Thank you to Digimerce for sending us a copy of Kitty Love for the Nintendo Switch!
When I think about finding true love, my imagination doesn’t usually involve turning into a furry animal and climbing into my lover’s house each night. But if there’s anything “Kitty Love” has taught me, there’s a first time for everything.
Originally released for mobile devices then ported to the Nintendo Switch, this fantasy furry adventure is part of the first wave of dating simulators to be listed on the Switch e-store. If you’re looking for a short and sweet love story, with just a tinge of supernatural, then “Kitty Love” could be the next on your list.
Interesting story and premise
“Kitty Love” tells the story of a simple flower shop employee named Honoka Shinoda (name changeable) who one day, gets cursed by a suspicious-looking cat when she absentmindedly wishes to become one herself. Now she has to live a life where she turns into a cat every single night unless she can break the curse by receiving true love’s kiss. Good thing our protagonist already has a selection of eligible bachelors to choose from, isn’t it?
Admittedly, the line-up of male characters in this game are not the most impressive thing about it. They are fairly standard and conform to typical dating simulator tropes. There’s your childhood friend character, workplace partner, bad boy figure, person-with-a-mysterious-aura-who-probably-plays-an-integral-part-in-the-main-plot, etc.
However, it makes up for its bland characters through its story, which contains a surprising amount of depth. Besides some minor overlap in plot lines, each route is distinct from one another; each exploring a different facet of the protagonist’s inner struggles with life and love.
As a bonus, the voice acting work on this game is brilliant and features some names you may already recognise. Notably, Atsushi Tamaru is the voice of Mikihiko Yoshida from “The Irregular at Magic High School The Movie” and Mochizo Oji from “Tamako Market”.
Poor English translation
Having played the game in English (rather than its original language, Japanese), I cannot go through this review without touching upon the flaws in its translation. Dialogue was often grammatically incorrect and gave the impression that somebody ran it through Google Translate without checking it again after.
Although not bad enough to impede my understanding of the story, it did result in some laughable moments throughout the game. Depending on how big of a grammar nazi you are, this may hit your breaking point – multiple times.
Straightforward dating routes
If you’re looking for a game with complexity, this ain’t it. The fact that this game was a mobile port becomes exceedingly obvious at this point, as you’re forced to pick which male character’s route to explore after a short prologue rather than fall into their route naturally.
This mirrors the standard format of mobile dating simulators with their free-to-play prologues and individual purchasable routes. Although it makes sense for in-game transactions on mobile, I can’t say that it translates well to console. But if you’re looking for a game that’s easy to spam routes back-to-back, this game makes it easy for players by allowing you to pick your desired male partner from the very beginning.
Lack of actual gameplay and limited artwork
One of my major gripes with this game was the lack of gameplay in it. It played far more like a visual novel, with a maximum of one dialogue choice per chapter. I found this unacceptable for a dating simulator that still imposed bad, normal and good endings on players; it made receiving a bad ending incredibly punishing as players were given so little power to change the final outcome for themselves.
The imbalanced ratio between text to action also made faults with the character and background art more glaring. Assets were reused multiple times to the point of boredom, and that was a real shame, considering the existing art assets were not bad at all. This may also be a language issue again, as I found myself more disagreeable with the story progression because the language was so faulty.
Verdict: It may be better… in Japanese
Despite everything, “Kitty Love” is a solid game. It may err on the side of simplicity, but it is worth a try for existing fans of the genre who are looking for something short and sweet to read during their down time. However, I wouldn’t recommend picking up the game if you are going to play it in English. Especially if you have high standards for language, I suspect the faults in its grammar and vocabulary will sooner drive you wild.
“Kitty Love” is now available on the Nintendo Switch e-store for $25 USD with five playable routes and no additional in-game purchases.