Short Western GXG visual novel
The popularity of accessible engines such as Ren’Py have dramatically increased the availability of Western visual novels, including OELVNs (original English language visual novels) to readers.
So far, yuri visual novels, the usual name for f/f novels in the community,—also known as GXG (Girl X Girl) or shojou-ai (girl love) novels have been distinctly the minority. However, the annual Yuri Game Jam has been trying to address that balance, and encourage more games which focus on female relationships between women. It really does seem to have increased the number of lesbian games out there.
This brings us to A Wild Catgirl Appears, a Western visual novel with lesbian romance as the focus.
Choice-based lesbian romance
Unlike the purely linear kinetic novel The Sad Story of Emmeline Burns, this is more of a games as it has multiple endings, defined as “routes”, in which the main character can become romantically linked with one of four different female characters. In each route, you can achieve a good or bad ending for her.
There is no obvious stats building or rpg elements, though, so this is less a dating sim, and more of a choose-your-own adventure, choice-based story.
A Wild Catgirl Appears is kind of ambiguously Japanese in setting—the heroine, for example, is called Ami—and starts of as high school slice of life. Ami is kind of a loner, with closeted feelings for her more outgoinfg best friend.
Her best friend encourages her to join a coding club, in which she finds there is only one other member, another girl. From there on in there is a lot of geeky gamer stuff that is kind of awesome.
Until Ami designs the heroine for the game as a kind of action figure—a cute ninja catgirl called Starla. The story takes a heel face turn into fantasy as Starla comes to life, and Ami finds herself with a real catgirl on her hands.
And then another catgirl follows from the same dimension…
I enjoyed the early aspects more than the whacky catgirl hijinks, as you can probably tell. The initial developing relationships were really sweet. I was less keen on the whole catgirl come to life plot, which is kind of the whole point, but that was lightweight fun.
I also give this game major points for representation for trying to deal, at least lightly, with the challenges a lesbian might face when romantically involved with an asexual girl, wile having her own desires. It’s a theme I rarely see addressed, let alone in a visual novel about catgirls.
This is also a teen friendly game, without any erotica content at all, which I have to admit is kind of nice.
I will point out, however, that at least one character has breasts so unfeasibly large for her frame that it pushes her into soft core—well, soft core hilarity, to be honest.
See what I mean? Bit of a pity, as the art is generally clean and attractive.
Overall this is a light, fun read with likeable characters.
It’s also really accessible to beginners. It’s short, inexpensive, and really there’s no reason not to access your preferred routes. No stats-crunching and grinding involved. Just make the obvious choices to let the game know which girl Ami is interested in, and you’re pretty much guaranteed to get a happy ending.
Yes. It won’t change your life, but it is cute, fun, and there is little to lose. It took me less than an hour to read all routes, fast-skipping text I had already read once. I also like to encourage teh production of more lesbian games.
Publication and Availability
A Wild Catgirl Appears is an indie published game by New West Games, available on Steam and itch.io, for a minimum of $2.95. It’s also available on Android and iOS.