Nekopara Vol 1 (Switch) Review – Cat-astic Return
Platforms: PC, Nintendo Switch (reviewed), PS4
Publisher CFK (Switch)
Release: 23rd August 2018 (EU Nintendo Switch)
Slowly but steadily the Nintendo Switch got more and more visual novels ported to it. From D3 Publisher bringing their various Otomes, to Spike Chunsoft´s upcoming titles and now, well, Nekopara Vol. 1 too. Naturally, lacking any kind of mature content and solely focusing on the cute adventures of the catgirls and their master. And honestly, it´s still a pretty fun time for anyone not able to dip a toe in.
A world where catgirls exist. Not only exist but actually are considered the ultimate pet and companion. Yes, a dream come true. It all starts with us moving out of our home, hence leaving our sister and her array of catgirls, in order to open up an own cafe. However, those adorable catgirls can´t possibly leave their master alone and so two of them, Vanilla and Chocola, decide to follow through the mail. After the initial struggles, they begin to serve as maids in the cafe and help out wherever they can, soon transforming it into a Cat Paradise.
By the description alone, it should be obvious what kind of story Nekopara Vol 1 wants to tell: Not a particularly investing one. From the cliché personalities of each girl, like the reserved Vanilla and super cheerful Chocola to many other, to the story mainly focusing on their daily struggles. Loosely separated into different sets and “episodes”, this visual novel feels like an episodic Slice-of-Life adventure with a slight overall plot to tie it all together and actually succeeds at doing exactly that.
I mean, does anyone expect anything else than a bunch of cute girls doing cute things in cute ways? Every single cliché such a title can have is taken and embraced. In form of the girls calling you master in every possible situation, being generally super dependant on you (they´re pets after all), teasing sexual themes and practically doing everything they could do to create the typical harem-atmosphere. However, I don´t have a huge problem with that in this case, since it´s exactly what anyone wants to get here. Nekopara Vol 1 knows it doesn´t sound or look like a serious, plot-heavy adventure and truly loves it. While other titles may try to throw in some things to distract, it´s such a pure, innocent and ultimately childish adventure, no one could possibly hate it.
Even though there are some super slight nods towards darker themes, for example, homeless catgirls or abandoned ones, none of them are explored. Even though it´s a missed opportunity after writing it in here and there, it´s the same with the adult scenes: Does someone want a serious plot or nudity in his typical Slice-of-Life? Not really, despite the fact having options is always better.
Especially since Nekopara Vol 1 is such a high-quality visual novel for the price. Rocking really nice art with girls clearly in love with their panties, making cat faces and looking really adorable everytime they´re on screen. It´s a quite perfect style to capture the innocent nature of this experience, combined with the actually good character design. Additionally, the whole thing is voice acted too, except the main narrator of course. Honestly, it´s just a well-made visual novel.
Nekopara Vol 1 isn´t anything special. It doesn´t gain anything from being on the Switch, except losing its adult scenes for an even cuter experience. However, for anyone seeking an almost childish take on adorable Slice-of-Life and never got into this series, it´s probably the best moment to give it a chance!
[A Review Code was provided by CFK]