((This post is dedicated to Pete Davison from Moegamer, for convincing me to get this game. Thanks a lot, you son of a bitch))
My foray into the world of visual novels continues. While I’m slowly working my way through Steins;Gate, I have also taken the time to look through another series, one that also has an anime series that is just about to wrap up. Let’s not waste anymore time, join me after the cut as I dive into the visual novel Nekopara Vol.1
(NSFW images right up ahead)
Talking about Nekopara is going to be a strange thing. It may have the same characters, the same settings, and the same cute antics, but the visual novel and anime could not be more different. While the anime is a cute, fun series about cute cat girls who do cute things. The visual novel is about cute cat girls doing cute things, as well as other stuff, but I’ll get to that in a minute.
If there were two things I could say about Nekopara is this. It has an exceptional pull into its world, and that it is probably too cute for its own good. In terms of the first point, I’ve found myself thinking for hours just about how the world of Nekopara works. I was surprised at the amount of effort was put into this world of cat-girls, how they act, age, and function in a society. This level of detail was needed for the game, and I don’t think it was ever expected. The fact that it is here shows that Sayori and the creators actually care more than just making a quick buck off what is mostly just a porn game.
However, like I said above, the game at times feels almost too cute, to the point that I did find myself suffocating under the amount of kawaii moment that the game just slams at you. One of the things I loved most about LOVE³ -Love Cube- was that the game was an excellent balance of “real drama’ with the cute anime love that people came here to see. Nekopara however, as it lacks the major plot points of the anime, often feels like a series of cute moments with no real rhyme or reason behind them. Yes there is a plot of the main lead Kashou trying to set up a new life, and his catgirls Vanilla and Chocola coming to see him, but it very much plays second fiddle to the real reason people come to the story. Now does it ruin the visual novel? No, but it is something that at times, I felt pulled away from the interesting world that was being built.
Now, on to the other part. Nekopara may be a game about cute catgirls doing cute things, but they also fuck.
They fuck ALOT.
Nekopara Vol.1 is pretty much a full on hentai game, and follows the same path of -Love Cube- where the story is front loaded in the first half of the game, while the second half consists of sex scenes. These sex scenes, like the above mentioned -Love Cube- are all excellently done, with animated images and more than enough sound effects to get the point across. Each of them are sexy in their own right, however unlike –Love Cube- I found these scenes didn’t have the same level of triumph that they did in the previous novel. There was a real sense of satisfaction as you watched the leads of –Love Cube- realize their feelings and give into their passions, while here in Nekopara it felt almost inevitable, and the lead Kashou too often followed in the footsteps of Basara Toujou from Shinmai: just going along with the sex because the plot demands him too. That may come off as overly critical, and it might be. I enjoyed the sex scenes, and again, they are done extremely well for a light novel, but I do feel that there was a bit of magic missing.
Nekopara Vol 1. was a good visual novel. I liked it, I enjoyed it, but I’ll be honest, I didn’t love it. Perhaps that is growing pains, as I watched the anime first and expected a bit more story focus as was shown in the anime. There are two more volumes of the visual novel left, and I am sure that my feelings will change now that I have had time to re-adjust those expectations. Still, it’s a good hentai game, has plenty of sexy characters, and a surprising amount of thought and heart put into the series. A little too cute? Probably, but anything that can leave me with deep questions about the world, deserves a bit of recognition. Check it out if you are so inclined, just remember to download the 18+ patch!