Author: Diogo Braga
This article may contain spoilers and was written during the pre-release version of the game.
The Chronicles of Nyanya is the first game developed by Hamstercube, under the RPGMaker engine and published by Fat Dog Games, to be released on the 16th of February on Steam. The game describes itself as “An epic tale of cats in funny costumes. Full of surprising and amazing twists and drama (…)” and, as far as the current version goes, it lives up to its description. The Chronicles of Nyanya is a funny JRPG-like adventure game that takes place in a world of cats, filled with satirical jokes and comical moments throughout the story, filled with several pop culture references, encompassing references of animes, games and big-screen movies. At the time of this writing, the game is still in an early version and not in a finished state, so, on the long run, there may happen changes that go beyond this article’s scope.
The game tells a story of an ordinary kitten, named Purr, who experiences a tragic event at an early stage of her life. This event scars Purr with a deep trauma, filling her with hatred and motivates her to become a Catsassin. Fast-forwarded into the future, Catair (previously known as Purr) has become a Catsassin with an unquenchable thirst for blood and revenge, which has been called to take a trial. Successfully completing the trial grants our protagonist the opportunity to be part of a team of adventurers that take her into all kinds of quests and adventures, regardless of whether she wants to or not.
The Chronicles of Nyanya does a good job at introducing the player to all concepts of the game with its extensive, evenly spread-out tutorial. This is due to the fact that the game only introduces the player to certain game elements whenever the player actually needs to know them, giving room for the player to learn the mechanics, experiment with them, and then learn some other new mechanics, repeating this process. Moreover, the game does provide a certain level of ability to replay, as it allows the player to select a chapter to play and try out different interactions in the world to see if these change the story in any way.
As stated previously, during typical gameplay of The Chronicles of Nyanya, the player will be familiarized with one of the game’s theme: the game is aware of typical clichés present in video game storytelling, as well as pop culture, and uses these facts to add humor. This is present in details from the story (the fact that the protagonist specifies several times that she cannot overcome her trauma because she had a “deep dark past that she will never forget, which ultimately makes her seek blood and revenge and unable to feel any sense of happiness because she is a dark brood knight”), to details on the graphical assets themselves (the fact that everyone lives inside a cardboard box, referencing a pop culture idea that cats prefer cardboard boxes over anything else). For those who fancy these type of gimmicks, this game should be a nice cup of tea. Not only that, the game so far does a good job at removing any monotony that comes with JRPG genre. Even though it has side quests, escort missions and all RPG-type mechanics alike, it does have some different gameplay mechanics spread nicely along gameplay (such as stealth missions, trials, etc.).
The graphics and sound of The Chronicles of Nyanya follow the standards of JRPGs. The game’s world, as well as in the fights, have more pixelated, RPG-style sprites, whilst cutscenes and text portraits feature a higher resolution version of the characters, with similar drawing style to that of anime. Still, in regard to the visuals of the game, the world is quite well designed and decorated at its current state. The game does a good job at incorporating all cat-related pop culture elements that it can, evidenced by, for example, magic schools that have levitating yarn balls as decorations, potions that are represented as milk bottles and poison represented as chocolate. However, the game’s audio is quite standard, not having any particularity that makes the game memorable for its background music, despite the fact that it does a good job of reminiscing old-time RPGs.
In sum, The Chronicles of Nyanya is an interesting and fun game to play, that should get you entertained for quite a fair amount of hours. Its constant humor jokes and pop culture references will make any meme-fan glee of joy and crack a laugh or two.