Crafting. In the real world, I’ve not got a clue; no idea where to start. It’s a mystery to me how anyone can make something from scratch with some wool, a bit of glue, and some glitter. Amazing creations are made though, sold on those craftiest of places like Etsy.
But in the gaming world, I always seem to be crafting. Whether it’s making weapons in RPGs, or shelters and tools in survival games; I’ve done the lot. In Mineko’s Night Market you get the chance to go about making stuff in-game and then, of course, selling it at a night market. But is there more to this family-friendly experience?
Mineko’s Night Market might be closest in comparison to something like Animal Crossing. It has that very beautiful, colourful world full of cutesy characters that is able to provide a pleasant gaming experience all around. On the flip, it can be a bit of a grind.
The story follows Mineko herself as she moves with her dad to a new village. Instantly she finds herself with a new friend, slap-bang in the middle of a mystery involving a giant magical cat and secret government agents, all dressed like extras from The Matrix films. Other normal cats are being captured by the shadowy agents so it’s up to Mineko and her new friends to release them and save the day. But in between you get access to a crafting station at home, allowing you the chance to forage and craft items in the weekly night market. In between these events, bits of the story get drip-fed.
The world is good and the characters you meet are nothing short of adorable and intriguing. I do however feel the main story gets lost a bit, mostly due to the pacing and constant grind. That is a bit of a shame. Most of the writing is wholesome though, definitely aimed at the family-friendly market, and so as a 50-year-old man I don’t think I am the precise target market.
The gameplay consists of you walking about the world, from a village and into certain areas that will unlock over time for you to visit. Early on in the game, you get a crafting table to use; arriving as a gift from your friend’s mum. Then you go out and pick flowers from different areas that you might have to unlock by doing a mini-game. In one early mini-game, you have to free loads of cats from the eyes of the watchful agents, opening the area up for flower picking. When you have collected enough of a certain type of item you can craft something to sell at the night market.
In between selling stuff, you have to wait before market night. So here you go and collect resources, action favours for your neighbours and get more crafting recipes. Those mini-games include the likes of fishing and chopping trees. Unfortunately, the action is pretty bland, but there is just enough addiction delivered to make you want to carry on. The main problem with Mineko’s Night Market is that very quickly it becomes a bit of a chore; feeling very much like a job. If you are not used to these type of games then your attention level is going to drop fast. If you are into them, then you know the deal and should be prepared for the slog.
It all looks very pretty and extremely colourful though. I loved the visual template of Mineko’s Night Market and this is most definitely a game that younger members of the family will adore. It has nice clear menus and the UI is very easy to navigate and explore. The soundtrack is upbeat and cheerful as well, combining well with the gameplay.
Younger games will find much enjoyment in Mineko’s Night Market. The world itself is pleasant to the eye and the whole setup is familiar yet cuts its own path. There is a fair bit of grind though, as well as waiting in terms of the action and getting to the night market. But there is a good story here and so if you are familiar with the genre, you should well be able to cope with what is on offer.
If that box is ticked, get your crafting skills on and pay a visit to Mineko’s Night Market.