Neko Atsume saw its official English release on October 30, 2015 but that wasn't the beginning of its rise to mobile game stardom. Before this foray into cat collecting even had an English version, hundreds of thousands of English speakers were already addicted to the game's Japanese version despite the language barrier.
The official English release brought new life to Neko Atsume, with its downloads surging over 5 million in a matter of months and making the game nearly a household name. Who doesn't know someone who plays Neko Atsume?
The gameplay in Neko Atsume is simple. The player sets out food and toys for neighborhood cats to come feast upon and play with. Players can take pictures of the cats for their own personal picture notebook and in time will receive gifts from them for being such a cat-friendly homeowner.
The gameplay is simple enough anyone of any age can get the hang of it in a matter of minutes, and reading is minimal. These two facts and the cuteness factor are what made the game so big before it even left Japan.
Progression in this laid-back cat collecting game is as simple as the gameplay itself.
The player sets personal goals in the game, such as getting pictures of their favorite cats with particular furniture or having special rare cats visit their home for big Gold Fish rewards (and cute photo ops).
The biggest solid progression lies in getting rare cats to come play and remodeling the house. Players can remodel their home after they have expanded it once, with the first remodel being sold at a lower price than subsequent remodels. A remodel does not have much in the way of gameplay effects but gives the player a more personalized home.
Rare cats are the biggest draw to Neko Atsume because of their unique attire and poses compared to the standard visiting cats. Each rare cat has stringent requirements to visit the player's home, but it's often well-worth the wait and the investment in high quality cat food to get a picture of these elusive kitties.