Mineko’s Night Market is an upcoming game that combines Animal Crossing with cat-collecting RPG Neko Atsume. Developer Meowza Games also borrows ideas from Final Fantasy and Cooking Mama.
Mineko’s Night Market is just one of several indie games that cites Nintendo franchises as its inspiration with Ooblets being described as a cross between Animal Crossing and Pokemon.
Mineko’s Night Market Dev on Animal Crossing and Final Fantasy Inspirations
In Mineko’s Night Market, players assume the role of a “curious girl” named Mineko who has just arrived at a “superstitious” Japanese island that is overrun with cats. The game looks impossibly adorable and incredibly cute and sees Mineko discovering secrets about this place and the sun-cat that its citizens worship as well as “crafting crafts, eating eats, and catting cats.”
Allowing players to go on quests, explore, take part in mini-games and sell collected and crafted items at its weekly market, Mineko’s Night Market sounds like a cross between everybody’s favourite games. Speaking to me in an email, developer Brent Kobayashi (who was also the artist for Alphabear and Loot Rascals) says that “the easiest way to describe it would be closest to Animal Crossing but with more emphasis on exploration and story.”
The game even has a dash of Final Fantasy with its feeling of “discovering a new town with their own cultures, traditions, and stories,” it borrows from classic business simulation game Lemonade Stand in how it wants players to “proactively” hunt for resources and even Cooking Mama is cited as an inspiration as players take part in “micro-games” when they’re crafting their items.
But despite Mineko’s Night Market sounding like exactly the sort of game that you’d want to give all of your time into, Kobayashi says that the developer isn’t “trying to trap a player in our game for 100 hours for the sake of keeping them playing the game.” The developer explains that this means that “the player is not rushing every single calendar day to maximize their resource gathering/crafting efficiency but can instead play at their preferred pace and enjoy the multitude of side excursions stress-free.”
This emphasis on stress-free gameplay appears central to Mineko’s Night Market core idea in lots of other ways. Kobayashi says that players can ignore crafting entirely and just take part in mini-games such as cat racing, pachinko and “whack-a-taco.”
The game even features a zen garden allowing players to find “solace” both within the game and “hopefully outside of it too.” This “almost acts as a mood setter for the game telling the player to relax” and the arrangement plays a “small role in the overall “happiness” of your character, home, and pets and ultimately it acts as a signal to the player to… relax,” says Kobayashi.
As a game that hopes to do away with the grind and that is entirely built upon the principle of having fun, Mineko’s Night Market couldn’t sound like a more delightful game if it tried. The only downside is that Meowza Games isn’t planning to release it until late next year so those looking forward to creating cat n’ crafting empires will have to wait patiently until then.
Mineko’s Night Market is aiming for a late 2018 release on Windows PC and Mac. Meowza Games would also “love” to bring it to Nintendo Switch, though a launch on the platform has not been confirmed.