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Mineko's Night Market Review

Mineko's Night Market Review

Our tale begins with a farmer and his daughter, they would go down to the river to wash their clothing and dishes every morning. One day while at the river they saw a large sakura flower bud floating downstream towards them. It suddenly opened and a giant cat appeared, this wasn’t any normal kitty though, this was a special feline. As soon as Nikko — who looks like a Maneki-neko — showed up, everything on the farm began to flourish. This caught the attention of the neighbouring farmers. They were incredibly mad, deeming the cat a curse rather than a bringer of good fortune. So the rival farmers chased the cat out of the village, banishing it from ever returning. They drove it towards the cliffs where a giant wave carried Nikko away. This legend is the backbone of the story of Mineko’s Night Market.

MinekosNightMarket legendsweptaway

The heroine Mineko reads this legend in the car while her dad is driving them to their new home. Upon arriving, they realise that the brochure picture that they saw ahead of time, looks nothing like how the house is now. Over the years, the house has become run-down and needs a lot of work and love to restore it to its previous glory. While your dad starts to clean the inside of the house, you go out to explore. You meet a dark-haired boy named Bobo who calls you Mineks for short — even though it’s not any shorter. Mineko carries a journal that records all of your quests, a map of the town so that you can find your way around, and also logs anything you have collected. The first quest that pops up is to follow Bobo. You follow him and find that the path he is trying to follow is blocked by an Agent wearing a black suit and sunglasses. Bobo tells you to make a run for it while he tries to create a diversion by talking to the Agent about ramen. Apparently that Agent is quite passionate about his noodles, so this works quite well and lets you both get past the blockade. 

MinekosNightMarket bobohim

You are helping Bobo look for “him”, he doesn’t specify exactly what it is you are watching out for, but you continue to follow. The area is full of smaller cat statues and a large monument that looks like a Maneki - neko. As soon as you arrive the full area is swarmed by Agents, what is going on here? They start chasing after you, so you try to get over the water by running across a wooden board which acts as a makeshift bridge, but it breaks, sending you into the river. We see a shadowy large cat-like figure, carrying Mineko back to her home; is this the Nikko from the legend?

MinekosNightMarket nikosightings

When you wake up, you speak to your dad, and you have three different responses that you can select from. He wants you to unpack the boxes in your room, and upon doing so you see that Mineko is obviously a big fan of cats, with the furniture being kitty-themed. When you go into the living room/dining room your dad gives you a bottle of ramune — a carbonated drink from Japan — to replenish your health. At the start of the game, you have one heart worth of energy. To replenish it, you can eat or drink up to three times a day. Each item you consume fills its own set amount, and if you don’t keep your energy up, Mineko will get tired after doing seemingly simple activities like picking flowers. So you want to be able to do more before having to sleep, be sure to purchase some additional food or drinks. These are available to buy from both vending machines or from the local craft store, which is actually owned by Bobo’s mother. You will head there anyways as Bobo wants you to meet her. She is convinced that you died out in the forest, and he needs to prove that you are fine. 

MinekosNightMarket furniture

On your way there, you pass a booth that has two people dressed up like cats working at it. The character on the left side is “Left Cat” and the one on the right side is, you guessed it, Right Cat. These two are in charge of the town's Night Market which occurs every Saturday night. They talk you into having your own booth to sell your handmade items or other random things that you collect. There will be other vendors there, but the Night Market isn’t as popular as it once was, so they are hoping that you will be able to motivate other residents to join and have their own booths like you. Now that you have visited the “cats”, you head on over to the Craft Store.

MinekosNightMarket catsbooth

Here you meet Bobo’s mum, who is actually named “Bobo’s Mom”, she will give you a special gift, it’s a Flower Craftbench that will be delivered right to your room. This is perfect timing, now you will be able to make your own special flower creations to sell at your Night Market booth. Sakura and plum flowers grow around the town that you can collect to use. Every day the flowers regrow, and if it is raining there’ll be even more to pick. Be sure to keep your energy up as it doesn’t take long and Mineko will be too tired and can’t pick more. Once you have a stash of flowers, head back to your room to get crafting. When you first get your bench, you will be able to create one item: a Cat Bouquet that requires four sakura flowers and three purple plum blossoms. To make it, you will have to do a quick time event that will determine how successful you are with your creation. Cut the stem when the blade is in the green area and it will be perfect. If you completely miss it, you will have a bouquet of dead flowers that are totally worthless. When you have a beautiful kitty creation, head back to the Craft Store to give your first creation to Bobo’s Mom. Upon receiving your gift, she will be so happy she will give you the recipe for something new to create to sell at your booth, a Kokedama. If you keep talking to the local residents and fulfilling their requests, they will gain love for you (shown by hearts) and give you an item or teach you new recipes to use in your crafting. So it will be worth trying to track down everything they ask from you. Besides, who doesn't have the inner desire to make everyone love them? Or maybe I'm just the odd one here…

