NEKOPARA Vol. 1 + Vol. 0 Review
Available exclusively on PC and Steam
"What's NEKOPARA? Why, it's a cat paradise! Kashou Minaduki, the son of a long line of Japanese confection makers moved out to open his own shop "La Soleil" as a patisserie." ~ Official Blurb
The first review of 2016! I hope you enjoy the review as much as I did playing through the game and writing it.
Nekopara Vol. 1 has been released as both 18+ and All-Ages. This review will be on the All-Ages version on steam. Nekopara Vol. 0 is All-Ages and is a fandisk for Nekopara Vol.1 that takes place right before Vol. 1's story.
The story of Nekopara Vol. 1 opens with Kashou, the main character, stepping into his new bakery, as he has just moved away from home to start a life on his own. However he is quickly interrupted by two of his family's catgirls, Chocola and her sister, Vanilla, who snuck onto the moving truck by hiding in boxes with the help of Kashou's sister Shigure.
Catgirls in this story's canon are treated as pets, family members, and even life partners. The main story of Nekopara itself revolves around the interactions between Kashou, Vanilla, and Chocola, as well as the more minor characters from the cast as they fit into their new life working at Kashou's bakery "La Solei". Throughout the story Kashou must deal with things such as training his Catgirls to help at the bakery, and also become members of society, however sometimes it's much easier said than done.
Music and Art
The sprite work for Nekopara is absolutely stunning, as all of the in-game sprites, and even some scenes have idle animations that bring life into each scene. The screen itself also plays with the imagery, an example being that when you move the game window (in windowed mode) the sprites on the screen “bounce” in the direction you moved the screen.
Nekopara’s soundtrack is (and I hate using this word) kind of generic. the music, while often fitting well with the scenes, lack differentiation from each other. They aren't the same but they really sound similar in theme aside from the two or three quieter themes.
Replayability and Completion
There is no real incentive to replay the game. As there are no choices to be made, there are no “missing things” to go back for. However finishing the game unlocks a music player, as well as CGs and Theater libraries. Though I wish it included background images for the CG library. The steam version also comes with Steam Achievements and Steam Trading Cards.
The Nekopara Vol. 0 Fandisk
Nekopara Vol. 0 is a fandisk for Nekopara Vol. 1, which takes place before the events of Vol. 1's story. Vol. 0's story has a higher focus on the side characters that only made small appearances in Vol. 1, and revolves around the daily lives of Kashou, Shigure, and the Catgirls at their home from a mixed third person perspective, rather than first person in Vol. 1.
Nekopara deals with a pretty out there “what if” story, with only a few characters, the only memorable ones being Vanilla, Chocola, and in my opinion, Shigure. The art is top notch and is absolutely stunning and surprisingly interactive with the screen itself. The lack of choices and therefore proper routes for the catgirls and dare I say Shigure (Friendship Route). The music is high quality but lacks variation, and the novel itself is relatively short compared to what I’m used to reading clocking in at about 4 hours for me at an above average reading speed. though I would still say it's worth the $10.00 (+$2.00 for Vol. 0) price tag.
Final Words and Opinion
From all the praise I’ve heard of the game, I expected a bit more than what I got. I still enjoyed the VN and found the little quirks with the characters pretty funny at time. It's worth the price, but it's one of those games that might be worth waiting for it to go on sale unless you really want to experience it. Also it has a bounciness slider for… plot reasons. I would have enjoyed it a lot more if it had proper routes per each girl, even Shigure (Just because she's the main character's sister doesn't mean you can't give her a friendship route.)
Get Nekopara Vol. 1 Here!: http://store.steampowered.com/app/333600/