Title: Neko-nin exHeart 3
Developer: Sekai Project
Release Date: October 18, 2019
Reviewed On: PC
Genre: Visual Novel
The whole idea of animal girls is pretty popular in the visual novel community, and rightfully so. The situation creates some comedic tones to an otherwise ordinary story plot. Now, developer Whirpool has returned with their newest entry in their Neko-nin series in Neko-nin exHeart 3. Luckily for fans, the developer has added some unique plotlines while growing the cast of girls in this over-the-top ninja girl adventure.
Neko-nin exHeart 3 begins by introducing more backstory for the characters. It’s been a little over two months since the cat-eared ninjas Tama and Yura moved in with Haruki, followed shortly by Ritsu and Maya. As the house keeps filling up, three new animal ninja girls appear at his doorstep, offering their service. However, these girls bring with them a rivalry with Suzuki that expands on her backstory. This rivalry leads up to a well-animated fight scene that made this entry feel like a real ninja visual novel. Yes, finally, these girls aren’t just using their ninja powers to spy on Haruki while he’s at school.
The story itself is perhaps the best entry of the entire series. There’s a nice balance of playful comedy that sheds light on the cast and expands the world. Don’t expect too much in terms of emotional storytelling here, but it was enough to keep me interested in knowing how it ends. If anything, I wish the introduction was a bit longer as the game moves on to the new characters rather quickly, and I would have liked more time to see how the older cast has adjusted to their unique living situation.
Romance routes in the game are all made from choices during dialogue. It’s nothing too complicated since you choose the girl you want to spend more time with, and then off you go. Each of the new girls ends up offering themselves to Haruki, which seems to be typical for this series, so I’ve become used to it by now. Learning more about Suzuki and her backstory in this entry had my attention, even though she doesn’t have a route.
While this could be considered a budget visual novel, there’s a lot of content here and a good 5 – 10 hours of story. Furthermore, there was a decent amount of development put into animations that showed off the girl’s ninja skills. It showed a higher quality side of the series, which improved the presentation overall. The story scenarios were also lengthy and continuously entertaining, which shows how the developer has improved their story structure over time.
Neko-nin exHeart 3 has such nice illustrations but still uses old character models from the previous games. Using old assets might allow them to focus on new environments and the story, but I feel like the series needs updated character illustrations if it’s going to continue. That said, the CGs are well detailed, and the chibi CGs are all rather adorable. The game’s all-ages version lacks a lot of CGs found in the adult release, which I felt warranted the increased price for the patch. Each girl has their own romantic time with Haruki, but I felt the game only wanted to focus on the three new characters, which is understandable.
The music is charming and adds to the playful nature of the story. It also handles the action sequences well, along with the sound effects of the ninja girl’s attacks. Furthermore, I thought voice acting in the game was well down, as this series has a knack for delivering quality comedic content through the character’s expressive voices.
Features in the game are all helpful and feature an Auto Save feature along with customizable text options. For a budget title, the developers know what players want in terms of control over their visual novel experience, and I appreciated it. Also, the game catches players up in a prologue, so if you haven’t played the previous entries, you can jump right into this one.
Neko-nin exHeart 3 is playful and comedic. It is perhaps the best entry in the series in terms of quality and quantity. I wish the character illustrations were updated along with more time spent on the old characters during the story, but this entry does move this series that is only meant to be about cut animal ninja girls. I appreciate the time that the developers spent building this world and making the story enjoyable even though most people are here for the romance. Either way, I’m glad to see this series continue, and if you’re a fan of animal girls, then this is just for you.
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