Nyan Café Macchiato ~ Sexy Times at the Cat Café ~ is a game that has me worried. Playing the 18-rated visual novel, I can’t quite help but think the FBI will break down my door any minute. Despite the rather big ATTENTION notice at the beginning of the game promising you that all “human-like representation of characters” are 18 years or older, the main scenario of the game continuously persuades me otherwise. At the top of the game, there is a warning for unsuitable content including; comical violence, foul language, alcohol consumption, sexual assault and incest. The warning at the start also holds some kind of user agreement, “By purchasing this software, the user agrees that they don’t find that content offensive or obscene,” so if you do have any issues with any of the above I’d give this game a miss.
You play as Kouya; a student teacher in a small Japanese town. The game highlights that Kouya’s life is far from lucky: every job he’s worked at has gone bankrupt and his apartment has burned down. He’s a bit of a nobody at his school job too, constantly used for random busybody work. Luckily for Kouya, his grandfather owns a café not too far away and has fallen ill so offers Kouya a place to stay so long as he runs the café in his spare time. So the game begins with Kouya telling three of his students about his unlucky life and how he now lives in a café.
These three students, all with “neko”, the Japanese word for cat, in their name, take it upon themselves to help you out at the café in some bizarre bid to get closer to you. Not wasting any time, on the first night all three girls decide it’s best for them to confess their love for you. Quickly getting down to business the game takes some time out for you to take these three young girls’ virginities, all while the other two watch. It’s really quite an odd scene.
From then on you’re dating all three characters at the same time, both in and out of school. None of the characters are particularly interesting or developed though, taking very stereotypical harem roles. As the game progresses, only one character, Ameri, gets any real detail of any kind. Ameri is the smallest and most childlike option and her love for the main character begins when he prevents her from being sexually assaulted on a train. The more you get to know Ameri you learn that she suffers from split personality disorder, though that only really acts as a mechanic to get her to be more sexually adventurous.
The issue with Nyan Café Macchiato ~ Sexy Times at the Cat Café ~ even being bold enough to tackle something like sexual assault or split personality disorder, is that the writing is nowhere near good enough to do it justice. Tonally Nyan Café is very lighthearted so these dark scenarios only really add a bit of a creepy vibe to the whole thing. Kouya is happy to protect a child from sexual assault on a train but he’s even happier when he’s committing sexual assault on children from behind closed doors. Furthermore, there’s no emotional payoff. I remember playing Katawa Shoujo all those years ago and feeling emotionally attached to some of those characters, being concerned or interested in their unique problems. In Nyan Café, you’re only here for the sex.
The presentation of the game is actually really good. The game looks really professional and polished, the characters are all fantastically drawn and the user interface is minimalistic but suits the game perfectly, the little cat details on the UI is a great addition that gives the game a flavour of its own. The sex scenes are all very intensely detailed too, to the point that on the girls’ first time they’ve taken the liberty to add blood. If you’re after visual detail in your sex game then you won’t find Nyan Café lacking there.
There’s also some pretty decent Japanese voice acting from the girls, even the cats placed throughout the game have voice acting, albeit it’s just a person saying “nyan.” There is questionably some censorship in the spoken words though. Whenever the girls directly mention a sexual organ a big BLEEP cuts them off each time. It’s a curious decision from the designers and not one I understand but it’s there. Credit where credit is due though, the soundtrack, while limited, is pretty good. Nyan Café has its own anime opening and a very repetitive but competently arranged main theme that plays throughout the normal scenes. My praise for the soundtrack though is for the sex scene music. Taking a very cheesy porn bassline through a synth is all well and good but then the theremin noises appear. The soundtrack in these scenes are all very distracting but in such an interesting way I can’t help but be a bit charmed by it.
Nyan Café Macchiato ~Sexy Times at the Cat Café ~ is a tonally bizarre hentai game that blurs the line between a not-particularly-funny lighthearted comedy, a not-particularly-sexy porn and an unusually dark drama. While it never does any of these things well, if you’re coming here for the sex scenes and you can distance yourself from the frankly criminal and creepy main story you’ll surely have a lot of fun. If you can’t, you should stay very far away.
Nyan Café Macchiato ~Sexy Times at the Cat Café~ (Reviewed on Windows)
Minor enjoyable interactions, but on the whole is underwhelming.
Unless you’re already in the mood I don’t think I can recommend Nyan Café Macchiato ~ Sexy Times at the Cat Café ~. If it had a scene selection you might have a use for it but in between the sex scenes you have to bear the non-existent characters and overall creepy vibe of the title. There are some pretty funny looking cats and the audio design is pretty good though.