Mobile games featuring your favorite animals
Raise your hand if you’ve played Pokemon G o! or Neko Atsume. Now, did you want more from the game? Animal Scene assigned Marielle Almario to find out more about the most popular mobile animal oriented games so you can pick your summer addiction!
Animals in general make for great and fun inspiration for media, just like video games. Building video games around animals can either make plenty of cute sense or make for hilarious absurdities—or both. The games featured here are all available for free on the App Store and Google Play (with the option to use real money for in-app purchases) and, in one way or another, make for pretty good animal friendly pastimes in general.
WHAT: As the name suggests, there are kleptomaniac cats involved. What the game does is that a bunch of cats steal things and bring them to you and whatever item it is will be placed into your room (and just like Neko Atsume you can get new rooms using in-game currency). With roughly 100 items to be stolen—er, added to your room, and with 7 rooms already available, that’s about 700 stolen items. Add in the 100 cats in the initial room you’re given and an additional 30 cats per room, that’s about 280 stray cats stealing other people’s things for you to put into all of these rooms (that are supposedly part of your home).
GAMEPLAY: The game gives off a Neko Atsume vibe in that you can also collect cats—except you don’t lure them in with food. The way to get more cats is to use one of the in-game currencies, gems, to earn cats. The system works, again, just like Neko Atsume’s, where you exchange silver fish for gold fish for better items — in the case of Klepto Cats it’s exchanging coins for gems. Earning gems is not exactly hard (if you’ve got the extra cash to burn you can always just buy gems), it would cost 250 coins to exchange for one gem. The catch, though, is that a cat would cost from 4 to 7 gems. That’s about 1000 to 1750 coins.
WE SAY: The game mechanics sound a bit tedious if you’re a free-to-play player, but if you want to just collect items, cats, or even clothes for your stray cats, the game does not disappoint. At least with these stray cats, there’s no commitment of having to keep them long term.
WHAT: What do you get when you have fluffy canines that can turn stars into food and ghosts that are set on taking the star food? No, it’s not a Marvel series or a strange Kamen Rider series. You get FeeDog—the game where you save the planet by feeding your dog the right dog food!
GAMEPLAY: FeeDog is a simple game that can be a time killer (in a good way and a bad way too, if you get too into it). The controls are simple: tap the bombs to flick them at the ghosts trying to steal the dog food and let your dog, which is named Lucky by default, eat the dog food.
Tapping the bombs away makes your dog smack them away to the floating aliens who get damaged with each hit before eventually disappearing as a sad blob on the ground. If you make a mistake and flick a dog treat at the ghost, it’ll heal itself and make getting rid of it a little harder. It acts like an “endless runner” type of game in that the enemies never stop spawning and the run will only end when your dog gets hit in the face by a ghost.
Adorable thing to note is that each run is started by tapping on the “Feed Dog” icon on the home page, making it seem like all you’re doing is taking your dog out to eat and not going out to have your dog beat some ghosts with bombs. But you can walk your dog by tapping the “Walk the Dog” icon on the home page and, in that game mode, you can earn gold or stars which can be used to level up your dog.
WE SAY: FeeDog feels like a mindless game at times but it’s perfect for passing the time and the designs are simple enough. Doesn’t hurt that even when Lucky the dog gets hit by a ghost, it’s still adorable.
WHAT: What is fluffier: a Samoyed, a Norwegian Forest cat, or an alpaca? The answer: All. But for developer Ammonite Studio, alpacas rule the world with their fluffiness in Alpaca World.
GAMEPLAY: The aim of the game is to have the player, a new owner of an alpaca farm, collect hundreds of alpacas that can come in as many colors as a Color Field painting. It sounds just like Pokémon except exceptionally fluffier and with no awkward second stage evolution that makes a Pokémon look like it’s going through puberty.
