CRITICAL PLAY: NEKO ATSUME

 

For this Critical play I chose to re-download Neko Atsume. Neko Atsume was the IT game on the app store when I was in high school. The aesthetics of the cutes kittens you’ve ever seen, the element of collecting and personalization, and the factor that it was not a game designated to keep you on all the time but to come time and time again to check in on it. It made it an incredibly successful game. The premise of Neko Atsume is to build a cat cafe where you buy items: food, toys, and furniture to attract certain cats into your cafe. The rarer the items the rarer cats will be attracted and leave more “money” in the forms of gold and silver fish to continuously upgrade your cafe. The game uses a transitive method to ensure that the costs being spent are equal to rewards gained in the game.¬† The cool thing about this game is that there isn’t a correct way to play, the optimal strategy that brings in the most cats really progresses after you pass a certain threshold in the game. Rather than just buying all the rare items, Neko Atsume allows the player to choose an aesthetic and attract cats that match that aesthetic being the key way to “win.” The game uses expression as a form of fun. By buying items within your aesthetic you can express yourself. The cost/benefit ratio in the game is pretty reasonable, the more expensive items brought the more high tipping cats will be attracted. The exception of this rule is Tubbs, the games most hated cat, because it would eat all the food greedily, and not let other cats come.

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