Looking for some cute games to play over the summer (or procrastinate on finals with)? Read no further! I’m not much of a gamer — my winning Nintendo Switch Smash strategy consists of helpless button-mashing, and it took me many years to realize that Wario and Waluigi are supposed to be Mario and Luigi’s evil counterparts — but, I have to admit that I am a sucker for cute animal-themed mobile simulation games. In this article, I will be summarizing the synopses and objectives of four of my favorite games and reviewing them based on factors like engagement, graphics, and finally — the presence of a fishing minigame, which, as we all know, makes any game a thousand times better.
Neko Atsume: Kitty Collector
No list of cute animal games would be complete without Queen Neko Atsume. The purpose of the game is to leave food, toys, and furniture out for any of 66 cat visitors, who visit your yard when you have the app closed and leave silver and gold fish for you as a thank-you gift. It’s a lovely surprise to open the game and see a yard full of frolicking and napping kitties! Certain cats gravitate towards certain items, and it’s fun to take pictures of them in various poses to put in the game’s digital photobook. After you become familiar with the regulars™ like Snowball, Breezy, and Princess, the focus of the game becomes to attract rare cats like Peaches, Mr. Meowgi, Hermeowne, and Billy the Kitten, which often requires more expensive goodies. Despite the game’s many upsides, I have to admit that there’s not much incentive to keep playing once you get all the rare cats — the last time I played regularly was around a year and a half ago. There’s also no fishing minigame, since everything is in a house (or other locations like a cafe and a zen garden, depending on what remodel you pick). Still, an A+ game that deserves every bit of the hype it gets.
Animal Restaurant is an addictive and adorable idle game in which you manage a restaurant that serves classic Asian snacks like taiyaki, taro buns, and hotpot to a diverse clientele of rabbits, bears, reindeer, and other animals. Different customers are attracted by different foods, and they pay you in cod once they finish. As you progress in the game, you also unlock additional restaurant spaces like a sushi bar, a takeout shop, and a yard for outdoor vendors. The finishing minigame is probably the best on this list — Fisherman Rabbit Ding’s boat moves back and forth quickly in a manner reminiscent of a claw machine, and it’s up to you to have the lightning-fast reflexes needed to reel in sharks, crabs, pufferfish, and more. Definitely download Animal Restaurant if you want a fun, fast-paced game that introduces you to the highs and lows of being a restaurateur.
Tsuki, a young rabbit working in a big city, quits his stressful corporate internship to move to his grandfather’s old cottage in Mushroom Village and manage the family carrot farm. The app sends you phone notifications every two hours to remind you to harvest your carrots, which act as the in-game currency that you can spend on kites, gachapon tickets, carrot-shaped ukuleles, and more at Yori’s general store. I found Tsuki Adventure a bit boring at first, as there’s not much to do in the game, but soon discovered that there’s lots of cool places to explore, from the shops in the village center to Yukiyama and the Great City, which both cost 1000 carrots to travel to. The fishing minigame is admittedly less engaging than Animal Restaurant’s, since Tsuki does all the work and it’s easy to zone out while waiting to reel the fish in whenever he’s got a catch. But the cute graphics more than make up for it. Overall, the game is super soothing, and the epitome of cottagecore — which will definitely resonate with the readers of Her Campus UCSC.
A Street Cat’s Tale
In A Street Cat’s Tale, a game delightfully rendered in pixel art, you play as a stray kitten living alone in a big city after her mother is hit by a car and taken away for medical treatment. The objective of the game is to survive for 13 days by eating rats, food scraps from trash bins, and the occasional handout while slowly building relationships with human and animal NPCs, which allows you to unlock different game endings. Your progress resets once you reach an ending after each 13-day cycle, which can be frustrating but ultimately keeps you coming back for more. No fishing minigame here, unless you count stealing from fish stands and finding leftover fish in garbage cans as going fishing. A Street Cat’s Tale is definitely my personal favorite, due to its riveting storyline, cute art, and fun sidequests.
Cats are Cute
旅かえる (only available in Japanese)
Happy gaming, and have a great summer!