Sometimes games don't have to be super involved to still be fun. Sometimes you barely need to do anything at all to have a good time. And sometimes you have just have no brain cells left to spare in a day and you need something mindless and cute to wind down with for a few minutes. That's where idle games come in clutch, and Cats are Cute is my latest idle gaming obsession.
Much like Super Glitter Rush, this is another game where the title is also basically the game's description. Cats are cute and that's almost everything you need to know about it. This game may or may not be up to snuff to rank among the best Android games, but for what it does, it does well.
Much like Neko Atsume before it, Cats are Cute wants you to collect cats and then keep them in luxury. A noble pursuit, to be sure. You collect cats through a two-step system.
- Increase your level. Your level is the cap on how many cats you can have in your care at one time.
- Spend fish or cat grass to "draw" new cats. This is more or less a loot-box system, so it's a gamble which cat you may get each time you roll for one. There are three different draw levels—basic, rare, and epic— each of which has a certain likelihood to draw a "rare" cat.
Getting new cats also gets you their own little home, which you use to gradually build up a perfect town of cats.
Getting new cats is a big deal because each cat comes with its own little home. Tofu lives in the police office, Daisy lives at the flower shop, Catsby lives at the hot springs, and so on and so forth. One of the more fun parts of the game is deciding how you want to lay out your ever-growing cat town, so choosing where to place a new cat's home is very exciting. A nice touch is that you can pay to move a cat's home later if you decide you don't like where you placed it anymore.
You'll then spend time leveling up your cats and their homes. This is important because higher-level homes will produce more fish (your primary in-game currency) and higher-level cats will reward you with more hearts for interactions. Fish production is really where the idle component of the game comes into play: coming back to your game after a few hours away will reward you with a metric ton of fish.
Another cute addition to the game is that your cats will occasionally want to interact with you. They'll ask to be fed, pet, admired, and even to play hide and seek or rock-paper-scissors! It's nothing revolutionary, but it does add a bit more in the way of active gameplay since most of the game is idle town management.
The leveling system is very grindy after you start climbing in levels and the monetization actually doesn't let you buy the one thing you really want—a faster way to level up.
You might think such a simple, minimalist game wouldn't have much room for error. There are, however, two big sticking points for me. The first issue is that the leveling system is very grindy after a certain point. To level up, you need to gain hearts based on how many physical clicks you tap out on the screen (you can also gain hearts from your cats, but those are small amounts at a time). You can drum your fingers across the screen to speed things up, but the ceiling raises every time you gain a level. So you have to tap more and more to keep climbing, becoming a real pain after about level 12.
My other gripe is with the monetization, but not in the way you might think. There are plenty of opportunities to buy things like cat grass and cat toys in the shop, but strangely enough, there ISN'T an option to pay real money for hearts so that you can level up faster. If you're going to monetize, why not go all the way, right?
Other than that though, Cats are Cute is a great idle game. The soundtrack is nice, the art style is adorable (where's the companion coloring book?!), and the cats are funny and quirky. It's got just enough going on, but plenty of opportunities to put it down and walk away until you need another quick 5-minute brain break. It's also 100% free, so you can start building your own kitty utopia right now.