Neko Atsume started something. The cat collecting mobile game has inspired a series of successors. Boku to Wanko, which brings dogs to a backyard, was the first one of note. The second is Skillshot Labs’ Notice Me Senpai.
Like Neko Atsume and Boku to Wanko, Notice Me Senpai is a waiting game. Players download it to their Apple iOS or Android device. Upon opening it for the first time, they’re told they are the first female students at what was previously an all-boys school. You get to run a small cafe to pay your tuition, and the goal is to get upperclassmen to visit. It’s modeled after anime series like Ouran High School Host Club, with Yuu-senpai even carrying a stuffed bunny like Honey.
Fortunately, none of the money you earn has to actually go toward school fees. Instead, the 20 visiting boys will provide money after having some coffee and enjoying the various accoutrements placed around the area. This can be reinvested, improving the cafe. Visiting daily offers rewards like money and coffee beans, and stopping by every day for 15 days provides an item that attracts a specific senpai. You get five space to place items, and there are five kinds of coffee beans you can brew. The basic level is free, premium beans are 150 coins, gourmet beans are 200 coins, golden beans are 10 gems, and magic beans are 20 gems. Likewise, things in the cafe cost either gems or coins.
Someone coming to Notice Me Senpai will find it’s undeniably clever. Each senpai is a little more detailed than the cats or dogs in similar games. In each character’s profile, it actually talks about who they are, rather than discussing things like power levels. Instead of the renaming function in Neko Atsume, the senpais will allow you to choose what you call them after they’ve visited enough to earn two hearts of affection. It feels more like a dating sim, thanks to these extra details, even though you are still coming back to snap profile photos and collect them all.
The treasures are better implemented in Notice Me Senpai as well, presented in a way where they have more meaning. As mentioned earlier, the senpai will become more interested in you as they visit, increasing their interest level. When they’re interested enough, you get gifts. The first is a special note, after the three heart mark. This will appear in their profile and can be reread at any time. If you play enough to earn four or five hearts for a character, you’ll get an event and CG.
These minor adjustments, inspired by dating sims, help make Notice Me Senpai more appealing. Yes, the characters aren’t as cute as the cats or dogs in Neko Atsume or Boku to Wanko. Still, people are able to forge connections with the characters here. It’s an appreciated adjustment, and helps keep the game from feeling like a quick cash in to capitalize on the other apps’ success.
Notice Me Senpai is immediately available on iTunes and Google Play. While there are two different kinds of currencies, coins and gems, there are currently no in-app purchases. Gems are acquired when senpai visit and use items or when a player chooses to watch an ad.