Neko Secret Room – Review
Follow Genre: Puzzle game
Developer: Axyos Games
Publisher: Eastasiasoft
Platform: Switch
Tested on: Switch

Neko Secret Room – Review

Site Score
0.8
Good: Artwork isn't too bad (although it is uncomfortable)
Bad: A cashgrab that relies on nudity to trick players into buying it
User Score
1.0
(2 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 1.0/10 (2 votes cast)

Being a reviewer isn’t always an easy task: sometimes you need to take one for the team and delve into a game that you know is going to be awful. Granted, there is the occasional title that subverts expectations and turns out to be not entirely awful, such as Bohemian Killing, but when we booted up Neko Secret Room, a feeling of dread quickly took over. As soon as the opening cutscene started playing, we knew we were in for a bad time. Still, it couldn’t be worse than Help Me Doctor, right?

Story

A short opening cutscene sets up the vaguest of story premises: our protagonist, an unnamed catgirl, is sneaking into her friend’s bedroom, in order to hack into her computer and take a peek at some photos. We’re not sure whether there is a follow-up on this setup, if the friend ever makes an appearance, or what the motivation of the protagonist is to do this, as Neko Secret Room was so goddamn awful that we couldn’t be bothered to complete the initial set of 12 puzzles that the game offered up. Perhaps there is more to Neko Secret Room than meets the eye but if our impressions were any indication, then the game immediately drops the story and simply expects the player to be happy with looking at lewd pictures.

Graphics

It’s very likely that you’ll be spending most of your limited time with Neko Secret Room dealing with the game’s puzzles, so the majority of what you’ll be looking at will be artwork of anime girls in poses that leave very little to the imagination. These are static images that surprisingly -and unbeknownst to us before we started playing- gradually become more explicit. There are plenty of suggestive titles available on the Switch -just look at games like Senran Kagura Peach Ball, for example- but we were somewhat surprised when the first nipple popped up on the screen here. There are 12 pieces of artwork present here, with 3 variants each, making for a total of 36 images and roughly two-thirds of these images could be considered porn. We’ve avoided using these in our review, but rest assured, this isn’t one for the kids.

Neko Secret Room doesn’t just comprise static puzzle images though. Outside of the puzzle mode, there is a 3D room where the catgirl we mentioned in the story section of the review can wander around in -or at least try to as the frame rate tanks dramatically whenever one attempts to do so. The 3D visuals look cheap and dated, and in all honesty, we felt like they cheapened the overall feel of the game even further to the point where we questioned whether it wouldn’t have just been better to present Neko Secret Room as just a puzzle game with nudity and not relying on an overarching framework.

Sound

While we can’t recall any of the actual tunes that played during our time with the game -which is a good thing as that means they don’t get stuck in your head, unlike with Crowdy Farm Rush– we do remember that they felt very much out of place in a ‘lewd’ game like this. At the time, the music felt like it belonged in a licensed shovelware title about a kid’s movie and not whatever Neko Secret Room purports to be.

Gameplay

There are three distinct gameplay ‘modes’ present in Neko Secret Room, with the meat of the game found in the puzzle gameplay that supposedly represents the protagonist ‘hacking’ into the files found on her friend’s computer. We’ll get into the puzzle element a bit further down as we’d rather get the other stuff out of the way first. The first gameplay that players experience when they poorly decide to take the plunge with Neko Secret Room is best described as an interactive hub. Here, players can wander around the titular room as the protagonist cat girl, make changes to her appearance, and make her dance, as well as select the other two modes. Although this is the part of the game that is most prominently featured in the game’s trailer, likely because focusing too much on the puzzle gameplay wouldn’t get past YouTube censorship, it feels bland and barebones. Customization options are limited to four outfits, including the obligatory bikini and schoolgirl uniform, a couple of different skin tones and hair colors, and a handful of cat ear choices. We’re honestly wondering why Axyos Games even bothered including this mode, as it’s unlikely anyone will spend more than 30 seconds with this.

Not that the second gameplay mode is any better. For some inexplicable reason, a darts-themed minigame was added to Neko Secret Room, although the controls are awful and the aiming mechanics seemingly have a will of their own. It’s baffling that this is included here, as nobody that buys Neko Secret Room is picking it up for the darts game -although why anyone would buy Neko Secret Room in the first place is beyond us. Anyone looking for a halfway decent darts game on the Switch has several other titles to choose from before even considering resorting to this god-awful game mode.

Which brings us to Neko Secret Room’s raison d’être: the puzzle gameplay. Players are presented with a dozen puzzles, all based on the same template. The aim is to swap puzzle pieces around to restore the image to its former glory. Upon doing so, the same puzzle can be replayed and every time this happens, the anime girl in the puzzle picture discards some of her clothing. Each puzzle offers three variants, which typically go from skimpy outfits to topless to complete nudity. Admittedly, there is some censorship here -while there are plenty of naked breasts on display, the more private parts are censored by a cloud- but this is still way beyond other lewd titles from publisher EastAsiaSoft such as Seven Pirates H, where the eroticism is tongue-in-cheek and never explicit in the way that it is here.

Note that there is no real challenge present here either. There is no timer, no set number of moves, or anything else to give the player a sense of accomplishment. Neko Secret Room feels like a cheap cash grab, hoping to draw players in by offering them a chance to ogle at anime titties. Given how variable the overall quality of the drawings is, we wouldn’t be surprised if Neko Secret Room used stolen assets either, although that’s a different story for another time. There might be more puzzles available after the initial 12, or perhaps completing the game removes the censorship clouds, but in all honesty, we can’t be bothered to continue playing and find out. If there isn’t anything that can be unlocked after the initial puzzles, you’re looking at roughly two hours worth of “content” here. There is nothing redeeming about Neko Secret Room -if you’re looking for drawings of naked anime girls, there are plenty of free and better alternatives out there and the “gameplay” is so god-awful that it feels like an insult that Axyos Games expects people to pay for this crap.

Conclusion

If it wasn’t clear by now, Neko Secret Room is a title to be avoided at all costs. There is nothing challenging or redeeming about any of the gameplay, the artwork is mediocre at best and we honestly don’t understand how this was even approved for release on the eShop. Don’t get us wrong, our main problem with the game isn’t that it has nudity in it: replace the pictures of naked girls with pictures of cute kittens, for example, and our issues remain exactly the same. Our main problem is that what you’re getting here is a bland piece of uninspired shovelware that relies on nudity to trick unsuspecting buyers into parting with their hard-earned cash.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 1.0/10 (2 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
Neko Secret Room - Review, 1.0 out of 10 based on 2 ratings
SebastiaanRaats


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