Game Title: Nekopara Vol. 1
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Availability: Digital Download
Battery Life: 5-7 hours
Download: 1.9 GB
So, what happens when you have a Hentai Visual Novel and you want to sell it to Western Audiences? Well, as Steam owners have seen, you transform that Hentai VN into a Lewd Romancy VN by removing the Hentai from it and see how well you can edit it to pass as something that doesn’t have sex scenes in it.
There have been plenty of these games on Steam, but how many games like this do you see on consoles and handhelds? Better yet, how many of these do you see on Nintendo handhelds? Well, due to its popularity, a certain Catgirl-themed Erotic series has come to the Nintendo Switch! Crazy, right?
But let’s go away from leading up to it and start talking about it. This is my review of Neko Para Volume 1 for the Nintendo Switch!
Neko Para revolves around a young man named Kashou, who moves out of his family’s Sweet Shop to start his own business in selling Cakes. As soon as he moves into his new place, however, he finds that two of the family’s humanoid Cat-Girls have stowed away and found their way to his new place to live with him. He then finds himself in the tough spot of opening his Cake Shop with two pushy Cat-Girls working their way into the shop’s employ, and his love life.
The plot of Neko Para is a very typical type of storyline when you dive into Harem Anime Cliches. In that manner, it’s a pretty entertaining one with a fair amount of comedy built in. However, its Erotic and Hentai roots are heavily emphasized throughout the game. While this “Censored Version” of the game is edited with all of its Graphic Hentai Scenes removed, there is a large emphasis on talk with the girls climaxing and insinuated sex that happens between all 3 of them.
It’s emphasized a little too heavily in balance with the rest of the game’s storyline. While the writers definitely tried to make this H-Game a non-H-game, the erotic side is pushed a bit too far for those wanting a game that isn’t just about a guy having sex with catgirls.
This is a little redeemed with the “Extra Story” added to the game, which is Uncensored because it contained no Erotic Content, Neko Para Volume 0. This is far more tame and is packed with a lot more comedy in diving into the daily life of the other catgirls of the game, which otherwise are introduced and given no real development until Neko Para’s sequels.
In terms of the story being good or bad, I would say that the story of Volume 0 is good and Volume 1 is decent. Aside from the overly-emphasized sex themes, the world that is depicted and the personal growth of the main characters is quite entertaining and interesting to get into. Volume 0 is a great comedy fest that I really enjoyed. Had the sex implications not been as strong in Volume 1, it would be far better as an overall story instead of a leadup to sex scenes.
As a final note, though, the translation isn’t perfect, either. There are dozens of typos and mistakes littered across the half-dozen hours this game will last. It doesn’t keep you from understanding what is being said, but there’s a lot there.
Neko Para is a Visual Novel with little to no interaction from the player. As such, you will be spending the game either watching, reading, or both as the story unfolds and you’re taken into this catgirl-filled world.
Before diving into the gameplay mechanics, let’s discuss differences between the two versions as well as how the console version differs from the Steam/PC version. First off, there are 2 versions of Neko Para. One is Censored, and One is not. The Switch gets the Censored version, which removes all of the graphic sex scenes from the game and has some slight edits to dialogue around those scenes to try to cover them up.
Secondly, there are some additions in the console version that the PC version doesn’t have by itself. First of all, this contains two games and not just one: Neko Para Volume 1 and Neko Para Volume 0. The latter was a short prequel made before Volumes 2 and 3. As far as I have looked, Volume 0 has to be bought separately on PC, while it’s built into the console release.
The final addition is the “Petting” feature. Neko Para added a Petting feature in its later games that lets you stall any story scene and use a pointer to pet the characters on-screen to get cute, bashful reactions out of them. This has not been a part of Volume 1 until this version of the game, so while this has no affect on the events of the game, it’s a fun little feature that was added on the transition to consoles.
Now, onto the game mechanics, or lackthereof. You can’t really do much in this game. There are no dialogue options or separate endings, so it’s basically here for you to sit and enjoy the story. You have typical Visual Novel controls like Auto-Advance, Pause, Removing the dialogue to take screenshots, and a Save/Load feature, but that’s about it. I’ll have more on that later on.
If nothing else, you do unlock Music and Artwork as you progress through the title’s two games, but there’s not much else here. You enjoy the story, and that’s about it.
In terms of time, you’ll probably be spending about 5-6 hours on this game, across both titles. Volume 1 lasts around 4-5 hours with its couple hours of hentai content taken out, while Volume 0 should last you around 1 hour to get through. This isn’t a bad time for the price they’re asking, but it’s certainly short for a Visual Novel.
And as far as replayability is concerned, there isn’t any. There aren’t any alternate endings or branching paths. It’s just a straight story that you go through and, once it’s over, you’ve unlocked everything and are done unless you want to re-read it later.
Here’s where things get a little confusing. There are buttons for each type of input and feature that you have in the game, but this is a case where the PC version explains it far better than the console version.
There is no tutorial built into the game, so all features, like Skipping or Auto-Advancing text are found by randomly hitting buttons. The only features that are blatantly shown to you are using the – button to repeat voice dialogue, B to hide the HUD, and L to enter Petting Mode. The other controls are on you to find, whereas in the PC version, all options were shown on your screen to be interacted with.
Graphically, it’s not hard for a Visual Novel to look good. Neko Para has beautiful artwork, from the backgrounds and Semi-3D character models to the actual artwork for bigger and more prominent scenes from the game.
Performance is the same. It runs flawlessly without any hiccups, drops, freezing, or crashing issues. It runs nicely, as expected of a VN.
Being a VN, you would expect a lot of Battery Life out of Neko Para. Well, here are my times, from 100% to 0%
Max Brightness + Wi-Fi – 4 hours, 48 minutes
Max Brightness + No Wi-Fi – 5 hours, 06 minutes
Low Brightness + Wi-Fi – 6 hours, 40 minutes
Low Brightness + No Wi-Fi – 6houts, 56 minutes
5-7 hours is a lot. More than enough time to finish both of the games in this release.