The Princess, the Stray Cat, and Matters of the Heart
Gameplay 8
Graphics 9
Sound 8

The Princess, The Stray Cat, and Matters of the Heart is a charming and humorous visual novel with a large cast of interesting characters. It opens with the protagonist, Nora Handa, encountering a girl claiming to be a princess of the netherworld, and events spiral further out of control from there. After encountering this newcomer, Nora has to decide whether he is falling in love with her or if his heart beats for one of the three other girls in his life. Of course, the fact that he has been cursed to change into a cat whenever he is kissed also complicates matters further. Overall, this is a great visual novel, but there are some gaping holes where all the adult content has been removed.

Gameplay: Completing all four of the routes in the game is a lengthy process but very enjoyable.

Graphics: The artwork is really good, but it is a pity that the adult content had to be removed.

Sound: Full voice acting for the characters, along with a varied soundtrack

Summary 8.3 Outstanding
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The Princess, the Stray Cat, and Matters of the Heart

Developer: TOKYOTOON | Publisher: TOKYOTOON, Fruitbat Factory | Release Date: 2019 | Genre: Casual / Adventure / Visual Novel | Website: Official Website | Purchase: Steam

Life has not been easy for Nora Handa, the protagonist of The Princess, The Stray Cat, and Matters of the Heart. His mother, who had a habit of opening their home to all the kids in the neighborhood to feed them as well as help them with homework, passed away after becoming ill. This left Nora all alone, except for Shachi Yuuri, a girl his mother pretty much adopted when she was a child after being found alone on the beach with nobody to take care of her. Since the death of his mother, Nora has been lonely but honored his mother’s tradition of opening his home to the neighborhood kids. Apart from Shachi, Nora has a couple of good friends at school who prevent life from becoming too dull. Then, one day, on his way to school, Nora bumps into a girl in the park who appears to be seriously ill. This girl, who calls herself Patricia of the Netherworld, claims to be a princess on a mission to end all life on Earth. Unfortunately, she can’t quite handle all the life around her in the park, and Nora steps in to help her after she becomes overwhelmed. This act of kindness sends his life spiraling down a new path that involves more magic, mayhem, and romance than he could ever have anticipated.

The Princess, The Stray Cat, and Matters of the Heart is the English translation of the 2016 visual novel Nora to Oujo to Noraneko Heart. The game is a visual novel where the protagonist can choose between four romantic routes. In addition to pursuing a romantic relationship with Patricia, Nora can instead opt to get closer to Shachi. In addition, there is Michi Kuroki, his childhood friend who is now a strict Academy monitor, and Yuuki Asuhara, a rebellious freshman who has her hands full with part-time jobs. Getting romantically involved with any of these girls will take the story down vastly different routes as you spend more time with them while the others become background characters. However, there is one problem that Nora has to overcome, no matter who he chooses. The small fact that his encounter with Patricia and her magic has turned him into a cat!

Thankfully for Nora, there is a way to revert to his human form, but it is only possible with a kiss. This leads to plenty of comedic moments where the story follows Nora as he slowly becomes accustomed to being a cat. In addition to eventually being able to communicate with other cats, Nora even becomes attracted to them in one particular route after spending too much time in feline form. However, in addition to all the lighthearted comedic moments, the game has its serious spots where the story deals with mature topics, such as love, loss, and sacrifice. This is a step up from titles, like Sakura Beach, in terms of story content.

Each of the four girls has their own problems that they face, such as Michi’s overbearing mother, who continually pushes her to study instead of socializing with the riff-raff, and Yuuki, who has to deal with some bad decisions she made in her past. Then there’s Shachi, with her mysterious origins, and Patricia, who was supposed to destroy the Earth instead of falling in love with one of its denizens. Along with the four heroines, the game also features a large cast of supporting characters, such as Nora’s classmates Nobuchina, Yuki, and Koki, as well as Patricia’s two sisters, Lucia and Euracia. Overall, the story was interesting enough that we completed all four of the routes that are available in the game, which is a process that took more than 30 hours. It helps that the translation quality for the game is genuinely superb, and apart from the major choices about which girl to pursue, the story is pretty much kinetic, so there’s no re-reading involved to get to all the endings.

As enjoyable as the game is, there is no getting around the fact that its original release was adults-only and featured copious amounts of sex scenes. Understandably, all of these have been ripped out to release the game on consoles, while some of the risqué non-sexual CGs were censored with light beams. This PC version is based on the Switch release, so it’s not as butchered as the PS4 version that had to be censored even more. However, it is still without any sex scenes or nudity, which has already angered fans who were looking forward to playing the game in its unaltered form on PC. The reason behind the removed content appears to be related to licensing issues with the voice acting, which means the chances of an adult version or even just an adult patch for the game being released in the future appear to be zero. For the most part, the removal of the sex scenes didn’t bother us too much, but there’s no denying that it can make the story feel a bit jarring and disjointed at times. Patricia’s route suffers the most because of the censorship, as there were times when we had no clue what actually happened between the characters. To make matters worse, the rest of the scenes are entirely intact, so characters will talk about or refer to things that took place during the scenes that were cut. The game is still perfectly playable without the adult content, but we would be lying if we said the removal is not noticeable.

Visually, this is a great looking game and doesn’t look dated at all, despite the age of the original release. The backgrounds are beautiful, and so are the character designs. Even with the cut content, the game still features a ton of CGs, and even a couple of new scenes called “Mewsings” were added. These have little to do with the main story and feel more like the humorous sketches of the anime version. While they don’t make up for the cut content, they are a nice new addition to the game. Special mention should also go to the game’s design of Nora’s feline form. The artist has done an incredible job with his expressions and reactions to all the madness surrounding him in this form. We also have nothing but praise for the soundtrack, as there are more than 50 tracks to listen to while playing the game. Considering the amount of time it takes to get through all four routes, we are grateful that we didn’t have to listen to the same handful of tracks repeatedly. In addition to all the songs, which include five vocal tracks, the game also features Japanese voice acting for all characters except Nora. Along with a wealth of sound settings, you can also adjust or turn off individual character voices.

Since the game is a visual novel, the controls are very straightforward, but it impressed us with its polished interface. While there is no way to adjust the resolution, the game can be played in windowed or full-screen mode. You can also change between 16:9 or 4:3 aspect ratios and can even change the cursor type. We also really like the fact that you can change the font for all the text in the game and then choose whether you want to make it bold and apply an outline, drop shadow, or gradient as well. The game even supports multiple languages simultaneously so that you can have the English text with the original Japanese text beneath it.

It really is a pity about the censored and removed content of The Princess, The Stray Cat, and Matters of The Heart, as it overshadows the fact that this visual novel is really good. Unfortunately, many players will boycott the game purely for the censorship, which is understandable, but still a pity. We can still recommend the game to anyone who enjoys visual novels with interesting stories and likable characters. Still, if you are looking for adult content, you won’t find it here.

System Requirements

  • OS: Windows 7/8/8.1/10
  • Processor: 1.3GHz and above
  • Memory: 512 MB RAM
  • DirectX: Version 9.0c
  • Storage: 8 GB available space
  • OS: Windows 7/8/8.1/10
  • Processor: 1.3GHz and above
  • Memory: 1 GB RAM
  • DirectX: Version 9.0c
  • Storage: 8 GB available space

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