Nekopara Vol. 0 should not really be looked at as its own game since it is only a fan disk of Vol. 1. A fan disk is an added scenario to games, mostly visual novels, that is released after the successful launch of a game. It is similar to added DLC chapters released for more popular titles. As such, one’s enjoyment of Nekopara Vol. 0 would largely be based on how much they enjoyed the first game, and that it is highly suggested that one would play Vol 1 first if there is any interest in this one.
Most things related to production values and mechanics are the same as in Vol. 1, which one could read more about by reading my review of said game. The music, graphics, and mechanics are all the same as the first game. As such, it bears repeating that this game is a straight up visual novel. That means there is no gameplay other than reading text. There are no choices either not are there multiple endings; it is just a novel with text, graphics, music, and voice acting.
Also for any hentai fans, there are no sex scenes this time around. You do have some traditional ecchi bath scenes involving the cat girls (which now involve all six of them) but no full frontal nudity. To be honest, I would have personally preferred if it at least showed frontal nudity for the chest area during the bath scenes. It feels like kind of a downgrade after the first game had it even outside of hentai scenes. It would have been nice to see an uncensored adult version in addition to the all ages version, similarly to how the first game was released. Yes, one may say that it is more of a hassle for a game without any actual sex, but when a game is still an expansion for a hentai title, it wouldn’t hurt. Besides, said bath scene is at the end of the game, and seeing such scenes uncensored would really make it feel more rewarding once you get to the end.
For those that say it was to keep the age rating down to be more family friendly, the game still has what is essentially an M rating on Steam. Furthermore, there have been other games released on Steam that have had bare breast shots that were not AO rated and were allowed on Steam. Although in general, the main reason I bring this up may just be that I wanted to see the breasts of the remaining catgirls that weren’t in Vol. 1 (yes I am in fact, a pervert).
One other small gripe I have with the presentation is some of the placement of the music. It often times feels like songs are played at the least appropriate time plot wise, and are shifted randomly. For example, the track “Aibyou” only played during the sex scenes and a rather emotional moment in the final act. The rarity of the song’s use made it all the more effective each time it was used and carried a strong emotional effect. In Vol. 0, the song is used in a comical scene where Shigure scolds the catgirls for making a mess while trying to clean the bathroom. There are also times where songs will play but will stop after a character only has a few lines. This ends up coming across as rather jarring and causes more difficulty with the game setting the right mood than it should.
In regards to the general storyline, it should also be noted that there is a jarring lack of conflict present throughout the game. While Vol. 1 did have a distinct slice of life focus on it and was more laid back, it did have some strong emotional moments and there were engaging conflicts that kept you invested. With Vol. 0, it is more so just random things kind of happening. Granted it does give more insight on the background of the game’s characters, but once again, it is only going to be enjoyable if you already are attached to the game’s cast.
As a result, Nekopara Vol. 0 isn’t exactly a game that will hold up well on its own merits. I feel it is important to mention this for people who start off with the games in chronological order, or those who will try Vol. 0 out first because it is cheaper. Overall though, Nekopara Vol. 0 was an enjoyable read. The game will take about 1 hour to read through, which seems pretty reasonable when the game is only $3.00 at full price. Between this and Vol. 1, I am definitely anticipating Vol. 2.
This review was originally submitted to GameFAQs on August 15th of 2015, and has been re-edited with enhanced presentation.
Nekopara Vol. 0 can be purchased on Steam (here).
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