The world of Mineko’s Night Market is one obsessed with cats. Felines roam freely around its cartoony, cutesy island. Mini-games make sport of their adventures, and occasionally they’ll trail after you like ducklings behind their mother. On Mount Fugu Island, inhabitants even worship cat deities — specifically, the Sun Cat, a portly, upright creature called Abe. Developer Meowza Games has made no secret of its love of one specific animal, but the pleasing aesthetic of its upcoming game only lends to the friendly, approachable atmosphere of it all.
Mineko’s Night Market, launching this year, follows a girl named Mineko who’s recently moved to Mount Fugu Island. She currently runs a market, but it’s been in a financial pinch as of late. Players spend their time collecting weird items and crafting, as well as selling their goods around the island. Brandi Kobayashi, half of the team at Meowza, says the game draws from folklore and aims to be a more narrative adventure than one built around resource gathering. Part of Mineko’s journey will involve unraveling the mystery around Abe, who’s been spotted around the island as of late.
Mineko’s Night Market has a story to tell, but like Animal Crossing or Harvest Moon, there’s joy in soaking in the details of mundane life. When I played through a brief demo, I was absorbed in carefully casting a fishing line over and over to nab the perfect catch. I also spent an absurd amount of time petting every cat I came across. Its cheerful tunes and over-the-top adorable look turn even regular errands into a whimsical adventure.
Mineko’s Night Market launches for Mac and Windows platforms this year.