What is Neko Atsume?
About a month ago, my partner sent me a link to the App Store page for Neko Atsume, a Japanese mobile game that has recently been translated over to English, though it already had many fans in the US before the translation. Check out this video on Kotaku to see how it works.
I instantly became addicted to the game. I showed it to my sister, cousins, and friends. Soon, we were all constantly texting each other screenshots about which cats were in our yards.
When cats visit you they leave you silver or gold sardines which you can spend on new toys, food, and room upgrades. Both my sister and cousin were trying to save up gold sardines to buy new room themes. Since I’ve been playing for longer, they asked for my advice on which toys generate the most gold sardines. As a data analyst by trade, I couldn’t be satisfied by just sharing my anecdotal findings. So, I looked for a dataset.
To do a proper analysis of how to get the most fish, I would first need data. So, what does a savvy data analyst like me do when looking for a dataset? I literally Googled “neko atsume dataset.” Which led me to a very interesting Reddit post.
A Reddit user named /u/petite_vest has been keeping a spreadsheet of all the gifts that cats have left them in Neko Atsume, along with what toy they played with, what food they had out, and what theme they were using. They have several months of data, so it’s fairly robust, but it could always use more. Another redditor, /u/ninjakrill set up a Google doc so that they could crowd source the data. This crowdsourced data is what I eventually used.
How to get the most fish.
The first question I wanted to answer was the one asked by my sister: how do you get the most fish? To answer this question, I looked at all the possible combinations of Food, Toy, and Theme to see how many sardines each cat leaves for that combo.
If you are going after silver fish, letting Tubbs eat all your “Frisky bitz” is a pretty good strategy. At 10 silver a serving (3 for 30), his average reward of over 46 sardines makes it a really good return on investment.
If you are looking for gold fish, Breezy is your man. Leave out the yellow ball and a helping of Frisky bitz and on average he leaves 7 gold sardines.
If you are first starting the game, you probably want to figure out which items are going to give you the most bang for your buck and attract the largest number of cats to your yard for the first time. I’ve got a couple ways of looking at this. First, an overview type look, with all the items grouped by which food they were paired with. The size of a box is the average number of sardines left (you can see that food tends to be the most...thanks Tubbs!) and the color is the number of unique cats to visit.
If you want to see which cats in particular are visiting based on these combos, you can use this dashboard. Clicking on a box will filter the cat faces below to show who has come for that combo before.
Using the data to figure out the optimal items to put out to get kittens is all good and fun, but we can also learn more about the different cats’ behavior. For example, we can find out which cat is on average the most generous.
We can also learn more about the cats’ personalities. Let’s take a look at who is very particular about which toys they play with and who will play with anything.
Looking at the cats near the bottom, you’ll see most of the “Rare Cats”. These cats only come for very specific items. Want to see one of these cats? Let’s figure out how!
I’m at a point in the game where most of the common cats have visited me already. So, I’m much more interested in what items I need to put out to get the Rare Cats. To find out, I looked at all the combos of Theme+Food+House and saw how many visits happened from each rare cat. To see what combos work for a particular cat, click on the cat icon at the top.
I’ve currently got Ritzy Bitz, a heating stove, and the glass vase out because I would really like to see Guy Furry.
We need more data! The more data we have, the more accurate the visualizations will be! Copy this Google Spreadsheet and start keeping data for yourself and tweet it to me! Have another analysis idea? All of the visualizations you just saw have a download button in the bottom right corner, so download them, open them up in Tableau Public and explore the data yourself!