The Princess, the Stray Cat, and Matters of the Heart Review – A Guide for New Cat Owners

    Title: The Princess, the Stray Cat, and Matters of the Heart
    Developer: TOKYOTOON
    Release Date: June 18, 2019
    Reviewed On: PC
    Publisher: Fruitbat, TOKYOTOON
    Genre: Visual Novel

The art of comedy shines brightest when a sad situation is somehow presented in a fun way which leaves you laughing to tears. Well, that would be the perfect sum up for The Princess, the Stray Cat, and Matters of Heart, a comedic game with the purpose of finding your true love. It’s actually tough for me to be able to find the right words to write that could explain my experience with The Princess, the Stray Cat, and Matters of the Heart, but I guess I should just start by pointing out the obvious.

This here is a visual novel that already tells you all you need to know in its title: It’s about a princess, a cat, and teaches you about things that really matter in life or in this case your heart. Although it is mostly a comedic game, which it rarely strays away from, it does, in fact, handle some emotional moments well even with its laughful presentation.

The story revolves around an average boy, who’s named Nora which means “Stray”. A very fitting name since his mother, who passed away, really liked to take in strays, a trait Nora seems to have picked up as well. Nora lives together with Shachi, a girl his mother adopted, who tries to marry him off all of a sudden and is, therefore, looking for his potential marriage candidate. Other than that, he spends his everyday life with his precious friends and along with two other girls he is awfully close to, his popular childhood friend Michi and the cheerful Yuuki. One day, he suddenly meets a very strange girl who is evidently a princess of the Netherworld and came to Earth to destroy it in order to bring back the fear of death since the Netherworld cannot exist without it.

While the premise is kept rather silly at times, I’d like to mention that The Princess, the Stray Cat, and Matters of the Heart still manages to feature some touching scenes which managed to throw me off, in a good way. I really enjoyed the nuances and lessons that the story injects through dialog with the cast, which will probably make any reader reflect things about their own life. Furthermore, I felt that the development of the romance felt natural as the characters confessed their love to each other and their feelings felt really genuine. I feel the need to praise the developers here who were able to create such a comedic game while still being able to make the romance and relationships believable, which is no easy task.

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A thing I also really enjoyed while reading The Princess, the Stray Cat, and Matters of the Heart is that the information about everything that had to do with cats was actually very accurate. As someone who is a cat lover, I was surprised to read the accurate details cats such as the purpose of their whiskers or what kind of food is considered poisonous to them. It made me feel like the game intended to actually educate its players about cats in a playful way, which I think is wonderful. Cat keepers might find out a lot of useful information about their pets during this game that they might not have known about before, or simply feel nostalgic, reminded of their own cat.

The Princess, the Stray Cat, and Matters of the Heart is a dating sim through and through. It is possible to romance four girls in total but only one or two decisions really branch off the game and lead you to a certain route. While decisions are available they are limited and there is only one ending available for each girl. That being said, it feels like The Princess, the Stray Cat, and Matters of the Heart actually works as a kinetic novel, except having multiple romance stories you can choose, which makes playthroughs a little more unique. On a side note, there is also optional content available such as Mewsings which are small side episodes. They are, however, not relevant to the main game and solely have the purpose of being comedic. It is possible to skip them through a decision and go on with the main story.

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One downside of The Princess, the Stray Cat, and Matters of the Heart is that it is censored due to the voice licensing reasons and therefore it’s not clear whether it will get an uncensored version yet. While some CGs only have white bars around the juicy parts, the sex scenes got completely removed from the game. This made the game a bit confusing at times as the bed scenes never happened, and suddenly the characters were talking about it. There are decisions as well through the game where you can choose to skip a sex scene but because it got removed anyway, the choice I made didn’t make any difference. This made things a bit confusing for me. So I had to check a few times whether there was a difference besides a short dialogue scene.

The Princess, the Stray Cat, and Matters of the Heart jokes around a lot about suggestive things which might put someone off. However,  I found the scenes quite funny at first, but the jokes felt really overdone later in the game and I got slightly annoyed at them due to some pacing issues they caused. It’s evident through the adult dialog and situations that The Princess, the Stray Cat, and Matters of the Heart really wants to be an eroge game, even with the lack of sex scenes in this version.

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Something that really stood out in The Princess, the Stray Cat, and Matters of the Heart is that even though it is a visual novel, there are a lot of customizable settings available. It is possible to choose your own desired font or even display two different languages for learning purposes. The settings are so detailed, that you are even able to choose whether you want your font to be bold, shadowed or be outlined along with a load of other features which I found myself spending a good amount of time messing around with.

When it comes to visuals, The Princess, the Stray Cat, and Matters of the Heart is simply stunning and offers beautiful sprites as well as gorgeous CGs and backgrounds. Just listening to the soundtrack alone was already enough to make me smile as their cheerful tunes managed to complement the game’s comedic scenes. Additionally, the voice acting is so good, and even the protagonist is voiced, which is impressive say the least.

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In the end, The Princess, the Stray Cat, and Matters of the Heart slowly became a special and refreshing game for me to experience. Although the comedic parts can feel slightly overdone in the later portions of the game, I ended up enjoying the serious yet playful scenes that managed to make me sad as well as cheer me up at the same time. The range of emotions expressed during this seemingly comedic-centric visual novel was a joy to read through and could only be attributed to the game’s excellent story structure and presentation.

While the censored scenes have the potential to cause some confusion, its removal didn’t change the fact that this is a standout visual novel fueled by a loveable cast of characters paired with stunning illustrations and a memorable soundtrack. If you just so happen to be into cats, cute girls, comedy, and solid writing, then you will most likely absolutely adore The Princess, the Stray Cat, and Matters of the Heart.

Score:
8.2/10
A review copy of the title was provided by the publisher for review purposes

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Lynn Caramella

an enthusiastic writer, who spends her free-time with rather uninteresting and boring things, while absolutely being in love with cute and girly stuff.