Forget Candy Crush, BubbleWitch, 2048 and Kim Kardashian: Hollywood. The new app you’re about to obsess over is called Neko Atsume: Kitty Collector. The object of the game is this: to attract AS MANY CATS AS POSSIBLE to your digital backyard, using treats and toys. It’s kind of like a Tamagotchi, but ten thousand times cuter.
Released in Japan in 2014, Neko Atsume became an instant hit there and soon found fans in the US, as the game is pretty simple to understand even in another language. Neko Atsume was finally translated into English in late 2015, adding the "Kitty Collector" part of the name. Since then, it’s been slowly climbing the iTunes free app charts and recently broke into the top 100.
Let me tell you why you need to download Neko Atsume:
• It’s free. When cats visit your yard, they leave you gray fish and gold fish, which you can exchange for food and toys to bring more cats to your yard, who will leave you more fish, and on and on and on. You can make in-app purchases if you want to get more fish faster, but the game is very playable without spending a cent. I’ve never spent real money on Neko Atsume.
• IT’S SO CUTE. The kitties are adorable. Their little cat butts will make you giggle. They squish themselves up to get into boxes and hats and glass vases in the silliest ways. JUST LOOK AT THIS CAT LOOKING AT A FISHBOWL.
• Your yard is customizable. You can save up your fish and “buy” different styles for your yard — a Zen Style yard with tranquil little streams and bridges; a Western style yard with cactuses and a white picket fence; a Modern style yard with diamond-shaped windows and abstract art hanging on the walls. It’s like digital decorating!
• The rare cats. While most of the cats are your garden-variety cute kitties with names like Snowball and Pickles, there are a number of rare cats that appear only when certain toys or foods are laid out. There’s a cat who wears the cowboy hat called Billy the Kitty. There’s a cat who loves baseball called Joe DiMeowgio. There’s a chef cat called Guy Furry:
My favorite rare cat is a glamorous Anna Wintour lookalike called Lady Meow-Meow.
• Last but not least, the greatest cat ever, TUBBS. Tubbs is a fat cat who will eat all your food. People are completely divided on Tubbs. Some people LOVE him because he is adorable and gives you fish. Some people HATE him because he eats all your food and sometimes doesn’t leave you enough fish to make up for it. There are entire Tumblr blogs devoted to Tubbs. Currently, Tumblr is recommending that I follow blogs with these names: Tubbs Is God, Tubbs Is A Motherfucker, Tubbs The Cat Apologist, Tubbs The Cat Just Needs Therapy, Mixed Feelings About Tubbs, Married To Tubbs, and Tubbs And Chill.
Plus, look at all this Tumblr art and these adorable Etsy products. I’m #TeamTubbs all the way.
I have been happily wasting my time on Neko Atsume for over a month now and love all my digital pet kitties with all my heart. If you’re more of a dog lover, don’t worry: there’s also a dog version of the game, called Boku to Wanko. It hasn’t been translated into English yet, but it looks just as cute.
More from BUST