Wait a second: before you scroll down to the end for a Neko Secret Homecoming overall score, you’ll be disappointed. There isn’t one. A lack of a rating might signal a terrible game, as that’s what I’ve done in the past, but the latest from Eastasiasoft is so casual I’d thought I’d skip over a score.
The game trailer looked intriguing, and the title might hint at some enigmatic reveal as you progress, but once the intro scene is over, that’s it. There’s zero story but one objective: break into an anime factory. Forget about character development, motivations, where they learned to lockpick – hell, what’s the character’s name? Starsign? Favourite ice cream flavour?
All of this information is a secret. Ah… Neko Secret Homecoming – it’s in the title. Maybe I can explain what happens in it?
After arriving via bus, your cat-eared avatar must break into the local anime factory. Oh yes, explained that from above. From a third-person perspective, you can wander around town but can’t interact with anyone. Plus, there aren’t any guiding arrows, maps, or signs other than the local burger bar and pizzeria.
Neko Secret Homecoming Review (Switch)
Like most fast food establishments, the doors are open to the public, and so is the access behind the counter where you can find… skinny tampons?! Ok… What’s this – a pink highlighted safe? Ok, got it – they’re lockpicks, but you don’t need lockpicks for the safe, just your cat ears. Moving the left stick to the left and right, you listen for a click and repeat a couple of times to find a hidden rubber duck, which you can’t take.
Looking for a menu with controls was fruitless, but I could switch the music off. Let’s figure this out… The same pink highlighted area shows for some buildings. You can use those lockpicks to break in (a lockpicking mini-game similar to Gas Station Simulator), search a relatively empty house and locate another safe.
Mission complete, I head to the factory, enter a code I’ve found in the safes, and an ominous lady sitting on a chair awaiting my arrival (voiced by a Wish version of Siri). Not only have you gained unauthorised access to this factory (more like an art gallery), but you’ll now be able to ‘hack’ the computer in front of her to reveal… a digital gallery.
The computer holds two secret folders, both of which store six images of the ladies. You’ll need to rearrange some tiles to reveal them in a pose, then repeat twice with a few more tiles and less clothing. The first image is a clothed pose, the second has them with their jubblies out, and the third is starkers, with random bubbles covering their secret bits.
Predictable as I am with my disclaimers, this does nothing for me. Still, as there isn’t anything else to do in Neko Secret Homecoming, I found myself blitzing all the puzzles in one go and enjoying it. It’s like Under Leaves, only naked people rather than cute lil’ animals.
Finish the puzzles, and you can then wander the gallery and look at the images you’ve just solved, customise your character, play some darts, or jump in the bath. Ok… let’s break this down into more manageable bits. Heh, ‘bits‘.
What To Do, What To Do?
The character customisation in Neko Secret Homecoming has a few expected options: change the size of their boobs and thighs, plus make them shorter or taller. Their hair remains the same, but you can change the colour, add a couple of different ears, chuck on a leotard, and change their skin colour.
Darts is about lowering your score from 201 to 0. It’s surprisingly accurate, but the AI can beat you at the last minute. So now what? Bath time. This section could have been a little more interesting, but all that happens here is a couple of panning shots, and you get out again. Also, they bathe in their clothes, so put the lotion down.
And then that leaves us in limbo. Now what? Playing Neko Secret Homecoming on the Nintendo Switch meant there were no achievements, nor in-game ones, so the whole thing feels unfinished. The visuals are very nice, but there’s nothing to do once you solve the puzzles, and I hardly think you’ll be dipping into the customisation, darts, or bath either.
I didn’t have expectations for Neko Secret Homecoming, though the trailer insinuated something bigger, which never materialised. If a friend had made this after dabbling in programming, I’d congratulate them, but as a standalone title for sale, it’s not one I could recommend. It’s not terrible; it just doesn’t feel like there’s any replay value after the first go.