NekoMiko Review – A Ball of Condensed Cuteness

    Title: NekoMiko
    Developer: qureate
    Release Date: January 24, 2019
    Reviewed On: PC
    Publisher: qureate
    Genre: Visual Novel

If you’ve spent any amount of time on the weaboo side of the internet you’ll know that ‘neko’ is the Japanese word for cat. You may also know that a ‘miko’ is essentially a priestess for a Shinto shrine. So I’m going to let you take a wild guess as to what Qureate’s latest title called NekoMiko is about. It doesn’t take too much imagination. And if your first guess was about a programming language used in the production of a specific brand of Belgian coffee, how did you even find this review?

In NekoMiko, you play as the most faceless protagonist this side of slender man. Your namable self-insert vessel is down on their luck, being recently dumped by their girlfriend (who I refuse to believe actually exists). It just so happens that he stumbles upon a rundown Shinto shrine in the smack-dab middle of metropolitan Japan, run by, you guessed it, catgirl shrine maidens. Or NekoMikos? Does that actually function as a word? Apparently yes (I asked an English major).

Anyway, the denizens of the shrine believe that our protagonist has an aura filled with bad luck and attempt to exorcise him. Fortunately, he is filled with too much bad luck and the NekoMiko’s are unable to exorcise him and decides to accompany him to ward it off. This is fortunate for two reasons. One, this is where the plot kicks in and otherwise we’d have even less of a story than what we actually got. And two, who wouldn’t like to have a couple of cute catgirls hanging out with you? That’s the real draw of this title after all.

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The visuals in the game are pretty great, with each of the background graphics looking fantastic. The UI is crisp and clean, giving you all the options you’d expect from a VN with a decent budget, and they don’t crowd up the screen. The Nekomiko’s also had incredibly detailed sprites, which does everything right to look extremely cute. Surprisingly, they’re even animated, using a program called E-mote, similar to that of Live2D. It really sells the cute, albeit, some may get turned off by the fact the chests are animated too, which I thought that was a bit unnecessary. However, the large majority of people playing this game are, well filthy degenerates going to be looking for exactly that. After all, despite the game being on steam, you may notice the existing official R-18 patch. It’ll explain a lot. Because there are several problems with this title.

Despite having choices that actually impact the ending, NekoMiko is a very short title. If you run auto-mode and use skip on scenes you’ve already seen in the following playthroughs you’ll run up a playtime of under three hours. Which isn’t bad on its own. But those three hours become a bit iffy in terms of enjoyment when the script is extremely stilted. Right from the start, you’ll likely start to notice that every few sentences, something feels off with the script. Either sentences are out of order or they just don’t flow right. Sentences are stilted, words like ‘are’ and ‘is’ are constantly used incorrectly. This game wasn’t translated by someone with a strong grasp of English which really takes a player out of the experience.

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One strong thing the game has going for it, aside from the fantastic visuals, is the soundtrack. What should really be something minor in the grand scheme of things for a basic eroge, was instead something almost deserving of a better game. Each of the three endings has a different ending track, and each of them goes HARD. You’d think this was some sort of epic introspective adventure about the meaning of luck and how to become a better person, but no. It’s an extremely cute and short game with catgirls that climaxes with the protagonist sleeping with one or both of them. It’s a hard pass from me, but if that sounds like something you want, then absolutely go right ahead. And at least we all learned what NekoMiko means.

A review copy of the title was provided by the publisher for review purposes

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Pyre Kavanagh

Senior Editor - Illusions to illusions. Will solve murder mysteries for money so they can buy more murder mysteries. @PyreLoop on twitter