- Mineko’s Night Market is a cozy simulation game that highlights Japanese culture and folklore.
- Players can immerse themselves in the sights and sounds of a summer night market in Japan while exploring Mount Fugu.
- The game’s whimsical quests and adorable characters contribute to its enchanting vibe, making it a must-play for fans of Stardew Valley and Animal Crossing.
In a sea of relaxing simulation games, Mineko’s Night Market stands out with a story that highlights Japanese culture. Developed by Meowza Games, Mineko’s Night Market focuses on the titular character Mineko, a curious girl exploring her new home in Mount Fugu and learning new recipes to prepare for the weekend night market. Mineko also goes on whimsical quests to search for the Sun Cat, Nikko, and uncover the secrets of Mount Fugu in order to help restore the village to its former glory.
Mineko’s Night Market has been compared to Stardew Valley and Animal Crossing due to similarities in gameplay and cozy atmosphere. But what has many players hooked is the adorable take on folklore and the opportunity to preserve Mount Fugu’s culture.
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The Charm of Mineko’s Night Market
Mineko’s Night Market Combines Social and Business Mechanics With a Respect For Culture
Just like Stardew Valley and Animal Crossing, players are engaged in both a business and social simulation in Mineko’s Night Market. Meowza Games wanted to incorporate the sights and sounds of a summer night market in Japan where people like Mineko can socialize and have fun with their friends. It’s a great setting to immerse players in Mount Fugu’s surroundings and have a feel of the village’s heritage.
The beauty of Mineko’s Night Market is that it’s influenced by Japanese culture. Meowza Games co-founder Brent Kobayashi, who was raised by two Japanese-born parents in Canada, said that he wanted to incorporate the culture he grew up with in Vancouver. The city has a long history of Japanese immigration, and has the highest population of Japanese residents in Canada. Kobayashi’s visits to the local Powell Street Festival inspired the summer night market in the game.
Likewise, Mount Fugu is a reimagined version of Mount Fuji, but players can still feel the location’s sacred and mysterious nature. Although Mineko’s Night Market didn’t dive deep into Japanese mythology, it still has elements of magic and mysticism. The Sun Cat Nikko, who is worshiped by villagers, is also based on a supernatural entity named Bakeneko. They are long-tailed humanoid cats that can shapeshift and mimic human speech. While they’re often described as always up to no good, Nikko seems more docile whenever he appears in the game to help out Mineko.
Such a vibrant culture deserves to be preserved, and Mineko’s Night Market highlights this, as Mineko and her friends work together to bypass the Agents roaming around Mount Fugu. This is mostly accomplished by freeing the adorable cats that the Agents are guarding, which could be the key to uncovering Nikko’s presence on the island, among other secrets.
The preservation of culture is reminiscent of farming sims like Coral Island. The Stairway Games title is set on a Southeast Asian-inspired tropical island with oil-contaminated waters, and villagers dealing with a corporation set on industrializing Coral Island. Both Mineko and Coral Island‘s main character are tasked with completing quests to save their home village in some way. All while bringing happiness to their fellow villagers through their products and crafts.
Reviews of Mineko’s Night Market may have been mixed on the game’s overall pacing, but it’s still considered a cozy Stardew Valley-esque game. Its enchanting vibe continues to intrigue players, encouraging them to breeze through it to uncover its full story.
Social simulation games like Mineko’s Night Market have a way of making players feel like they’re part of a community and a bigger magical world. The night market sections give players a great opportunity to get to know other villagers as they visit their stalls and purchase their wares. Mineko’s Night Market‘s minigames are also a glimpse of some of the fun activities that Kobayashi experienced at night markets.
Stardew Valley is a hit Indie release that spawned a cult following thanks to its similarities to titles like Harvest Moon and The Sims. Players will take control of their own characters as they are dropped into the eponymous Stardew Valley and given an old dilapidated farm. They’ll cultivate new crops and relationships with the NPCs scattered around the area, as well as combat monsters and embark on other quests.