Galge Review – Nekopara

nekoparaIf you looked at the writer of this post, you did not misread it. Gangrelion didn’t play Nekopara, I DID. Yes, this time around I am the one writing a review about the game with super cute girls. Even better, the game with super cute CATGIRLS!Oh boy, it has been a long time since I last played a galge. “How long?” you ask? Welp, how about this:sosYeah, I am getting old. To be fair, I did take a look at others since then, but the last one I really played for real reals was, indeed, Sakura Seasons (or Season of Sakura). But I kept being an otaku, so the current state of the genre is not unknown to me. But, this old story is not what you are here for, let’s go to the cat-girls!NekoparaNekopara is a light hearted galge about a guy who loves western style bakery and decided to leave his family to open his own patisserie, La Soleil. After he gets to his new place, he receives a delivery which contains his life changer company for the next years to come: his two cat girls, Chocola and Vanilla.Chocola & VanillaThe game’s story is all about his daily life and how the pet girls evolve from innocent infants who know just about nothing from human culture to full fledged cat-girls who can help at his workplace and, even, get a very special spot in his heart.

CHARACTERS

kashouMinadzuki Kashou is our main character and, for how much I hear Gangrelion complaining on how many of those are “high schoolers with no special talent”, he is quite different. Kashou is an adult, he owns his life, having a house and a business to run by himself. But, let me tell you something I like to say a lot: Just like not all clichés are bad, not everything original can be good. And, yes, I disliked Kashou.NekoLet me take a problem I had with this game out of the way, going step by step over it. Kashou has no voice. Ok, we get many games like these. It is seen as a way to help the player to have an easier time putting himself in that character’s place. But, in Nekopara, we can’t mold the main character at all, you just read about him, with zero interaction, so this point is useless. You never interact with the game, you never choose any option. I can go with that, but why use a voiceless character when I can’t play the game putting myself on his shoes?nekopara_vol1 2015-01-18 11-22-55-86And, even worse, I end up doing so anyway. And, since I can’t stop him from doing all the stupid things he does in the story, I ended up being annoyed by it a lot more this way. As an example, at the beginning he wants the catgirls to leave and go back to his old house. Sounds understandable, except by the fact that they are actually very useful. They were helping him from the start and he still wanted them to go, despite how much they wanted to stay and help. Man, this protagonist isn’t really, really, kind.nekopara_vol1 2015-01-26 21-41-05-42Now, let’s start with the good stuff, the cat-girls. I think most people would like them just for how cute they are. I don’t.nekopara_vol1 2015-01-18 11-44-31-60Let me explain. I think that being cute in this genre is not a feature, it is a given. The whole idea is to give a story about appealing girls we can fantasize about, so they are always cute unless the game is doing something gimmick (or wrong). And that is totally fine, every genre has it’s own givens. But, as I write this for a review, I want to help you to decide if your money will be well spent here, and talking about something you know you will get in just any game of the genre by obligation is not how I want to do it. By all means, I will judge them as much like I would judge an ugly dude as possible.Neko.Para.full.1819278Does that mean I disliked the girls? Not at all. I actually liked them. They are not just cute.Chocola.(Neko.Para).full.1819261Chocola is our first heroine. She is a happy and agitated cat-girl, who loves her master and will do anything she can to help him, despite him not always deserving it. She is one of those people who is so glad about enjoying her time that she ends up rubbing some of that happiness on us. She treats her master well, she is helpful and hard-working. A very likeable character.Vanilla.(Neko.Para).full.1819262Vanilla is the smart one. She acts like she wants to be tsundere, but is very clear that she is not just following chocola when she goes to Kashou’s house. She has a good sense of duty and can be quite funny from time to time. She also makes a very interesting contrast with chocola.steamworkshop_webupload_previewfile_339048194_previewUsually, hetare characters are used to flash out the girls around him. His problems reflect to the reader how much better the heroines can do everything he can’t. But, there is another way to accomplish a similar effect. When you want to flash out the traits of a character, you can put him besides a contrasting character, like Chocola and Vanilla. They look and act very different, so that Chocola’s eternal excitement full of clumsiness can flash Vanilla’s calm and effective slow pace, and vice versa. This is smart and well done. I liked that well-placed effect a lot in this game. That is good character composition.catsThere are other characters, but they appear so little that I am not going deep into it. Expect  more of them in Volume 2.

Sound

Except by a song that makes me snap my fingers for how much it resembles the Addam’s Family theme at a certain part, I liked the songs. They are not remarkable, but do a good job and fit the game atmosphere well. The voices are good and do a decent job. The damn silent protagonist still annoys me to the bones.

The problem

moreGangrelion made a tweet about how angry I got with Nekopara at a certain day. And is totally true. I got very, VERY, pissed with it. Because this game has a problem I have been complaining since a long time ago. The sex is not used to develop it’s characters, instead the game goes through the trouble of worsening the story so we can have some sex. The fact that I played the all-ages version and didn’t get any sex  probably did not help at all in that.nekopara_vol1 2015-01-26 21-47-07-91As I have said before, I have been an otaku for a very long time. The whole sex with cute little girls may not turn me on, but I learned to live with it long ago. If it is with a totally fictional character, I am ok with it. It is a trait of the genre and it is not going away. But lazy writing is something I am never ok with.nekopara_vol1 2015-01-18 11-33-04-63

