favourite things are. Sometimes a ‘special edition’ cat turns up — there’s a pirate cat, a stationmaster Tama cat, an Egyptian sphinx and more. I’ve only unlocked baseball cat and the fat greedy one, but in time: all the cats will belong to me.