‘Kitty Love – Way to Look for Love’ is the third otome title from OperaHouse to hit the Nintendo Switch store. The game was first released (2014) as a mobile game with a free prologue, and purchasable routes. Earlier this year it was re-released for the Switch by OperaHouse and DIGIMERCE in Japan, and now it has been localised. In the game you play as Honoka Shinoda (name changeable), a young woman who works at a flower shop. One day after work, Honoka rests at a local park and hangs out with some stray cats. She absentmindedly wishes she too could be a cat, but quickly learns you should be careful what you wish for. An odd-eyed cat appears and curses her, during the day she will be human but at night she will turn into a cat. The only way to break the curse? A kiss from her true love.
Where to buy? Nintendo Switch Online Shop – $25 USD
Number of Romance Options: 5 guys
Recommended play through order: Order doesn’t matter but save Saijo for last!!
Walkthrough? Over here
Total Play Time: 10 hours
Surrounding the game’s English release, there was a lot of hype and a bit of worry surrounding translation quality. Let’s get into the positives first. There’s no denying this is a gorgeous game, each male love interest has a unique design ranging from the traditional Saijo with his long hair and kimono to the ultra-modern host Kyosuke with his mullet and tux. Each chapters and both endings (happy and normal) featured a CG, so essentially this game had 50 CGs! Each CG was adorable with careful attention to detail, especially in highlighting the differences in how the guy’s interacted with MC’s cat form and MC’s human form. Although, I would have loved to see more kissing CGs, gimme that heavy romance!
However, this game isn’t just built on pretty looks. While each route had pretty much the same structure, each guy was interesting enough to keep it fresh. And, while sometimes it fell a little bit into cliche territory, they were all very endearing. I enjoyed seeing the different ways MC fell in love with each guy, helped them to overcome their fears and insecurities and ultimately had their happy ending. And by gosh were the confession scenes incredible, each boy’s sprite was animated and blushing as he spoke of his love for MC. A personal favourite of mine was Shogo Fujimoto’s route, the last few chapters had my heart racing and I’m sure I blushed at a few lines!
However, a route I didn’t quite like was Kyosuke’s, and it’s not because it was an awful story. But for some reason, compared to the rest of the game, Kyosuke’s route had the worst translation . There were a lot of spelling and grammar errors, as well as sentences that had been translated twice. Unfortunately, since the story was also quite confusing, it was to the point that I wasn’t quite sure what was going on , one moment it’s a normal story and then a love rival appears but the intentions of the guy aren’t really revealed besides “gosh I hate Kyosuke!”.
Speaking of translation quality, as I know that is the big question on everyone’s minds, generally I found it ok. I personally haven’t had experience playing the other games available on the Switch store like ‘Iris School of Wizardry’, but based off screenshots I’ve seen, I’m going to go ahead and say the translation in this game is definitely better than in previous games. As a point of comparison, if you’ve ever played an older Genius Inc. game, it’s about the same translation – misspelling and odd phrases (such as the store’s backroom is called the backyard), but generally you can understand what’s going on. Since I do adore the stories in this game, I’d love to see a proof-reader go through the game and just bring the translation to a higher standard.
Perhaps my only reservation about the game was the lack of side-character sprites. I know what you’re thinking – what an incredibly small thing to be picky about! But whenever I play a game I love to get a feel for the people around the main characters, I don’t like just seeing a blank screen when someone is talking. Even as MC goes around the park in cat form and ‘talks’ to other cats, I think there was a real missed opportunity to include some adorable cat sprites. I understand that there’s five routes and lots of side characters, but even if they just had a silhouette it would have made the game feel a bit more polished.
Another smaller suggestion, I absolutely loved hearing about all the different flowers in the flower shop. I ended up having my laptop open next to me while I was playing so I could google image all the flowers mentioned like African Daisies. I think a really cool feature that could be added in is a little pop up drawing of what the flowers look like in-game, again just to give the game a more polished feel.
Looking at other review’s of previous games and even comments on social media, I’ve seen a few people mention that these games use ‘stock’ background images. I even managed to find one of a supermarket which I also found in the BL game ‘Seiyuu Danshi‘. On this point, I’m not going to be overly critical. The game has an incredible amount of scene changes, and since it was originally a mobile game, I can understand them using stock images rather than making up their own. I would much rather see extra character sprites than some new backgrounds.
To be honest I actually had quite a fun time playing through ‘Kitty Love’. I found each guy quite lovely and their stories interesting, even though the routes followed the same pattern. In terms of translation, I wasn’t too bothered by the spelling or grammar errors except in one route that I mentioned above. If you are someone who absolutely can’t stand errors, this would be a hard miss for you. But, if you’re like me and just fill in the blanks automatically it’s not a massive issue. But in saying that, I don’t want to sound like I’m giving DIGIMERCE a free pass with this translation. The story, art and voice acting in this game are all good enough to warrant a second look at the script. It’ll be quite disappointing if otome fans shy away from this interesting game because there was no one to simply proof-read it! Ultimately, I’ll be giving this game 3 cat paws out of five.
I’d also like to give a massive thank you to DIGIMERCE for providing me with a review copy of the game.