The creators of Neko Atsume have done it again.
There are many mobile games that require you to "collect" something with each visit to the app, but there's something entirely appealing about having you prepare your pet amphibian to set off on its little journey and then bringing back souvenirs for you.
Is it the cute designs? The simplicity of the game? The worthy payout of all the efforts?
Whatever your reasons, there seems to be a lot to gain when playing a game like Tabi Kaeru (also known as Frog Journey). Those from China and Taiwan are already obsessed with this game, calling the frog their son and that they get worried when their son is away for what seems like too long.
Now that China has removed the game, even knock-offs of that game is rising in popularity, some even requiring users to pay! Thankfully, the original game is completely free and available for you, with guides to help you play even with your lack of Japanese (ala Neko Atsume style before the English version came out).
But then the question remains: will you get the same enjoyment as the youths from China and Taiwan did when playing this game?
Well, we have compiled five ways the game can help make you a better person, so if you're aiming to improve yourself in some way, this app may be the one for you!
What do you mean we don't pack tents or our own lamps when we travel? Okay, your little frog's travel requirements are pretty different from most of us, sans the need for some travel tickets.
As the frog in the game doesn't hop into hotels or hostels but instead camps out to truly experience the world, you can instead consider the level of comfort by selecting the best tent, the best food to eat or even the best quality of light to help deal with the dark outside.
But it's not just what he has to bring outdoors that you need to consider. The game also has you preparing something for your frog to look forward to when he returns. So keep your traveling froggy going by putting what he can pack right on to the desk!
The main difference between Neko Atsume and Tabi Kaeru is the fact that you're not rushing to check the Tabi Kaeru app at every opportunity you get. You take your time, instead, to set your frog off to its journey and there's no rush at all to check on him until he sends a postcard, some souvenirs or returns from his adventures.
Some gamers may find themselves impatiently waiting for at least a postcard from the little frogger, but the game seems to tell you to be patient and to go about living your day the way froggy is doing as well.
It makes the joy of seeing the frog returning a lot more special, as you both have spent time going on adventures in real life, with the frog showing its exciting journey to you.
There's just something about receiving postcards that show the many places that little froggy has traveled to, as well as the friends he met along the way, reminding you that there's a whole world out there to explore.
Currently the places the frog visits are mainly in Japan, yet even then the world the frog visits seems to be a lot bigger than many of us know.
(That is, until the frog keeps going to the same places again and again. Eep. Time to figure out what else he needs to be able to travel further).
This is an important feeling to have, and this game definitely helps develop a lot of empathy. How else can you find such joy in seeing an avatar go on a journey instead of you?
That's because you can relate to little froggie in a way. It's this ability to empathise that makes the service of sending your stuffed toy on a journey very popular!
Called Unagi Travel, it is a special Japan Travel Agency dedicated to taking your stuffed toys to various tourist attractions in Japan. It costs US$48 (roughly RM190) to deliver your stuffed toy from Asia to Japan. You may think this is a waste of money, but there are many who claim to feel immense happiness seeing their favourite stuffed toys having the time of their life.
The same feeling can be felt with little froggy here, and at least it's free!
Both Neko Atsume and Tabi Kaeru has the ability to make the world seem a little more brighter with its simplicity, but Tabi Kaeru has definitely made the idea of traveling a little more fun thanks to seeing your own little froggy heading on to wondrous adventures. And even when he’s home, there’s just something about seeing him relaxing that makes the day seem a little more relaxed too.
Whatever your reasons for wanting to play Tabi Kaeru, let’s just hope it gives you that little bit of happiness to make the days seem a little lighter. Let’s also hope that an english version comes out soon so that more people can not only enjoy the game, but be better people all around!