Probably the best game since Neko Atsume
January 5, 2019 8:33 PM   Subscribe

Animal Hot Tub: Then shall the fox soak with the ram, nor shall a client be short a towel; as pigs and squirrels calmly daze, a manager cat shall please them all.

From the help pane:
Various facilities in lounge will help you increase your reputation. The more facilities you've installed, the faster the acorns will be stocked.

You can send the manager cat to the village for a while. After an hour, the manager cat comes back with some acorns, more reputation, or a new animal.

Purchase a variety of bath goods in advance with your acorns. When animals need certain bath goods, hand them over by dragging. It will increase your reputation.
Google Play
App Store
posted by batter_my_heart (50 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
Is there more to this than just an ad for a game?
posted by jonathanhughes at 8:36 PM on January 5 [1 favorite]

What more do you need? The even have a sauna!
posted by The Toad at 8:39 PM on January 5 [4 favorites]

Well, I wasn't sure where to put this in the post, but I installed it today and find it delightful and wanted to share!

My favorite part aspect is actually completely irrelevant to "gameplay", if you can call it that -- when you tap a bathing animal, it makes a little splash, and the diversity of the animals available make that really entertaining.
posted by batter_my_heart at 8:39 PM on January 5 [4 favorites]

The manager is a cat? Way to play against expectations...
posted by oneswellfoop at 8:45 PM on January 5 [4 favorites]

I've been seeing static ads for this on my preferred picross app (picross luna II) and assumed it was ignorable micropayment trash. But it's so cute and mellow looking. How much of it can actually be experienced for free though, as long as I'm patient?
posted by Mizu at 8:47 PM on January 5 [1 favorite]

Same as Neko Atsume -- it's a little slow to get started (you don't have the yard expansion, or enough fish to buy a ton of toys), but after a while, the acorns come pouring in.

afaik the only thing not available to you unless you pay cash is the ability to dress the manager cat, which doesn't seem terribly important to me. Seeing a cat deadlift a barbell in the lounge is much more entertaining.

(Confession: I jumpstarted myself by getting the "Lucky Box" bath supplies by planking while the ads played. It's a good tabata timer!)
posted by batter_my_heart at 8:53 PM on January 5 [5 favorites]

Is this by the same folks behind Neko Atsume? It sure is biting their visual style if it isn't.
posted by egypturnash at 9:26 PM on January 5 [1 favorite]

Spouse and kid have now both downloaded this and are playing, but their soundtracks are not quite synced, which is kind of amusing.
posted by mogget at 10:00 PM on January 5

For those trying to find this game, the actual title is: Animal Hot Tub Springs
posted by fairmettle at 10:25 PM on January 5 [1 favorite]

Oh nooooo. I’ve *just* weaned myself from Neko Atsume.
posted by lemon_icing at 12:45 AM on January 6 [2 favorites]

Right now, my current jam is Castle Cats, and I don't know that I'd have any extra time to spare on this.
posted by radwolf76 at 5:15 AM on January 6 [1 favorite]

On Google Play the "game features" list drops the word "cute" three times and "adorable" once within 50 words. And not much else. I think I'm sold.

(I'm almost out of Hungry Cat Picross puzzles, and that concerned me. I like to have ~1 mindless head-clearing game on tap at any time. Thanks!)
posted by cage and aquarium at 6:08 AM on January 6 [1 favorite]

It's no papers, please.
posted by Jessica Savitch's Coke Spoon at 6:27 AM on January 6 [3 favorites]

Good timing. I just finished Egg Inc and need a new brainless time waster.
posted by Mavri at 7:38 AM on January 6

Eggs inc is never finished
posted by Lord_Pall at 8:22 AM on January 6 [2 favorites]

It's very cute. Took me a while to notice that I was accumulating acorns in the lounge, which picked up the pace a bit.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 9:08 AM on January 6

Slow, cute, and fun. Exactly as advertised.
posted by sotonohito at 9:11 AM on January 6