The game begins with you on a farm and obtaining your first alpaca. You get to name it before you are left to your own devices to explore the world in the game. For first visits to key points like “dressing” and “adventure,” a helpful tutorial will appear on what you can do (like dressing your alpacas in top hats and fighting wild alpacas to join you on your farm—very Pokémon).
WE SAY: The game is perfect for world building and you can go at it at whatever pace you want. Leisurely want to collect hats and clothes for your alpacas? No problem. Want to become the best alpaca trainer there ever was? Go right on ahead!
WHAT: If you’re looking for a game to relax that doesn’t involve feeding stray animals of any kind, this game is for you. The koi in the game’s virtual pond are rightfully owned by you and thus cannot be considered a stray (not quite sure how “stray fish” would work).
GAMEPLAY: One thing the game addresses right away, in the help section of the game, is “what the point of the game” is. By leveling up the koi in your pond, they will “ascend” and turn into dragons. The Chinese myth of the koi, if you’re unfamiliar, is that the gods witnessed a koi jumping upstream a waterfall and to reward its perseverance, determination, and strength, they turned it into a golden dragon. Aside from aiming to turn your kois into dragons, expanding your pond to keep more koi is something the game mentions in its help section.
WE SAY: The catch to playing Zen Koi, though, is that the game requires an internet connection. But if that’s no problem, then this game is A-OK for relaxing while on the go. With simple instructions to just tap and watch your koi go, Zen Koi makes for an easy play.
Journey of Return
WHAT: Journey of Return is a puzzle game that features in its center the story of a fox that is trying to find itself. The fox is in its new lifetime and is going through its past life as the game goes on and you solve more puzzles. You collect memories for the fox by solving puzzles based on the chessboard of draughts—a game where pieces have to move over other pieces or else they’re stuck.
GAMEPLAY: The game has two modes: story mode and infinite mode. Story mode lets you go through the story of the fox as it regains its memories of its past life, while infinite mode lets you continuously play puzzles and compare scores with your friends. Infinite mode can also act as training if there’s a stage in story mode that is particularly difficult. The story of the fox is revealed as the game goes on and glowing orbs that appear from within flowers are collected.
WE SAY: Not only is the game visually stunning, but the puzzles are not the ordinary kind of puzzles you find in games nowadays. So it’s refreshing to have a bit of a challenge to a game and you don’t just pop things or tap and go. Although, if the game does get challenging, the game is kind enough to give hints by highlighting where to start and where to go. Journey of Return is one of those puzzle games that you can’t seem to put down after a single play and keep playing to not only learn about the fox but accomplishing difficult levels feels like unlocking an achievement of your own.
WHAT: Just hear me out. You listening? Cool. A pig that wears panties. It is in the realm of the absurd in animal video games but for those with children (or nieces and nephews who like to borrow your things) or who are into simple games with strange motifs, there is Panpakapants Blocks.
GAMEPLAY: Panpakapants Blocks is a building block game that follows Panpaka, a piglet that wears underwear, and his cat best friend Punyan. The game lets the player create pathways made out of blocks for Panpaka and his friend Punyan to get across from stage to stage. With 9 stages per world, and with 10 worlds, this game is a quick one (if you’re above the age of 4) but going through it with an adorable little piglet boy in underwear on the search for things such as ingredients for curry makes it a fun time.
WE SAY: Of course, as the levels go on, the difficulty rises but it never seems too difficult nor is it too easy. Panpakapants Blocks is at a level where children can play and learn to think logically and where adults or just older people in general can pass the time and appreciate logic puzzles.
Animal themed games are absolutely adorable and nothing can change that (except for maybe Panda Pop), which makes finding the right one appealing enough a bit of a challenge. There are preferences and that’s no problem; makes narrowing down the list easier. Some animal games are absolutely absurd, but so is the general idea of anthropomorphic animal hijinks. They go well together. And it’s fun to learn that resource management isn’t nearly as stressful as it may sound once it involves fluffy animals.
This appeared in Animal Scene magazine’s June 2017 issue.