It isn’t uncommon for Japanese forms of media to showcase a story where humans transform into animals. Ranma 1/2 has a number of cast members who bounce between bipedalism and quadrupedalism. Fruits Basket is a series where its cast needs to be careful when hugging other people. Kitty Love: Way to Look for Love is an otome novel offer its own take on that sort of situation. It is an absolutely pleasant thing, though some technical issues and translation errors keep it from being something fans of the genre need to play.
What would you do, if you had an opportunity to become a cat? In Kitty Love: Way to Look for Love, the heroine is in that exact situation. After wistfully wishing she was a cat while looking at a stray in a park, she is cursed. The cat there tells her that every night, she will turn into an animal. The only cure is to essentially true love’s kiss. But our heroine is a workaholic! Fortunately for her, there are five men in her life and, after you pick a path, you can work toward becoming close enough to one of them to break the spell.
The charm in Kitty Love: Way to Look for Love comes from having access to a game that is an effortless romantic comedy, as this is the visual novel equivalent of cotton candy.
The charm in Kitty Love: Way to Look for Love comes from having access to a game that is an effortless romantic comedy, as this is the visual novel equivalent of cotton candy. It has characters and a story that airy and fluffy. I would even say it is sort of like biting into a candy bar filled with nougat and topped with powder sugar, as even the more dramatic moments are set up with an obvious happy ending in sight. But sometimes, you need that. It is the slice-of-life anime you pick up when you need to feel good about something.
And in its original Japanese, the various storylines in Kitty Love: Way to Look for Love can be quite good! We have the childhood friend who is struggling to find a way to take the next step in his relationship with the heroine. There is a police officer who is learning to be true to himself. We have a playboy who might have more to him than the gigolo exterior and a boss who might be more than just overwhelmingly pleasant all the time. Having a heroine with a dual nature means that we get a game that explores the different faces all people have; we get an examination of how people behave in public, versus how they are in private. As the heroine falls in love with these bachelors after getting to know about every part of them, the player might as well.
While Kitty Love: Way to Look for Love has a better translation and localization than something like Ayakashi Koi Gikyoku -Forbidden Romance with Mysterious Spirit-, it still is a rough read. It is not unplayable in English. You can figure out what is going on, as most of the mistakes have to do with incorrect grammar usage or spelling issues, and definite progress is being made on the part of Digimerce and OperaHouse, but it feels like having someone take one final pass over the game’s script could have made a world of difference here and resulted in a stronger game.
There are also two technical issues with Kitty Love: Way to Look for Love that are unfortunately common occurrences in Digimerce and OperaHouse visual novels and have nothing to do with the localization. One happens whenever you attempt to save. After you are done on that screen, you can’t press the B button to return to the game. In handheld mode, you always need to touch the back button. The bigger problem is one that pops up whenever you make a decision. I mean that literally, by the way. When you make a decision in most otome games, an on-screen effect might show if you made a choice that improved a relationship with someone. In Kitty Love: Way to Look for Love, you see an image indicating the relationship values have gone up for every choice, making it impossible to see which decision might have been “correct.” It is quite frustrating.
While Kitty Love: Way to Look for Love has a better translation and localization than something like Ayakashi Koi Gikyoku -Forbidden Romance with Mysterious Spirit-, it still is a rough read.
It is a shame, because Kitty Love: Way to Look for Love does a lot of other things right. Some incredibly famous voice actors have been cast as the bachelors, with Hiroki Yasumoto (Guilty Gear‘s Raven, BlazBlue‘s Azrael and Street Fighter‘s Guile) as Shogo, Tomoaki Maeno (The King of Fighters‘ Kyo and Cells at Work‘s Neutrophil) as Kyosuke and Soma Saito (Granblue Fantasy‘s Feather) as Takuma. Rather than go for an art direction that tries to make everyone as pretty as possible, the design choices lean more towards making things look adorable, cartoonish and generally pleasant. There is even a heroine who isn’t exactly simpering and searching for a hero, as in one route she helps solving a kidnapping situation.
Kitty Love: Way to Look for Love is something of a tragedy. In its original Japanese, this is a lovely little game. Even when things get serious, it seems like this overwhelmingly positive sort of love story. If the translation was slightly better, I would wholeheartedly recommend it. As is, it is only worth a look if someone is okay with stumbling over some localization issues and tripping over its affection alerts. If a patch does appear that tightens up the script, then it is definitely a heartwarming tale otome fans and cat lovers should read.