You know what everyone in Japan loves these days? Smartphone games. They keep you busy on the daily commute without requiring too much in-depth concentration, and Japanese smartphone game makers are seriously smart – they know how to keep players hooked. By combining the human need for constant “reward” feedback with our penchant for adorable cartoon kitties, they’ve come up with a winner of an app that everyone who likes fun can’t stop playing – Neko Atsume!

Now available for both Android and iOS and with a whole slew of new features, there’s never been a better time to get into this incredibly addictive yet simple cat-collecting time-waster

Neko Atsume (lit. collecting cats) couldn’t be simpler, even as smartphone apps go. All you have to do is purchase bait (either food or toys) using special in-game fish currency (gold fish are worth more than silver fish). Once you’ve selected your bait (be it a ball of yarn, plate of sashimi, cat bed, cushion, or other tempting kitty treat) you then have to find a place to set it on the background. After that, you need to close the app.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. Close the app? Why on earth would the developers want us to do that? Well, it’s simple. Once you’ve set the bait, you have to wait for a kitty to come along. But simply staring at a screen isn’t playing the game – you have to close the app to give the kitties a chance to come calling. It basically works on the reward centre of the brain in the same way that waiting for a text message from your crush provides a hit of anticipation. When you open the app up later, you’ll probably find a kitty lounging around just waiting for you!

▼ Here’s one I caught earlier!


The game also exploits the “gotta collect ’em all” gaming impulse by recording each visiting kitty in your designated “Kitty Notebook” so you can keep track of all the cats you’ve “collected”. There’s even an in-game camera feature so you can snap a pic of each kitty who comes to call. Satisfied kitties also leave behind gold or silver fish, which enable you to purchase more treats and toys to use in baiting even more kitties!

▼  Sophisticated cat toys can be pricey, but real-life experience has taught us that no kitty can resist the appeal of a simple cardboard box…


The app is so easy to use that lack of Japanese knowledge shouldn’t really deter anyone who wants to play. Once you’ve figured out which on-screen option does what, it’s incredibly easy to trap and collect kitties. (Not to mention rewarding!)

While games that require constant repetitive screen-tapping can get boring quite quickly, Neko Atsume has a longer-lasting appeal. You could simply set out your bait on your morning commute, then check your phone at lunch to see how many kitties your digital milkshakes have brought to the yard. Then purchase some more treats with all the shiny fishies your new furry friends have bestowed on you, and let the cycle repeat itself. The game gets more difficult when you’re trying to collect rare kitties, and there’s an extremely greedy kitty called Manzoku (satisfied) kitty, who will eat all the food you put out unless you can outsmart him.

▼ Manzoku, you glutton! That sashimi wasn’t for you! You’ve already had three plates today!


I’m already completely addicted to this game, and I can foresee hours of adorable kitty-shaped time-wasting in my immediate future. Still, they say that time you enjoy wasting isn’t wasted time, so excuse me while I go check on my kitty lures…

Source: Naver Matome
Screenshots taken by RocketNews24