MinekosNightMarket flowercraftbench

When you aren’t busy creating items for the Night Market, you will be hanging out with Bobo and trying to solve the mystery of the legendary Nikko and figure out why there are so many Agents hanging around the island. The Agents have been locking poor little kitties in cages for some unknown reason, and it is up to the two of you to liberate them. You can’t just walk up to a cage and open it, it will take some stealth work to successfully free the feline. Each cat is being guarded by an Agent equipped with a flashlight. You have to approach the cage without walking in the light beam. Each Agent has a specific pattern that they walk in, so most of the time you just have to be patient and wait until they have their back turned so you can run in undetected. If you get caught by the Agents three times, you will have to start at the beginning and free all of the cats again. 

MinekosNightMarket stealth

There were a few times when this was quite challenging as multiple Agents were patrolling an area. Chances are there is something nearby like a radio that you can turn on to distract them or rocks to push. Later, when Bobo stops being chicken and decides to help you, he offers a few different options that you can try like Bobo distracting them or spending your own money to bribe them, but I found that this wasn’t needed, being patient and sneaking past them was good enough.

MinekosNightMarket petcats

Once the cats are all saved, the Agents leave the area, and the kitties are free to roam. You can pet the cats as much as you want and they will even follow you around when you are walking. The longest kitty train I’ve had so far is six. They will also leave you little hairball "gifts". This may sound pretty nasty, but you can collect these and sell them to Bobo’s Mom or even at the next Night Market. I honestly have no idea why anyone would want a hairball, but who knows, someone must have a use for them! 

MinekosNightMarket hairball

When you pause the game or after you go to sleep in your bed, you will see a calendar that lets you know the current day of the week, which week you are in, and what year it is. You have a full week to craft and collect as many items as you can before you go to your Night Market booth on Saturday. To get to the Market you just have to follow the path beside your house. You will select five different types of items that you want to display to sell that day, the cool thing is it doesn’t only have to be items that you have crafted yourself such as bouquets or origami paper craft, you can sell other items like fish, cat hairballs, or ink. Once ready, you will ring the bell to let the customers know that you are ready for them. When customers visit, they will tell you which of the items they want to buy. You have to pick from seven different prices that you want to sell it for.

MinekosNightMarket marketprices

If they find it too expensive they will just walk away, if it’s priced well they will take it, while other times they say that they only have a certain amount of money and you decide if you will take it or not. After the selling part is done, other activities are going on that you can participate in such as a Cat Race or the children's play that acts out the Legend of Nikko. I loved the Cat Race, you get to ride a cat and compete against other residents and a cat riding another cat. It was so ridiculous but insanely cute! It was also a bit humbling to lose a race to the two smack-meowing kitties.

MinekosNightMarket catracecatridingcat

There is so much going on in Mineko’s Night Market, this game will keep you busy for a very long time. With its adorable visuals and calming piano music, this game screams whimsical. It is truly one of those calming games that will help you de-stress and make you smile. Some of the tasks you do like collecting flowers and crafting may get a bit repetitive after a while, but whenever you get a new recipe for a new item to create, it adds some variety to your daily quests.

MinekosNightMarket craftingcut

I highly recommend checking out Mineko’s Night Market if you are a fan of relaxing games with cute influences of Japanese culture and adorable cats. If you are more of a dog person, there are also a lot of references to doggos too! This is a cosy game that will put a smile on your face and feels incredibly fulfilling when you can help the local residents and revive the once splendid town that has become desolate and run down as of late. The game is set to come to Game Pass in October of 2023, so this is a title that you absolutely need to check out!

MinekosNightMarket origami

9.00/10 9

Mineko's Night Market (Reviewed on Windows)

Excellent. Look out for this one.

Mineko’s Night Market is one of the most sweet and whimsical games that I have played, plus it has cats! It is full of personality and has a lot of different activities you can do to keep you coming back for more!

This game was supplied by the publisher or relevant PR company for the purposes of review
Alana Dunitz

Alana Dunitz

Staff Writer

Lover of all games, old and new!

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