First off, just a little update. I'm going to be working with a film crew for a sports documentary all next week, so updates will be short and sweet. I'll be doing everything over my cell phone, so you'll have to forgive the lack of depth for the next week.
With that out of the way, it's come to my attention that I somehow forgot to do an in-depth review here on Chronicles of Nyanya. Or at least, I can't find the review in my archives. If someone sees it, let me know. Until then, I'll just have to give it go (again?).
So... what can I say about this thing? It's not a bad game, but you should know from the from the start that it's an RPG Maker game. That doesn't mean it's bad, but that does put a hard limit on the capabilities of the game. Still, I'm impressed with what the makers of this game were actually able to do within the confines of such an engine.
So what is Nyanya? This is a silly RPG with a metric crap ton of cat puns. Please, don't think I'm being hyperbolic here. From the names to the plot to the world to the freakin' screen commands, everything is a cat pun. Everything. EVERYTHING. If that's your jam, you're in for a treat. If not... er... the story's not bad?
It's a typical party-based RPG. All the mechanics are there: assign weapons and accessories, level up, engage in turn-based combat. But despite the humble engine and middle-range graphics, the game manages to still do a lot of interesting, unexpected things.
Focusing on the game play, they've managed to create a lot of interesting puzzles that I didn't think the RPG Maker engine could do. There are very creative uses of the mechanics to make slider puzzles, level puzzles, and ice puzzles. Combat is much like any classic-style RPG, so expect to buff you party, attack with magic, refill your mana with potions, and build up special moves.
Let's look at the biggest part of the game: aesthetics. I've mentioned the cats. I haven't mentioned them enough. All the houses are cardboard boxes. The walls, too. Balls of yarn as magic missiles. Milk for your potions. The main character follows the Path of the Red Dot (laser pointer if that was too subtle).Their gods worshiped by rubbing against their statue legs.
It's a little fun, at first, but it grows old quickly. With all the cat puns coming at you a mile-a-minute, it's sometimes hard to actually know what's going on. The puns are so vague, you don't always know what a spell is supposed to do or if an enemy is actually dangerous.
Do you like pop culture references? After the cat puns, that's everything. And even those are painted with cat puns. From Batman v Superman jokes to cat cameos of every anime hero from the last decade, it never stops. Again, whether that's good or bad is completely up to you. For me, it was a little fun, then quickly became a series of continuous face-palms.
If you get past the puns, the story is... okay. It's predictable, but at the very least is does change based on decisions you make.
You play as Catair, the cat assassing from the Order of the Red Dot. She starts the game as a young kitten named Purr, but after her village is destroyed by Orcats (Orc + cats) you have a time skip and the game begins proper.
Even with what I've told you, the game still gets stranger. Sweet bread based livestock, furniture based enemies, slippery kitchen floor based puzzles, they're all there and that's just the tip of the punny iceberg.
Your job is to gather a group of adventourers (yes, that's how they spell it) and help end a war. You'll travel from land to land, speaking with people there and changing the game based on dialogue trees. Treat someone nice, they might help you later. Turn away assistance from another and they may abandon you at your time of need. In the end, there are variable endings for each character, for what it's worth. You can even catch and raise your own pet sweet roll that will grow into different forms depending on how you raise it.
The game isn't bad. It's limited and maybe overdoes it on the puns, but it's playable. I admire the work that went into the game and how they were able to stretch the RPG Maker engine to do some things I didn't know it could. Still, it's definitely not a game I'll be going back to. I've seen it, experienced it, enjoyed it to a certain degree, and now I'm done with it. But if you like it, the new game plus and the alternate endings could certainly help with replay value.
The game does a lot to hide it's limitations, stretch the engine, and entertain the player, but it's also predictable, maybe a little too cheesy, and especially in the beginning, a trudge. Still, there's fun to be had and if you can get it on sale, I say grab it.
The original review from DLH.net can be found HERE.
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Keep your eyes open for my debut novel, The Paladin.