Feline paradise

Reviewing ‘Neko Atsume: Kitty Collector’

Feline paradise

Photo by: Emma Ruggiero

Story by: Emma Ruggiero, Reporter

Now anyone can fulfill their dream of having a yard full of cats without spending a dime. All they need is a smartphone and “Neko Atsume: Kitty Collector.”

This free app gives players the opportunity to “collect” over 50 virtual stray cats of all shapes and sizes by leaving out food, toys and cozy pillows in their “yard” for the kitties to enjoy. Once a new cat arrives, its profile appears in the “catbook,” where players can view all of their feline friends’ stats and photos.

As tokens of appreciation, the kitties leave various mementos for the player to collect, as well as fish, which serve as currency in the Neko Atsume universe. The player uses fish to purchase new items for the yard, which attracts more cats, which earns more fish, and so on.

“Neko Atsume” offers much simpler gameplay than other apps on the market. Many virtual pet games require the player’s constant attention, causing pressure to keep the pet’s happiness, health and hunger satisfied. However, the cats in Neko Atsume come and go as they please, so the player does not need to stress about keeping their needs met.

In fact, players can relax while listening to the game’s cheerful, ambient background music. Akin to hotel elevator Muzak, the theme combines a steady, idle beat with a playful xylophone melody. Occasionally, the yard will adopt a special “winter” setting and the leitmotif switches to a beautiful crystalline music box rendition of the original music.

Simple yet appealing, the visual elements achieve aesthetic superiority. The art style grew especially popular on social media, sparking various forms of fan art for the game. Each kitty has a sweet little face, as well as a unique design. When playing with their toys, they become animated with motions similar to real cats. Against the colorful, domestic background (which players can “remodel” for a price of 280 goldfish), the players can immerse themselves in a feline paradise. 
Android and iOS users of all ages can easily enjoy the app that has grown in popularity since its original Japanese debut in October 2014. Parents need not worry about their children downloading a scary or harmful game; the peaceful gameplay of Neko Atsume encourages kindness and caring for animals. Upon downloading this app, players will soon find themselves in cat heaven.