The appropriately named Catzooka Studios has turned their sights to the criminal underworld in their new title Nyaa-kuza!! Part visual novel and part brawler, should players get swept up in its seedy neon wonderland?
There’s trouble afoot right from the get-go in the world of Nyaa-kuza!! Ryu and his wife Hime get paid an untimely visit from the syndicate. Kidnapping Hime, it’s up to this ex-Watanyabe member to hit the streets and save his girl.
It’s a cliche tale at its core, but the sharp art and feline cast keeps things fresh. From Ryu’s fluffy sister Momo to the nefarious old timer Daichi, these fuzzy fellows prove to be wholesome food for the soul. Everything is drawn well, and there’s even a handful of animated sequences for that extra little bit of polish. Just be warned that the game is a little too pun-heavy – whether that’s a benefit or drawback is up to the player.
Unfortunately, the gameplay portion of this title just can’t keep up. The core foundation is there – players will travel through the suburbs, the city, bridges, sewers, and finally the dojo on their quest to save their one true love. The mechanics on deck hit all the right notes too – players can pounce, wall jump, and use one of three different weapons mapped to the mouse buttons. There’s even a super move that can be used to turn the tides of battle.
However, the moment the visual novel segment ends, one can see that there’s a lack of effort put into the more gameplay-heavy portion of the title. It’s not just the art style, which features pixel art that doesn’t quite gel. It’s not the presentation either, which has cats magically teleporting into the arena in an awkward fashion.
Rather, it’s the gameplay that manages to disappoint. Players are given the chance to wield a melee weapon, a ranged weapon, and a special weapon at any given time, but none seem to really work as they should. For instance, the long range Kusarigama is good at hitting opponents at a distance, but each hit forces your foe to bounce back and forward in an awkward fashion. As a result, each battle feels stiff, like there’s no rhyme or reason to its antics. These segments are thankfully over in just a few minutes – and can be played at an easier difficulty setting – but what is here is still disappointing nonetheless.
Nyaa-Kuza!! does not overstay its welcome, clocking in at around 20 minutes for the speedy players among us. There’s no achievements or alternate paths to speak of, and though there are some higher difficulty settings for each battle, this title can be finished pretty quickly.
Nyaa-kuza!! is a solid game paired with a mediocre one. Those with a penchant for puns will love diving into its visual novel segments, but the lack of polish in its action sequences drags the whole experience down.
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