One of the interesting things about visual novels is the laser-focus with which they tend to target their audience. Fault: Milestone Two – Side: Above, for example, is all about people who like to read loads of world-building and backstory. No One But You is for readers who want to be horribly alarmed when their cutesy pink heart game turns out to actually be about murder and abuse.
And Nekopara? Well, Nekopara is for those who want to read about catgirls working at a bakery. Something can be said for a game that knows what it wants to do and unflinchingly does it, which is one of the best ways to describe Nekopara; that trend continues in Nekopara Vol. 2.
Nekopara Vol. 2 continues the story of the La Soleil patisserie – that’s a dessert shop – and its proprietors, Kashou Minaduki and a bunch of catgirls. Kashou wasn’t originally planning to have quite so much catgirl help at the patisserie, but things don’t always go the way one expects, so NEKOPARA Vol. 1 covered Kasho’s time with his assistants Chocola and Vanilla.
Vol 2. focuses instead on Coconut and Azuki, who were present in the first game and take more of a starring role here. They also address a new pair of harem anime tropes; you’ve got your feisty tsundere in Azuki (a character type I’ve never been able to take seriously thanks to watching Hey Arnold as a kid) and your unconfident wallflower in Coconut. If you’re into this sort of thing you’ve seen this before, since Nekopara doesn’t go out of its way to present a new take on its concepts. The plot, which focuses to some degree on the sibling rivalry between Azuki and Coconut, exists largely to have the catgirls say and do endearing things.
This is a kinetic novel, so don’t expect to be making any decisions here. The writing is on par with the previous Nekopara games and much of the music returns from earlier installments; there’s voice acting as well, which as far as I can tell is decent enough. As for the art, it’s, uh…well, it’s high-quality artistry of the sort that we’ve come to expect from this series, and by that I mean this is a fanservice game so I probably don’t need to explain. You can pet the catgirls if you want. That’s an option, one which we won’t be talking about any further. Have I mentioned there’s a new Senran Kagura coming out pretty soon? Yeah.
At around five hours long, Nekopara Vol. 2 isn’t going to keep you playing long; in particular, as a kinetic novel there’s not really any reason to come back to it. Fans of the previous entries are going to enjoy this one as well, though, as it’s certainly more of the same. Nekopara continues to be the best visual novel series in the exceptionally crowded catgirls-working-at-a-dessert-shop genre…and really, what more could you ask for?