How do you get golden acorns?
posted by yhbc at 10:05 AM on January 6

This is adorable but I'm not sure how I feel about the higher level of focus. One of the things I like about Neko Atsume is that you set things up and then check in periodically rather than it being a constant interaction game. At the same time, this is SO CUTE. Perhaps it will provide a different fun game addiction!
posted by bile and syntax at 10:05 AM on January 6

Yeah, I feel like this is way less Neko Atsume and much more Cookie Clicker. And that's not awful! But, it's not nearly as idle a game, and really does want you to spend more time interacting with it directly.
posted by tocts at 12:01 PM on January 6

I feel like if I personally had been soaking in a hot tub for as long as some of these woodland creatures have been lounging around in there, the last thing I would want to drink is some milk. And who even uses bath bombs in an onsen??? I HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT THESE PATRONS AND THEIR PROCLIVITIES

Also there is something about the posture and slightly-defeated air of Manager Cat that is giving me a very Roast Beef vibe
posted by halation at 3:42 PM on January 6 [7 favorites]

These animals are living the dream. Sitting in a hot tub while I give them treats. My favourites are the ones who shake their bodies in the shower though. Thanks for sharing this game!
posted by kendrak at 4:01 PM on January 6 [1 favorite]

There's an annoying threshold you get to pretty quickly (if you play obsessively for a few hours) where you have bought everything there is to buy, but haven't opened the sauna yet. My acorns are accumulating pretty fast (31 per whatever) but since the limit on how many you accumulate when you aren't actively clicking is 2500, it's going to take a very long time to get to the 300,000 you need for the sauna. And upgrading the animals isn't going to help, because although it will make the acorns accumulate faster, the 2,500 limit is still there for idle play, and realistically I am not likely to be able to upgrade them to the point that I can get hundreds of thousands in 30 minutes or so, which is about the longest I'd be willing to sit and actively click/provide bath goods.

Previously I could buy a new item every 10-15 minutes I had the app open, but now I think it will be days to weeks before I can get the sauna, and there's not really anything else to do in the meanwhile. I don't think I have the patience to check in every hour or so for days or weeks.

Still, it was cute and fun while it lasted.
posted by lollusc at 4:15 PM on January 6

(Also, my tips for the early stage of the game:

Leave it open while watching TV or something, and just keep sending the manager off to town, instantly recall them, and wait through the 30 secs of ads, rinse and repeat. (Do it with the sound off, and you'll barely notice the ads).

Once your hot tub is full, do the same thing, but with the 'mystery box' bath goods instead of sending the manager away. Accumulate a few of those, and upgrade your animals.

You don't need to give them everything they ask for. It's much less irritating not to have to click/scroll between two different screens of items. I just have five items in stock at any given time (initially from the free mystery boxes, and then once you have a lot of acorns, just buy in 10 of each of the most expensive things each time). You get more benefit from the expensive items anyway, so I just ignore the animals asking for the cheap things, and only provide the expensive ones. At the start of the game, it was the other way around - ignore all the expensive requests and only provide the milk and sports drinks.

At the very start of the game when you only have a couple of animals and are waiting for them to pop up the acorn symbol, you can click them multiple times and it makes them produce an acorn. Like, tap an animal about 5 times in a row and it will acorn you.

Definitely buy all the showers as soon as you can. Each animal using one also provides acorns and you don't even have to click for them.
posted by lollusc at 4:20 PM on January 6 [3 favorites]

omg I am beyond gleeful that people are playing this game and now I can talk about it! lollusc's tips for getting started are excellent and more or less what I did (showers are the best because 1. acorns without collection and 2. animals lathering themselves).

re: golden acorns -- the internet says that you get these from the sauna. I haven't gotten there yet -- I've enough acorns, but I'm only at level 18. I've bought the largest tub for a quick reputation infusion but clearly I haven't met the bar? Maybe I have to have invited every single animal from the village before I get to level 20?

