NEKOPARA Vol. 3
Developer: NEKO WORKs | Publisher: Sekai Project | Release Date: 2017 | Genre: Visual Novel / Casual / Indie | Website: N/A | Purchase: Steam
NEKOPARA Vol. 3 features a return of Kashou Minaduki, owner of the “La Soleil” patisserie and the employer of the six adorable cat girls that work there. It is the fourth Nekopara title released on Steam and continues directly where the previous volume left off, so anyone unfamiliar with the series should definitely start from the first game. Those who have been following the antics of Kashou and cats from the beginning won’t be surprised to learn that this volume focuses Maple and Cinnamon. These two catgirls are the only ones who have not yet become “catpanions” to Kashou, but as always, they have some issues to work out before things progress that far.
Maple and Cinnamon have always been the closest to each other out of the group of catgirls, but their roles in previous titles were relatively minor. With volume three fans finally get to see just why these two have such a tight bond. The story also feels a bit more substantial this time around and offers a few more glimpses into the world of the cat girls. Business is booming at La Soleil, but for this volume more of the story takes place outside the walls of the French-style bakery. It is during one of these scenes, where Kashou treats all the catgirls to a day at an amusement park, that Maple’s talent as a singer is revealed. It turns out that she has a dream to be seen as more than just a cat girl and would like to pursue music as a way to do so. This initially causes some friction with Cinnamon, who isn’t sure how to handle being supportive, which means Kashou has to get involved to get the situation resolved. Of course, the Nekopara games have always had a bit of a harem theme, so it is only a matter of time before the final two catgirls succumbs to Kashou’s charms and join his rapidly growing list of catpanions.
As with the previous games, the Steam version of Nekopara Vol. 3 is censored, so you won’t be seeing anything too explicit. This doesn’t mean that there isn’t any fan service, but as soon as things are on the verge of becoming too steamy, the screen fades to white and rejoins the characters after the dirty deeds are over. Players who are interested in seeing the extended ecchi scenes will have to fork out a little bit more cash on Denpasoft for the patch. The h-scenes are quite lengthy, as over the top as one would expect from a game featuring catgirls and feature some animations to boot, which is rather rare for the genre. The scenes don’t just focus on the new girls either, but all the other catpanions also get some love, so there is plenty of variety. All of this makes it worthwhile for those interested in the h-scenes, but bear in mind that even the uncensored version still features some censorship in the form of mosaics for areas below the belt.
Since Nekopara Vol. 3 is a kinetic novel just like the previous volumes, there are no choices to make or branching story paths. Players can simply sit back and watch the story unfold. The only form of interaction in the game is a button that enables you to click on the catgirls in order to “pet” them.
This doesn’t have any use other than to make them utter cute cat sounds, but it is fun nonetheless. As mentioned earlier, the story feels a bit more fleshed out than previous volumes and the fact that there are plenty of locations other than the patisserie also helps. It is still a story about adorable catgirls who are hopelessly attracted to their master, so don’t expect anything too serious.
Visually, the game looks just as good if not better than the previous volumes. The E-mote system, which allows for animated character movement, still makes many other visual novel characters look like the flat sprites that they are. For this volume it appears like the characters have even more expressions and move around even more during conversations. Fans of the series will also be happy to hear that the boob physics are still present and bounciness can be adjusted via a slider in the options menu. The audio is another highlight, although the soundtrack does sound maybe a little too familiar. However, this keeps things consistent and there are a couple of new tunes that sound really great. The voice acting, which is in Japanese only, is also still great and hearing the cat sounds that the actresses comes up with is almost worth the price of admission alone. Since the game uses the same interface as previous titles everything should be familiar to fans. Everything you need, such as the ability to save at any time, skip through text that you’ve already read or adjust the volume are present and easy to access.
After so many titles in the series already it is doubtful whether volume three is going to sway the opinion of players who didn’t like the previous games. However, fans are in for a treat as this volume is probably the best in the series, depending on who your favorite catgirls are of course. As always, we recommend the uncensored version of the game for the full experience, but even the censored version is very entertaining. The whole catgirl harem angle of the story might be a little too over the top for some people, but Nekopara handles it in a humorous manner. It is definitely not the best place to start for those who are new to the series, but fans will enjoy every minute of it.