A note about The Cuddlywumps Chronicles

This blog is written and maintained by Miss Cuddlywumps, a fluffy-tailed calico cat who is both classically educated and familiar with mysteries. She receives creative input from the Real Cats and clerical assistance from She of Little Talent (old SoLT, a.k.a. Roby Sweet). Comments or complaints should be addressed to Miss C rather than to old SoLt (Ms. Sweet). Ms. Sweet accepts no responsibility for Miss C's opinions.

Monday, February 22, 2016

App Review: Neko Atsume

Socks and Cocoa spend some
time playing and sleeping
on the snow sled.
The kitty-collecting game Neko Atsume is all the rage among, for lack of a better term, cat gamers, and it’s easy to see why. First, it’s available for free download on both Android and iOS devices. Second, it reminds us a lot of what it’s like to try to make friends with actual cats (i.e., the cat controls the pace). Third, it’s just so gosh-darn cute!

How Neko Atsume works

Basically, you get a yard area where you can set out food, toys, and other fun items to attract cats. As you collect cats, you get to learn their personality traits, their favorite objects, and their power level (and don’t ask us what the power level means, because even after weeks of game play, we have no idea).

Photo from the Neko Astume game. The
cats in the yard are Snowball, Spots,
Pumpkin, Ginger, Speckles,
and Marshmallow.
When you first start the game, you learn how to set out some food and buy a toy to put in your yard. Then you close the game, and you wait. Five minutes later you open the game to see if anything has happened yet. Nothing has. You close the game again. This time you wait twenty minutes. Nothing has happened. This time you wait overnight, and when you open the game, you discover that all the food is gone, but still you see no cats. With a little glimmer of hope, you refill the food dish and close the game. And you wait. One day. Two days. Each time you open the game, the food is gone but there are no cats in sight, so you refill the food dish and close the game. You begin to wonder if you’re being punked, if the game developers are sitting somewhere laughing at all the millions of fools who download their app just to refill an empty food dish for no apparent purpose.

Then, perhaps on the third day (and I did say “perhaps,” mind you), you open the game and…

There’s a little cat playing with the red ball! And it is the cutest cat you have ever seen in your life. Never mind that the little cat just makes the same back-and-forth motions with the red ball over and over and over… You can’t stop watching.

Cue the cute…and the happiness

Soon there will be more cats. Soon your yard will be full of cats, all being ridiculously cute. Ridiculously cute. I cannot stress this enough. It is absolutely ridiculous how cute these cats are, and it is equally ridiculous how much happiness they seem to induce in people. She of Little Talent and her mother can both attest to the feeling of happiness that will wash through you when you open the game and see a bunch of little cats playing with the toys you set out for them.

Senor Don Gato is one of the "rare" cats in
Neko Atsume. He enjoys dressing up and
spearing stuffed mice with his sword.
Neko Atsume is a drug, basically. But it’s free and has no unpleasant side effects that we’re aware of, so play on.

The cats who visit your yard will leave gifts for you, in the form of fish that you can use to buy them more stuff. Yes, you can spend real money to buy more fish and get even more stuff for your kitties, but you can absolutely enjoy the game without doing that. If you want to buy more fish, though, the prices are reasonable (four dollars will get you a whole mess o’ gold fish). As in all financial dealings, mind your budget and remember you can have a lot of fun for free.

Once in a while, a cat will bring you a “memento”: a cicada skin, a damp matchbox, a scuffed dime. We haven’t figured out the purpose of the mementos yet, or even if they have one, other than to make you feel all gooey inside because a pretend cat brought you a little present (“Oh, Tubbs, you brought me piece of fish jerky. Thank you!”)

You can also take pictures of your cats and save them to each cat’s album. Then, on those occasions when you open the game and don’t see any cats (yes, this will still happen), you can browse through your album and remember all the good times you’ve already shared with your kitties (cue the happiness rush).

Then there are the rare cats you can lure in with specific items. Billy the Kitten likes the cowboy hat, for example. You can find lists online of the rare cats and which items they prefer, if you want to attract a particular cat. Or you can play like we do, being pleasantly surprised by each cat who shows up.

The verdict

Neko Atsume is not an exciting, action-packed game, but it is a lot of fun for cat lovers. We like that you can play and collect lots of cats for free. And we especially like how, if you’re feeling a little down, you can just watch your kitties for a few minutes and feel better.

Very highly recommended!

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