It definitely is more active than Neko Atsume -- I told myself I would try to rest my hands this weekend because they've been feeling a little RSI-tight, but then this happened...

imo, the purest expression of cats x cookie clicker is Cat Condo. (more thoughts) I am glad to say that I did not beat this game, though the guy I catsit for got to level 39.

Has anyone changed from a larger tub to a smaller tub, then back to a larger tub? Do the animals (who had to leave in the downsizing) come back, or do you have to invite them all again?

And yes, halation, who uses bath bombs in a public tub?? I especially think this when two adjacent animals both want bath bombs. Like, can't you share?

I really like it when a cat is getting a drink from the vending machine. I am slightly disturbed that none of the animals have reflections in the mirror. Finally, I wish I could make the koala happy! He doesn't look relaxed like the other animals, and when he wants an item that I've run out of, I'll actually go buy a few, just so I have another chance to make him happy. He emits the hearts of satisfaction like all the other animals, but the stoic expression stays the same. 🐨
posted by batter_my_heart at 6:15 PM on January 6 [1 favorite]

When you click on "achievements" I think it tells you what you have to do to reach the next level. E.g. mine right now says "Invite new animals: 2". So I think if I can get two new animals I will go up to the next level.
posted by lollusc at 6:56 PM on January 6

And I'm pretty sure the animals would come back if you downsized and then re-upsized. If you collect more animals than currently fit in your tub, they turn up as soon as you upsize the tub, so there must be somewhere that they just hang out in limbo while tub size < number of animals.
posted by lollusc at 7:01 PM on January 6

Okay, have confirmed. They are still there after you downsize and then upsize again. (Which you need to, since you have to get all the animals in order to get to level 20, and for that you need to get more reputation than you can easily get without buying extra hot tubs).
posted by lollusc at 7:36 PM on January 6

So yeah, to get the sauna you don't just need the 300,000 acorns that it costs; you also need about 300,000 acorns more to spend on extra tubs that you wouldn't otherwise need, just to get enough reputation to get all the animals. (I'm missing the final two). So that's like 600,000 I'll need to collect, in 2,500 increments, before there's anything new in the game. That means checking in 240 times more. Which, if I check it every half hour while I'm awake, would take a week or ten days. I don't think I love the game THAT much.
posted by lollusc at 7:43 PM on January 6

Cool, thanks for confirming! I didn't buy all the tubs but I did turn on Lazy Cat mode a few times (and use all 9 minutes of it) to make reputation-grinding a little easier. I accidentally bought a 2nd 50-animal tub and then realized that I needed a third to get me to the reputation needed for the last animal, so I bit the bullet and now just need to get enough acorns (seed money??) for the sauna.

I feel like acorns are easier to collect than reputation (even with Lazy Cat mode) because you can just swish your finger around over the tub, whereas delivering bath supplies requires tapping.
posted by batter_my_heart at 9:07 PM on January 6

Why am I afraid after clicking the link I discover its actually NSFW.. The mini blurp could tend it that way..
posted by Merlin The Happy Pig at 9:43 PM on January 6

OMG I didn't know lazy cat actually did anything. I thought it just lay there being lazy!
posted by lollusc at 9:54 PM on January 6 [1 favorite]

I am, perhaps, more excited by this than I should be, but thanks for posting! I will check both this and Castle Cats out as a reward to my endless January of working...
posted by needlegrrl at 6:37 AM on January 7 [1 favorite]

Well, there goes my productivity. Thanks for posting this, already loving it!
posted by CoffeeHikeNapWine at 9:44 AM on January 7

What does lazy cat actually do? It walks back and forth at the bottom of the screen but it doesn't seem to do anything else for me.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 5:07 AM on January 9

It means you can click on animals and lazy cat will select the right item to throw to them instead of your dragging and dropping
posted by lollusc at 5:09 AM on January 9

Yeah, Lazy Cat is the only reasonable way to hand out bath goods; having to drag each from the menu bar (and swap between the two sides of the menu bar) was basically going to give me RSI. I literally do not bother with bath goods except to occasionally get Lazy Cat in there and then give out a ton.
posted by tocts at 5:35 AM on January 9

