Neko Atsume: The App Turning Crazy Cat People Into Crazy Gamers

06/01/2016 10:21 AM AEDT | Updated January 6, 2016 10:21
Neko Atsume

Crazy about cats? Then you might like to download Neko Atsume.

Developed by Hit-Point, the Japanese single player mobile game launched back in late 2014, though has picked up major momentum in recent months after it was translated into English in October 2015. Boasting well over 10 million downloads, the game won a CEDEC Award for best game design.

Akin to our childhood Tamagotchis, Neko Atsume is a slow burn. Essentially a game of patience, your task as player is to coax cats into your yard by laying out food, toys and treats. Cats will come and go as they fancy -- not unlike real life felines.

Visiting kitties bring gifts in the way of gold or silver fish as a token of their appreciation for the food they eat or toys they play with. You collect said fish to buy more food and toys for them. Occasionally they might bring you a cicada shell, if you're lucky.

The ultimate shopping item is a yard expansion (costing 180 gold fish which can take weeks to save up for), within which you can house more kitties, toys and food -- resulting in the ultimate cat haven.

While in your yard, it's wise to snap a picture of each cat and add them to your 'catbook', for this is the best way to record who has visited and which toys they have a penchant for -- handy if you want to lure them back at a later date.

Once you've checked in to see who has visited and to top up empty food bowls, you close the app and wait. Unlike Tamagotchis, your cats wont die from neglect -- they will just eat all of your food and won't come back.

The game boasts a strong online user presence, inducing a Reddit forum in which players can ask for tips on enticing a number of the game's rare cats -- such as Joe DiMeowgio, who loves baseball -- among other tricks. Gaming forum gameskinny.com also offer a rare cats guide, and Facebook boast an active forum in which players interact.

At the end of it, Neko Atsume is less a game and more an activity. Developer Yutaka Takasaki said the goal was to create a game that even children could enjoy, without a significant investment of skill or time. The popularity of the game has even him baffled.

"To be honest, I do not know why this much of popularity came out," Takasaki told CNN Japan.

Thanks to its slow nature the app gives you a sense of forced surrender, which can be unsettling at first -- but ultimately, strangely, kind of calming.

Sound boring? It is, a little. Addictive? Absolutely. Oh, and of course as it is in real life -- cats are king.

The game is free and available on iTunes and Google Play.

kitty2

A standard yard prior to a yard expansion.

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