By Steve Baltimore / May 8th, 2017
|Publisher||Sekai Project (Steam), Denpasoft|
|Release Date||April 21st, 2017|
|Age Rating||All Ages (Steam), 18+(Denpasoft)|
I’ll be the first to admit I have a weakness when it comes to adorable catgirls. NEKOPARA is usually my go to Visual Novel to scratch this itch, I mean Azuki is just pure greatness! Anyways with NEKOPARA Vol. 3 facing a delay Sekai Project and Denpasoft have released NEKO-NIN exHeart from Whirlpool. Though these series are from two different developers they have one thing in common—you guessed it—adorable catgirls. The question is, does this title meet the high standards set by NEKOPARA? Let’s find out!
The story begins by telling you a brief history of this world. There were many great battles here, and Ninja Clans are now filled with lots of demi-humans that are loyal to humans. The biggest problem these clans face, however, is that there’s not really a lot of need for Ninjas in today’s society. This doesn’t deter our two heroines Yura and Tama from tracking down their new master, a young man named Haruki, to continue this tradition. Haruki, of course, is very cautious of his new servants when they first arrive, and he tries to keep them at arm’s length. This doesn’t last long, however, as he soon realizes these two sweet girls are really there just to serve him, and he begins to work hard to make a home for them.
The two girls have very different personalities. While both girls are very lighthearted and loving, Yura certainly embodies the big sister type trope. She is much more physical than Tama, but she fails at doing Jutsu, especially the combat type. Yura also blames herself for being soft on Tama while they were growing up, because she would allow Tama to run away after getting upset. This all makes Yura seem more mature than Tama, but I think in the end I just felt she was a loving sister that was completely adorable.
Tama is a bit more insecure about things than Yura. She becomes very jealous of her sister when she finds out she spent some quality time with Haruki alone, and I got the feeling a lot of times that she felt her older sister was kinda her rival, which is a typical anime trope. I felt Tama was cuter than Yura in some ways. She calls you “Onii-chan” a lot, and her voice actress’s tone is so cute it melts your heart every time. It’s not long into this that you feel she is precious and must be protected at all costs.
I played the Denpasoft version of this game, so I had a chance to check out all of the eroge scenes. They are not Live 2D like NEKOPARA; instead, they use a still image, which they zoom in on at various times during the dialogue. The scenes are very well written, and you certainly can feel love and passion for the girls while reading them. I felt like they were about the right length as well. This is important in these types of games since sex scenes that go on too long can actually break the flow of the story a bit. The CGs are 100% uncensored and are high quality.
I would like to note that the Steam version of this game is All-Ages. While I think if you went that route you could enjoy the characters, there’s not a lot of story here once you remove the eroge. The H scenes being removed make Haruki seem like he wanted to be licked a lot and was a habitual head-patter. So my advice would be to snag the 18+ patch from Denapsoft for that version or just buy the 18+ version of the game on Denpasoft.
Speaking of the artwork, it is all very nicely done. The girls look amazing and have great detail in all of their scenes and poses. It is really adorable that their ears are animated while they are on screen. This is the only animation present during the game and really helps to convey the emotional state of the girls. You just want to reach in and start patting them! The backgrounds are really basic. They are well done and help the game’s wonderful presentation overall, but there’s just nothing that really stands out about them.
The music is pretty good, and it does help you get immersed in what’s going on in the story. There are some serious tunes with an Eastern flair when talking about world history or the ninja clans. The opening theme has some pretty catchy vocals, but it would’ve been nice if Sekai Project had added some subtitles for the lyrics. A lot of the other tracks are very playful in nature, much like the girls themselves. The Japanese voice acting here is top notch, and makes this a much better experience overall than it would’ve been without it.
Overall I have to say I enjoyed my time with NEKO-NIN exHeart. The game has a great presentation, the girls are absolutely adorable, the writing is solid, and this is just a short fun read. The game clocks in at around 4 hours, and there is only one choice in the entire game, which will net you one of two different H-Scenes. I feel like the $14.99 price tag is fair for the quality here even if it is a bit short. While I don’t think this title is groundbreaking or deep, it would likely tide over any NEKOPARA fan until the next volume releases.
Game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
18+CatgirlsDenpasofterogesekai projectvisual novelWhirpool