It means you can click on animals and lazy cat will select the right item to throw to them instead of your dragging and dropping

Brilliant! Thanks!
posted by sevenyearlurk at 6:26 AM on January 9

The sauna level is much more click intensive and also ad-watching intensive, so I bailed out, though it was enjoyable feeding them their roasted sweet potato.
posted by tavella at 4:43 PM on January 9

Ok so how do you get more food for the sauna? I can’t see anywhere to buy it or watch ads for it.
posted by DiscourseMarker at 5:28 PM on January 9

And of course I figured it out immediately after posting here. D’oh!
posted by DiscourseMarker at 5:31 PM on January 9

Some things I believe to be true about the sauna, from not-very-rigorous testing:

- Golden acorns accrue based on how much you paid for the food, not the number of items: I tested this by buying 20 sweet potatoes and grilling / delivering them -- I got like 3 golden acorns out of it. Then I bought 10 rice cakes (the most expensive food) and got 9 or 10 golden acorns. It is what you'd expect, given the proportion of the prices (1000 to 3000 acorns), but it's a lot less grilling / dragging.

- If you activate heating cat and leave the app open on the sauna, you passively accrue acorns, just like from the showers near the tub.

At this point, I think I've bought everything I can, minus the backgrounds, and there's still so much reputation needed to get the rest of the sauna animals. Do the game designers expect you to fire up lazy cat and deliver bath goods for the remaining ~300k reputation?
posted by batter_my_heart at 9:41 AM on January 12 [2 favorites]

I finally got the sauna and I think I'm done now. The effort/reward ratio for the game really seems unbalanced as you progress. It was a fun subway diversion for a couple of weeks though.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 8:28 AM on January 13

I've been playing for a couple of days, and probably only have a few more days left in me (I'm close to getting the sauna.) But these weird, short, amateurish ads are cracking me up. What is this? Who is this "Me Familia" guy?
posted by desuetude at 11:48 AM on January 14

As others may have said, once you got the sauna fully stocked and running a gold brazier, there's no point in continuing. The only thing left to do is watch the ads while the manager cat goes to get the few remaining animals. Well, it was fun getting there!
posted by yhbc at 11:00 AM on January 22

I didn't even get quite that far. Enjoyed the game, but waiting for the sauna sucked, and then the sauna itself was too much of a grind. I feel like they've mis-calibrated the game loop severely, kinda wondering how they expect to keep any playerbase around.
posted by tocts at 11:04 AM on January 22 [1 favorite]

I feel the grind may be the point -- to make players more inclined to take the shortcuts and watch the ads.

I didn't manage to get to the sauna either, and after some thought deleted the app. It was a fun diversion and made me recall I had seen people around playing it before. I had been wondering what it was.

Now, if only I can find that one cat-themed traffic jam game I used to have on my phone... There are a few of these on Google Play but none are what I'm looking for.
posted by redrawturtle at 4:28 PM on January 24

Maybe, but the grind is so severe that the ads can't help, once you hit the sauna. I did watch (or, start up and then do something else while not really watching) ads a bunch for the initial part of the game. Once you get to the sauna, though, there does not seem to be any reasonable way to make progress, even if you're willing to play into their desire for ad impressions.
posted by tocts at 7:21 AM on January 25 [1 favorite]

Yeah -- I noticed that you can get a minor heap of reputation by buying the Christmas theme background, so I did that -- AND I bought one more then background just in case the "+0" for reputation was a mistake, but it isn't.

So I need ~200k more reputation to get the last animal, and I don't think I want to do that.
posted by batter_my_heart at 7:30 PM on January 30

I got my reputation high enough and have bought everything. Now I'm just waiting for five more animals but the manager keeps bringing me animals that were already invited. I'm basically done and only checking a couple times a day.
posted by MaritaCov at 9:53 PM on February 2 [1 favorite]

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