I recently tried out a new game app called Neko Atsume. I got a little inside tip that this game is quietly and quickly becoming one of the most popular apps among teens. So my youngest son Eli (9 years old) and I decided to try it out together. I also suggested it to a friend because she is a young cat lady and I thought she might enjoy it. Funny thing is, she was already playing it.

Neko Atsume is a Japanese designed app. The name of the game literally translates to mean “Cat Collector”. It was originally released in Japanese in May 2015. By August of the same year, the game had already reached 10 million downloads. In January 2016, the game was honored in the Top 5 Mobile games of 2015 by GameSpot. They stated that the game was “intensely quirky” and “increasingly compelling”

The English version was released on October 30, 2015. I am not sure what the current ranking for the game is but it is rated in the iTunes app store with a 4 ½ stars. The app is free though there is the option for in-game purchases. However, the in-game purchases are not necessary to play the game. This game is for players age 4 and up.

The premise of the game is simple. You are given a small yard and some starter fish. Fish is used as currency in this game. You use the fish to buy items to attract cats to your yard. Different items will different attract cats. When a cat visits your yard, they leave gifts of fish so that you can continue to expand your yard and add items. The goal is to get pictures of all of the cats. There are currently 56 cats. 20 of these cats are considered to be rare. However, additional cats are often added with updates. There is no end to this game. You cannot beat it. As long as a person wishes to play it, the cats just keep on coming.

My friend’s experience: She finds this game relaxing. It is a way to power down. Unlike puzzle games that require quick reaction time or thinking. It is simple and stress free.

Eli’s experience: He says this game is ok. It is a little boring because you have to wait forever for cats to show up. Also, some times the cats come by your yard when you are not playing the game so you never get to take their picture. This is unfair. However, for now, he will continue to play the game.

My experience: I am literally dying of boredom. I already have trouble staying interested in game apps but this one is so slow. I have a little yard. It takes tons of fish to expand the yard. I doubt that I will ever reach that amount before I abandon the game. My minuscule yard cannot hold anymore items to attract cats. The only thing to do at this point is to open the app occasionally, take pictures of any cats present, and then refill their food bowel. Eli is right. It isn’t really fair when cats visit your yard when you are not playing. What if it was one of the rare ones that stop by for a visit and then you never see it again? You miss out on taking that one needed picture! That would suck.

So, pop culture, I have to say that I do not know what is wrong with you. I do not know why this game is so popular or why it has won awards. It says it is made for ages 4 and up. 4 years old is the prefect age to play this game. And to my friend that enjoys this game, you are excluded from this rant. You do what makes you happy and continue to be the Mother of Cats!