Title: The Princess, the Stray Cat, and Matters of the Heart 2
Release Date: November 8, 2019
Reviewed On: PC
Publisher: Fruitbat Factory
Genre: Visual Novel
I made it clear in my review of The Princess, the Stray Cat, and Matters of the Heart that it was a visual novel worth your time. Now, The Princess, the Stray Cat, and Matters of the Heart 2 released in the west, and I looked forward to joining this charming cast of characters once again.
To my surprise, The Princess, the Stray Cat, and Matters of the Heart 2 is a bit different than its predecessor. Still, it retains its high-quality rom-com storytelling fueled with slice-of-life elements. That said, it’s not required to play the first game beforehand since the game focuses on new characters and settings. Yet, it will help you to understand the main protagonist’s situation easier as it takes place following the events of the conclusion. Something important to mention is that this review is based on the all-ages version of the game.
The Princess, the Stray Cat, and Matters of the Heart 2 is set during summer, as the main protagonist, Nora, works at a beach with his friends. Strangely, snow begins to fall. In a chance encounter, while investigating this strange change of weather, he meets Iris, the Princess of Winter, who doesn’t have a place to stay. Typical of Nora, he brings her to meet his friends. Iris then lends her help until her female butler, Noel, finds her. It turns out that Iris has a curse on her that makes everyone forget about her existence along with the kingdom she comes from. It’s then up to the group to help her break this curse.
Fans of this series pretty much know what they can expect from this game. The themes center around many comedic moments filled with sweet romance and even some “touching” scenes. While the story never struck me as emotionally charged, I was drawn to it by its witty comedic tone, which left me laughing quite a few times. The game does introduce two new heroines, Iris and Noel, who are hilarious together and fit in with the group. Noel and Iri’s relationship is believable and you can immediately tell that they both care about each other. As a base for some hysterical moments, Noel can only talk through her voice recorder and has to search for the right tape for the correct occasion.
The Princess, the Stray Cat, and Matters of the Heart 2 puts a significant focus on the new heroines in this story, but players can also romance three returning girls who weren’t romanceable in the first game. These are Nobuchina and the two sisters from the Netherworld, Lucia, and Euracia. While the four past love interests do appear, they’re not romanceable, but do have an extra short story you can unlock when completing a particular route. I found these shorter routes a bit disappointing because I wanted to spend more time with the previous cast members, but such is life.
The mewsing chapters also appear in this entry. Mewsings are occasionally available while playing the game but aren’t directly related to the main story. The only purpose of these chapters is to present a hilarious situation and amuse the reader. I have to admit; they fulfill their purpose. Although they seem a bit silly and out of context at first, it was a refreshing way to implement something between the main story playfully, and I found myself even looking forward to them.
There is a branch in the narrative that happens early in the story. One decision is enough to get into a certain girl’s route. There are no other decisions, except for choosing which mewsing chapter you want to play, and only one ending per girl is available. I found the romance convincing and sweet, yet the censored scenes led to some confusion. It wasn’t clear when a sex scene happened, so I had to guess whether they ended up getting together based on the character’s reaction. Sometimes, it felt out of place when they would suddenly talk about it, but the scenes they were referencing wasn’t in the story. This made me think I missed out on meaningful dialogue.
The Princess, the Stray Cat, and Matters of the Heart 2 supports multiple subtitles for different languages. This is available in case the reader wants to practice their Chinese or Japanese, although it’s only voiced in Japanese. There are various in-game settings available as well, so you can freely choose the font you prefer and customize your visual novel reading experience. The art style is gorgeous, and there are a lot of stunning CGs available, which can be viewed in the menu after unlocking them. Sadly, animations aren’t implemented in the CG gallery.
The subtle animation is impressive in The Princess, the Stray Cat, and Matters of the Heart 2 and makes the characters look a lot livelier during a scene. However, I noticed that when an animation takes place, the game gets laggy, especially in the beginning, even on a powerful rig. This didn’t impact how much I enjoyed the game, but the stuttering animations can be jarring. Additionally, the soundtrack feels nostalgic, and I found the cheerful tone fits the game’s theme.
Although The Princess, the Stray Cat, and Matters of the Heart 2 take place after the first installment, it doesn’t feel like a continuation, more of a side story. The comedic elements and charming romance held my attention through the game’s routes. The story introduces new heroines and new romanceable characters who the reader got to know in the previous entry. So it is possible for newcomers to enjoy this entry.
There’s a lot of things that The Princess, the Stray Cat, and Matters of the Heart 2 does right in its presentation and storytelling. Although I did feel left out of the conversation sometimes with this version’s missing the adult scene. It was strange to see Nora getting together with a new girl. However, fans will quickly find that Iris and Noel are great additions to this series and make it all the more charming to experience.
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