“What do you normally play?” is a question I often dread. One would think that, as a core gamer, I’d always have one or two titles at the ready. The reality is I don’t dwell on any particular game for too long, just so I can jump on something new to play and write about. Lately I’ve been fiddling with something on my phone but, to be completely honest, I’m not even sure if I’d call it a game.

You’ve heard of Neko Atsume, I bet—if not in the gaming press then perhaps over social media. It isn’t new but Japanese developers Hit-Point recently implemented an English translation and boy have I been playing it ever since. The name basically means “cat collection” and the sole premise is to catalog all the cats that wander into my lovely yard to either sleep, eat, or play.

All it consists of is buying food and toys, leaving them out, and then getting excited over new faces (gotta’ fill up that Catbook, y’know?). I can’t interact with the miniaturized tigers or customize anything beyond item placement. Come to think of it, all I do is bait neighborhood kitties so I can take photos, which I’m pretty sure is a crime wherever catgirls and catboys hail from.

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Those middle shots look perfect for a cat inn brochure.

I guess this classifies as a mindless cow cat clicker but there’s some degree of satisfaction to be found here, kind of like Survive! Mola mola! The exception, of course, is that those beloved sunfish can die, whereas in Neko Atsume the worst that can happen is a cat sticking its butt out.

With money flowing in at a good rate—it just so happens that the fish cats gift me are an accepted currency in this world—I never felt pressured to spend any actual money. But I did so anyway, both to support the developer and to expand the play area much sooner.

Now that I have two screens’ worth of cats I find myself wishing I could expand yet again. I realize this is probably how someone spirals into crazy cat lady territory, but what those normal people don’t realize is how much fish-money I’m making. It’s absurd; it’s like I’m running some feline mob and they’re all returning after a leisurely round of extortion.

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“Thank you for the gifts on this day of my daughter’s wedding.” – Don Poot

I’ll probably continue with Neko Atsume for a couple more weeks. It isn’t demanding, takes no more than a minute or two each time, and most importantly doesn’t wind up feeling like a chore. I’m still not sure if I’d call it a game though, which leaves my original dilemma unsolved.

I guess I could say I regularly play Hearthstone for the Adventures and Tavern Brawls. Does… does that count?

Get Neko Atsume on Android or iOS. Once you’re drowning in the warm fluffiness check out the accompanying comic strips. One of us.