NEKOPARA Vol. 1
Gameplay 7
Graphics 9
Sound 8

If you are looking for something cute, lighthearted, polished and filled to the brim with catgirls then NEKOPARA Vol. 1 is the obvious choice. Even without the h-scenes, the Steam version is an enjoyable, albeit slightly short, romp. The E-mote system works quite well and the artwork by Sayori is absolutely gorgeous. It is not as long or as involving as some other kinetic novels, but serves as a very polished and enjoyable introduction to the genre.

Gameplay: NEKOPARA Vol. 1 is a kinetic novel, so gameplay is restricted to simply clicking through the story.

Graphics: Beautiful artwork by Sayori and the animation is a lot livelier than what is the norm for the genre thanks to the E-mote system.

Sound: Full Japanese voice acting for the catgirls, plenty of sound effects and some very nice tunes

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NEKOPARA Vol. 1

Developer: NEKO WORKs | Publisher: Sekai Project | Release Date: 2014 | Genre: Casual / Indie / Visual Novel | Website: Official Website | Format: Digital Download

When Kashou Minaduki moves out of his parents’ house to open his own patisserie the last thing he expects is ending up with two catgirls tagging along. The catgirls actually belong to his younger sister, but plead with Kashou to take them in. Unable to resist this onslaught of cuteness, Kashou relents and take the two in. Neko Para Vol. 1 follows the story of Kashou as he learns how to cope with the two catgirls, Chocola and Vanilla, and run his own business, La Soleil.

NP was originally an adult title, but thanks to Steams strict guidelines has been toned down considerably. It is still a game about genetically modified humanoid cats, complete with ears and tails, so be prepared for some questionable stuff if you are not used to this kind of thing. The h-scenes might have been removed, but the game doesn’t sugarcoat the fact that the lead character ends up with both girls as his “catpanions.” The advantage is that the story doesn’t feel butchered just to make it appropriate for all ages. This is a good thing as the game is a kinetic novel, which means the story is very linear and you never get to make any choices.

The best part about NP is definitely the visuals which are simply gorgeous. From the wonderful art style to the adorable characters the game will have you overdosing on cuteness. The polished visuals are courtesy of Sayori, who is the original creator of Chocola and Vanilla. Apart from the overall visual style the other thing that is immediately eye-catching about NP is the animation system. Traditionally visual novels are pretty static affairs, with the characters only changing their expressions and maybe clothes if you are lucky. NP uses something called the “E-mote” system for animations, which results in characters blinking, moving their lips when talking and plenty of other smaller animations that make them seem livelier. This makes quite a dramatic difference to scenes and is definitely something that I would love to see more of in future visual novels. The character animations for the girls moving closer to the screen is particularly neat and you can even set the bounciness of the girls’ chests via a slider in the options menu! If that’s not attention to detail then I don’t know what is. There is also a couple of very cute chibi scenes of the characters.

The audio in NP is just as good and features full speech for all the girls. The actresses providing the voices for the characters do a great job considering the dialogue that they have been given. If however you find any of the voices to be a bit too grating you can adjust the voice volume for each of the girls independently.

Sound effects are equally good and the game contains a fair amount of these to liven up the scenes even further. I did however find myself laughing out loud at the most hilarious fly “buzzing” sound that I have ever heard! The music fits the mood of the game perfectly with tracks that are either cheerful and upbeat or slow and mellow. My two favorite tracks in the game are “Neko will be…” and “Neko to sanpo” but all of the tunes are quite good. As this is a kinetic novel your interaction with the game is reserved to clicking to advance the text, but you can adjust the display speed and even choose between English, Chinese and Japanese.

The uncensored version of the game has about 3 h-scenes that are not present in the Steam version. Since the Steam version is about half the price of the adult version it does soften the censorship blow somewhat. Personally I don’t think the removed content makes that big a difference to the story, but if you expect to see any type of nudity you would be better off with the adult version.

Due to its short playtime Neko Para Vol. 1 feels more like an introduction to the story and characters instead of a full-blown title. The story is very lighthearted and plays out like a slice of life comedy, so it doesn’t have the same emotional impact as visual novels such as Kana Little Sister or ef: A Tale of The Two. However, given the subject matter this is hardly surprising and anyone buying a game about catgirls should know what to expect. Chocola and Vanilla are definitely the stars of this first volume, but a couple of other cute cat girls also make their appearance, with hints that they will play a bigger role in future installments. NP is an entertaining title for relaxing and unwinding as you can just sit back and immerse yourself in the cuteness of it all. One thing is for sure, I definitely enjoyed the story and setting more than visuals novels with similar themes such as Bazooka Cafe and Come See Me Tonight. If you are still on the fence, Sekai Project has a demo available for Neko Para Vol 1 on Steam, so you can try out the game yourself.

System Requirements

  • OS: Vista
  • Processor: 1.8 GHz Pentium 4
  • Memory: 1 GB RAM
  • Graphics: 1280 x 720
  • DirectX: Version 9.0
  • Hard Drive: 3 GB available space
  • OS: Vista
  • Processor: 1.8 GHz Pentium 4
  • Memory: 1 GB RAM
  • Graphics: 1280 x 720
  • DirectX: Version 9.0
  • Hard Drive: 3 GB available space

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3 Comments

  1. Tomato-King January 11, 2015
    Reply

    I wish Steam would just man up and allow adults to play adult games on their service. They have a stranglehold on the market, allow all kinds of violence, but no nudity. Can you imagine a cinema forcing movies to remove all sex scenes and nudity just so kids can also watch them? That’s exactly what Steam is doing.

  2. MWiH January 12, 2015
    Reply

    Wish this was part of the manga sale on Steam.

  3. Kenshinkensei January 12, 2015
    Reply

    Enjoying the increased VN coverage 😀

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