Guess who’s back with another review for another indie title? Yes, it’s me, and this time, let me talk you through my experience with Mineko’s Night Market.
Developed by Meowza Games, Mineko’s Night Market is an adorable cozy game filled with mini-games, exploration, resource management, crafting, and lots and lots of petting of felines. If that sounds like an enjoyable time for you, you will definitely love this title. XD
Mineko’s Night Market – Story
In Mineko’s Night Market, you take on the role of a little girl named Mineko whose entire life has been uprooted by her family’s move to The Village, a small run-down town nestled in the mountains. Aside from being treated as outsiders by the locals, intimidating suit-wearing Agents are scattered throughout the land, and nobody knows what they’re looking for.
Every small town is filled with rumors, and Mineko is caught up in solving the mystery about a feline deity named Nikko. Nikko is rumored to have been spotted around The Village, and the townsfolk are assuming this is the reason many of the Agents have blocked off access to different parts of the land.
Later on, you discover that the Agents really are after Nikko, and Mineko actually finds the feline deity. The goal now is to return Nikko to his home in Mt. Fugu. This involves a lot of problem-solving and rescuing of kitty cats.
For her own and her father’s sake, Mineko also has to make friends with the unique batch of locals. And the task of bringing the village’s outdated weekly Night Market back to its former glory is also unceremoniously dumped on her lap.
Funnily enough, you don’t really have too much say in the matter, and Mineko takes everything in stride. Crafting items to give to the villagers or sell on the Night Market? Sure. Finding ways to solve puzzles and get rid of the pesky Agents? With your help, she has that figured out as well!
The story has a lot of charm combined with an air of mystery. Mineko comes off as somewhat standoffish in the midst of all the quirky NPCs you’ll meet around her new home. It’s very refreshing to see such a seemingly straightlaced character tackle all the unexpected things she encounters in a very new environment. XD.
Gameplay & Features
Though there is a lot to do in Mineko’s Night Market, the tasks were introduced in such a way that it isn’t overwhelming the player all at once. At the beginning, Mineko can only gather a handful of resources, given her limited stamina, and produce a few handcrafted pieces.
As time goes on, after she makes more money selling her work in the Night Market or unlocks more crafting recipes, she’ll be able to purchase more crafting benches or tools that allow her to collect other types of materials and produce more complicated handicrafts.
Gathering materials and producing items is only one aspect of the indie game. As you progress through the story, more and more of the land is unlocked, and slowly, you’ll solve the mystery behind Nikko and the pesky Agents in The Village.
In order for Mineko to be able to use the land to its full potential, she has to solve puzzles, release caged cats, and dupe the Agents through cute mini-games that are definitely a nice break from the typical in-game days of gathering ingredients or crafting products.
And of course, the weekly Night Market itself offers a lot for the player to do. Selling items involves some form of haggling with customers. There are also weekly events that Mineko can participate in, awarding her cute trophies she can display in her room at home.
Then, as you sell more items and increase the Night Market’s overall level, more booths will be unlocked, giving Mineko access to out-of-season materials or quest items that the villagers have been requesting for.
What I found really fun about Mineko’s Night Market is the seamless integration of mini-games everywhere you go. Yes, the resource management, crafting, and the puzzle-solving is all heavily incorporated within the plot, BUT all of these features have some sort of fun mini-game attached to them. So, it isn’t that simple after all, haha!
Mineko’s Night Market – Visuals & Audio
Mineko’s Night Market is set in a Japanese-themed village, and the visuals are cute and endearing. The 2D perspective gives it a visual novel feel, and there’s a roughness to the graphics’ textures that make it seem like you’re really reading from a folklore storybook.
The character designs may look simple, but they are all very interesting. The NPCs will have some distinct feature about them that hints on the type of quest items they’ll request from Mineko, while some have the stereotypical look of a traditional Japanese grandma or local fisherman.
The environment is also charming. It brings to life everything a Japan fan loves about the country’s rural scenery. And if you’re fond of how the colors of the environment change every season, you will definitely like how Mineko’s Night Market portrays this in the game.
This time, I tried to pay more attention to the background music of the indie title. HAHA, I am learning!
The overall theme seems to reflect traditional Japanese music, like those you can hear from games that have a similar setting. But again, they don’t sound too loud or disruptive, making it easy to focus on the many tasks you need to accomplish while playing as Mineko.
Experience & Impressions
I’m not sure what kind of progress I’ve made in Mineko’s Night Market, but ten hours in and I think I may only be about halfway or three-fourths through with the story. I’ve only reached Summer of Mineko’s first year in The Village, and I still don’t have access to a lot of other resources, crafting benches, etc.
For now, I think I would rate this game a solid 7.5-8/10. Even though I personally prefer farming cozy games, this game still suits my taste very well. I thoroughly enjoy the gathering, fetch questing, and resource management in the indie, and I really want to see it through to the end.
As I get further and further into the story, my emotional investment grows both for Mineko and Nikko. So, it feels like you really want to thrive in the Night Market, while hoping to get Nikko home to Mt. Fugu soon.
The only clincher is that there are several bugs and glitches that still need to be cleaned up. Though I haven’t experienced any crashes while playing on the often-unoptimized-for-indies Steam Deck, I have encountered a few game-breaking bugs that have put my progress in a standstill.
But I MEAN, just how cute is EVERYTHING in this game? The cats are so cute. Everywhere you go is just a visual feast. And even the tiny, crafted items that Mineko creates are incredibly adorable. Ugh. It all just blends together tastefully that I want to keep playing, even if I can’t right now due to the game’s bugs. D<
Nevertheless, Mineko’s Night Market is a beautifully crafted indie title. And I look forward to seeing how it ends when I finally finish the main story.
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