Title: Nekopara Vol. 4
Release Date: November 26, 2020
Reviewed On: PC
Publisher: Sekai Project
Genre: Visual Novel
Looking at the Nekopara series from the outside will reveal that it is simply another catgirl visual novel. Well, to be honest, that’s exactly what it is. However, developer Nekoworks has found a way to make fans fall in love with the growing cast through quality art and sequels that build up a semi-compelling narrative. True, it comes down to having an intimate relationship with catgirls, but Nekopara Vol. 4 gives us a more emotional and unique angle by focusing on the main protagonist.
Nekopara Vol. 4 opens the La Soleil doors once again, and it’s as busy as ever. The main protagonist, Kashou, is excited to see the growth, but something is eating away at him. He begins doubting his skills as he recalls how his father mentions that his cakes lack something known as a core. The story then shifts to Kashou, attempting to clear his head and go on a mission to meet up with his mentor and figure out what he lacks.
It’s an interesting premise for the series that has mostly focused on the catpanion characters. Each entry would introduce new catgirls and build on their personalities. However, here, we see fully established friendships between the cast and some growth in their personalities. Kashou has been known to help these characters in the past, so now it seems they are willing to do their best to help him, and it’s fun to see.
With a significant focus being on the already established cast, it’s interesting how the scope of Nekopara Vol. 4 evolves over its narrative. Kashou finds himself in Paris with Shigure, and they encounter another catgirl who is helping out his mentor. There’s a backstory between Kashou and this character, but it’s a story beat that should probably go unspoiled.
The narrative stays mostly focused on Kashou but deviates in some instances to share moments of the girls interacting with those they aren’t generally paired with. Further, we see the characters celebrate the holidays together, which creates a nice passage of time for the story. Still, this is an ecchi, so expect the obligatory hot springs and deviation from the plot to set up some intimate scenes.
There’s a good sense of pacing for the story, but I couldn’t help that some scenes felt rushed as the narrative really wants to focus on Kashou’s growth here. It’s great to see him get the spotlight, but I wish they would have also given him the option of voiced audio to sell the experience. He’s even present in the CGs, so why not just go all-in?
The relationship scenes’ speed allows the story to highlight Kashou and Shigure’s relationship in this entry. Still, the developer found ways to incorporate the large cast of characters and give them a few scenes that complement the narrative’s progression and reflect their personalities. It’s ultimately a way to show their growth without reusing old jokes. Still, you’ll get scenes of Cinnamon drooling and Chocola and Vanilla doing their best, but the narrative plays off these scenes instead of shoehorning them into the story for the sake of it.
To be clear, there’s minimal downside to Nekopara Vol. 4. In fact, for an ecchi catgirl visual novel, it doesn’t let up on its presentation. The comedic writing is solid for most of the scenes, and the numerous backgrounds, CGs, costume changes, poses, and animations really sell the experience of this visual novel.
Interestingly, given that this does have h-content in it, I played through the game without the h-scenes and still enjoyed the narrative for what it was. There’s only a slight focus on the sexual aspects of the story, but it’s one of the more cohesive all-ages versions that I’ve read. As for the h-content, well, it’s pretty graphic, and I’m sure fans will enjoy all the quality time they get to spend with new and returning characters. There’s a decent balance of h-content and non-h-content found throughout the story, which justifies the added cost of the 18+ DLC. Still, if you are playing this game, I feel like you’ll be picking up the DLC sooner or later.
Nekopara Vol. 4 gives the fans exactly what they want while also focusing on a few emotional story beats of Kashou trying to gain his father’s respect. It’s a unique angle that adds to these characters’ relationships and shows that the developer isn’t getting too comfortable. There’s a layer of quality here, which can easily be found through its design and comedic writing.
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