Anyone familiar with the NEKOPARA franchise will know that much of the beauty behind it all lies in the wonderful cast of characters, with their colorful personalities. You can never go wrong with girls dressed up in costume and playing the roles as cute kittens, as you take care of them on a daily basis. NEKOPARA Extra doesn’t shy away from all of that cuteness and really provides a heartwarming experience to anyone who’s new to the series, but also those who are devoted to it. NEKOPARA Extra is a visual novel and so for most of the time, you’ll be heavily invested in discovering more about each character, what their roles are and how they interact with their cast members. The strong narrative is what really drives a visual novel, and NEKOPARA Extra maintains that high level of quality presentation that the series is well known for. If you’re in the mood to shop and in need of a fresh visual novel experience, then look no further than NEKOPARA Extra!
What to Expect
What makes NEKOPARA Extra a first-class choice for visual novel devotees is that everything feels dynamic and constantly evolving. The more you discover about a certain character, the more involved you become, and that in itself starts to generate a strong narrative. Relationships play such an integral role in any visual novel game, but what’s great about NEKOPARA Extra is more in the “how” more so than the “why”, or “where”. Sayori-chan, the incredibly talented illustrator and creator of NEKOPARA, really brings everything to life with the way characters are animated on-screen using the E-mote system, which you don’t tend to see used a lot in other visual novel titles.
All the characters feel like they’ve come to life on-screen and you can interact with them by rubbing them on the head using the mouse, which can either help to brighten up the mood or annoy your cute kitten family. NEKOPARA Extra allows you to be adventurous and learn more about the cast of characters in this sequel to the series. Even more appealing is how you can have two languages displayed on screen simultaneously, which is awesome for those perhaps wanting to learn Japanese, English or even Chinese! The amount of options available to you are wonderful, and so we encourage you to try them out once you dive in.
NEKOPARA Extra takes place well before the main events of the series, roughly half a year before the inauguration of La Soleil, where you began your trials with Kashou. Chocola and Vanilla are still adorable kittens when they first arrive at the Minaduki residence, and before they were confident enough to express themselves openly to the other members of the house. Everything happens slowly and you start to see just how Chocola and Vanilla grow as a pair, getting to know not only themselves but also their master Kashou, who they eventually grow to love and hold a promise to.
Not many titles can create a presentation as vivid and dynamic as the NEKOPARA series, and NEKOPARA Extra truly exemplifies that. The minute you turn on the game you’re greeted with a beautiful palette of colors that all seem to sync well with one another, further complimenting the character designs that you see here. Everything from the environments and the way characters interact with each other look so fluid and never come off as bland or muted. The use of sharp vivid colors really helps to bring out the characters better and breathes more life into the game overall. The use of the E-mote system allows for all of this to be possible and without it, the visuals truly wouldn’t pop as much as now. This isn’t to discredit Sayori-chan in any way because even without the system in place, the characters are still portrayed beautifully. The UI is clean and devoid of any clutter, making navigating to different menus a breeze.
NEKOPARA Extra does a splendid job of adding the right form of music in order to evoke emotion from you as the game progresses. It’s the subtle things like footsteps or, let’s say, a character taking a sip of tea, that add more depth to the game, providing just enough realism to ensure the characters feel real. The cheerful sounds make you feel good while playing, reeling you in slowly with every interaction and never missing a beat. While the game does sound great on speakers, we do recommend that you grab a nice pair of headphones to truly get the best experience possible while playing, because every little bit of detail matters. While some may not be too enthused with the high pitch kawaii voice acting, one thing is for certain: NEKOPARA Extra does an exceptional job of really capturing the emotion and personality of each character. This is what truly sells the game in many ways; without proper voice acting you tend to feel less emotionally attached to what’s happening, but when there’s a voice to give life to the cast then it really helps to provide a stimulating feeling and warmth.
As with any visual novel, there’s going to be a lot of reading and paying attention to everything that happens throughout the story. Decisions you make will affect you at some point, which is what really makes playing NEKOPARA Extra so fun. We mentioned earlier that you’re able to interact with both Chocola and Vanilla using the touch functionality, which really adds another level of immersion since it’s almost as if you’re right there with them. Often times in other titles you get so caught up in the dialogue and don’t really get a chance to establish some form of bond in a physical way, but NEKOPARA Extra totally encourages you to do so. It’s a welcoming feature that allows you to experience the game in a more personal manner, petting the characters to evoke an emotion which only adds a new layer of excitement every time.
You’re able to choose the speed at which you’d like to read and so, if you want to skim through the entire game, then increasing the multiplier to your liking is available. Perhaps the most striking feature of them all comes down to the multiple language setting, which gives you the ability to place two languages on screen at the same time, like we already mentioned. In a way, NEKOPARA Extra serves as not only a visual novel but also a tool for which you can use to better understand sentence structure, intonation and other important factors in Japanese. This of course can be said for those wanting to learn Traditional Chinese as well, since you can also place English subtitles above with Traditional Chinese beneath it and then come to better understand the flow. This feature may not seem like a big deal to some since maybe their experience is more focused towards the overall narrative and character development, but in all honesty, this added feature just allows for more discovery and a more provocative experience long term. Once you’re done with the story, there’s always the opportunity to come back and replay scenes that had some sentences you wanted to learn!
Honey's Gameplay Consensus:
NEKOPARA Extra is a well executed prequel and let’s players have the freedom to enjoy themselves, while coming to learn more about La Soleil and the Minaduki residence before the girls have all matured. It’s a great title for those who are looking to get into the NEKOPARA series and a nice little refresher for hardcore fans just looking to cherish some old memories. While not as long as the other NEKOPARA titles, NEKOPARA Extra still serves up a good time and doesn’t disappoint in any major way.
Wonderful voice acting.
The E-mote system really does wonders to ensure gameplay feels interactive and encourages immersion.
Can be used not only as a way of entertainment but a way to learn new languages too! A big plus!
A great title for anyone new to the series and want to know more about the NEKOPARA world.
A little shorter compared to the other NEKOPARA titles.
Honey's Final Verdict:
We hope you enjoyed our review of NEKOPARA Extra and continue to show support by checking out our other reviewed titles as well. We’ll definitely be covering a lot more NEKOPARA titles as well as a plethora of visual novel hits, so be sure to keep it locked here at Honey’s Anime for all things gaming for otaku! Be sure to follow us on Twitter to stay up to date on all the latest news pertaining to anime and gaming from around the globe. In addition, follow us as well on Twitch and come watch us play our reviewed titles live!
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Author: Rob "NualphaJPN" B.
A passionate fan of gaming, writing, journalism, anime, and philosophy. I've lived in Japan for many years and consider this place to be my permanent home. I love to travel around Japan and learn about the history and culture! Leave a comment if you enjoy my articles and watch me play on twitch.tv/honeysgaming ! Take care!