Oh, before I forget, SPOILERS:nekopara_vol1 2015-01-17 23-33-30-77I was wondering how the nice relationship of father and daughters the characters had would change to that of love. I knew it would happen. I expected an interesting development, full of conflict and a big taboo to overcome in name of this new love. The hardships that would takes us there, the quest, the… nekopara_vol1 2015-01-26 21-46-16-48Cat heat period. Yes, I just said it, the cat-girl goes into heat period. There you go. Now, sex. What the hell, you gotta be shiting me, how lazy can those stupid writers be with this whole fuc…niceboat3Ok, ok. I am calm now. But it was such a disappointment. The fact that the game had me invested so far made it all worse. I HATED this development, it was lazy and cheap. It was foreshadowed and obvious, but that doesn’t make it good. Besides, they even do (a little) better with the second catgirl… Why? Why couldn’t they make the characters have some development prior to the matting season to lead to that point? No, just heat and sex. Go on, pick your tissue box now. I was pissed off. Not because my precious cat-girls went into sex life, but by how it was done in this game. nekopara_vol1 2015-01-17 23-15-51-29If you are looking for a great game, with an awesome story, this is not it. I think galges can do much more, it is a genre full of potential. Since it is so much about reading, the writing can go super deep and the reader will pay attention instead of asking for the next battle. Sadly, many Galges as this one are ok with having just a simple story that gets there by showing cute girls. I want more from the Steam games I pay 20 bucks for, and I want this genre to have it’s games on Steam to be compared with the likes of The Binding of Isaac, not with The Slaughtering Grounds. Nekopara is solid, but we need better stuff to show what galges can really do.nekopara_vol1 2015-01-26 21-47-27-40Did I hate the game? No. Just a part. Nekopara was still fun to watch. Do I recommend? If you like this kind of happy and light story, yes, very much. If you want a reason to enjoy it one handed (or with both hands, don’t really care about how you enjoy yourself…) don’t go for the Steam version, for as much as I joked about it not being really all-ages, it is super tamed. If you are like me, and expect great stuff, Nekopara is not quite there, but it is not trying to. So, at what it is trying to do, I think it is good enough.

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13 responses to “Galge Review – Nekopara

  1. I understand… having followed Sayori’s stories… with… ahem cat girls… Vanilla is more like the yuri yandere stalker but sometimes if it’s with Chocola, getting fucked by Chocola’s owner is fine too according to the original bios Vanilla is owned by Chocola owner’s little sister… but I think thats retconned here… mmmm meh…

    • I forgot… Vanilla likes Chocola a bit too much mmm better read those neko works doujins hahaha

      • She really does : D
        Here they say he is the one who found the two catgirls togheter and took care of them, so they treat as if those two are his. All the othes are Shigure’s. I think Vol.2 will explain them better.

  2. Makes me wanna replay Wanko to Kurasou. It also does the pets in heat thing, but the way they went about it felt pretty practical. Plus the MC is cool-headed and was a former gigolo.

    • Ok, that sounds… different. Interesting, even.

      • I also recommend Wanko to Kurasou. It has some dark elements (Early death, Animal abuse) that doesn’t make it a “fluffy” game. The “heat” is handled more seriously than nekopara-has some progression. There also is quite some character progression for the heroines as well.

  3. I really pity the damn fools who even remotely believe this has a good story. In reality, the art and setting screams nukige (or at least a poorly made charage) and the weeaboo shitheads who can’t realize that are pretty much insane

    • I can see your point, but Mr. T jokes aside, I always expect the games I play for the first time to be good, even the ones that don`t look much like it. If I ever get to a point where I don`t, I am not gonna buy it.
      And I seriously think that Nukiges can have at least a decent writing, taking your plot into simple sex theme does not force the writer to be lazy or incompetent. We should receive as much hard work in the making of our games as fans of other genres.

      • I agree with the latter, since I’ve actually played “good” nukige such as the Pure Girl, Innocent Girl, and even some Softhouse-seal Grandee games that have heartwarming stories, but is really designed for the sexual content.

        It’s just that when the plot is so cliche with the characters obviously designed to draw weeaboos, is when I can say with confidence that the game is bad. Prime Example: Kemonomimi. If that becomes a central theme or a selling point in a game, the game will suck–period. No game has ever been “good” when such characters were designed.

        Obviously, your typical weeaboo won’t be able to realize this. Hell, they won’t even realize this is a “bad game” in terms of story even after playing it.

    • Reply system on WP sucks… so I will reply in a different comment.

      I get your point, even if I don’t think it is impossible to do a decent writing, having a high level of cliches to sell the game on the back of sex does walk together with being lazy to write good stuff. I don’t mind those who like that kind of game, I dislike those who create them. On the other hand, I think that, if the people who buy this kind of game would start complaining about their writing, maybe the games could get better.
      My main point is: yeah, I don’t like when the cliche line goes so low, but I just avoid those games. Which should be bad for them, as I am surely not the only one.
      That is an interesting idea for a post, the impact of those games on the gamer population and if they actually harm the industry. Don’t think many people would be happy with me writing it though and it would need a fairly long research about things I don’t yet know.

  4. The story wasn’t that good… I know several more “neko” themed games that did this much much better.
    However, if there’s one thing I enjoyed in the game, it was the art – I was surprised how Nekoworks animated the facial expressions of the characters.

    • Now that I think about it, I should have written about the graphics and kinda didn`t… I like the art and was gladly surprise with the quality of the e-mote too. Good stuff.

  5. I’ve been checking on this website for information about the galges and other games to understand what humans consider as good or a “masterpiece” like creation. I’m astounded nobody is trying to contact them directly to give them advice about future creations of theirs.

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