Mini-Review #9: Neko for Android

(So I need an excuse to record my phone’s screen. I like it that now I can do it directly on my phone [with the help of an app] instead of using ADB.)

Neko is a tiny app that was originally made for Japanese NEC Pcs back in 1989 and since then has been available for almost every operating system available. It features a white cat that runs around your desktop, chasing your mouse or just running around aimlessly. Depending on the version, there are several skins available, including pallette-swapped cats or other animals, if you’re not a cat person. It’s a very old piece of software and the graphics & animations are primitive at best, but I like it.

I first found Neko through a desktop toy app for KDE called AMOR (Amusing Misuse of Resources), although the cat can only run along the top window border. If you want to experience Neko for Linux, oneko is more faithful to the original.

There are three versions of Neko available for Android. The oldest was xnekodroid, which is a live wallpaper. If you tap anywhere on the screen, a mouse or butterfly would appear and the cat would chase it, just like the desktop version did with the cursor. You can also adjust the type and size of the cat. Unfortunately, this live wallpaper doesn’t work well with my phone (running Android Marshmallow); there’s a gray box around the cat and the mouse/butterfly. It works well on Lollipop and older, though.

Another Neko port called Retro Neko shows the cat inside the app instead of on the homescreen. It’s similar to the previous live wallpaper; when you tap the screen, a bait (mouse/fish/bird) would appear and the cat will chase it. If you move your finger slightly when tapping on the screen, three more cats would appear from behind the default white cat. It’s a quirky port and a little too simple to my liking, but I like it.

ANeko is the best Android port of Neko. It shows the cat on the very top of the screen, even above the status bar and capacitive buttons (if you run it above some apps instead of the homescreen).

There are a handful of skins available; most of them are taken from the Windows version. My favorites (besides Neko itself) are the Alien and TIE fighter skins. It’s open source too, so you can make your own skins.

The biggest difference between Aneko and other Neko ports is the cat don’t follow your mouse. Instead, it moves in a random way, changes direction when you tap the screen, and stops moving when you stop touching the screen.

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