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Neko Navy (PC) artwork

Neko Navy (PC) review


"More than a feline"


Something something horizontal scrolling cat shooter because Japan. Congratulations. You now know more backstory than Neko Navy ever lets on. Dropping you straight in the action as one of a trio of adorable cats (each with their own bullet patterns), yours is not to wonder why. Iíd strongly advise against it; itís the kind of mental arithmetic that can slowly decay your sanity. Just accept the fact that youíre a flying cat now and go shoot stuff.

The first stage takes you to the night sky of a sleepy town as you glide past darkened tower blocks and faintly glowing street lamps before youíre rudely interrupted by roving fireflies and gaggles of smiling cactus pods. Theyíre weird, certainly, but they mainly exist to get you acquainted to feline-powered shoot-em-ups. Blowing up enemies sees them leave behind small ghost kittens, which you can gobble up to increases both your points and the ever creeping weirdness. You can then devour bigger points by triggering the BRAVE bonus, which you score by blowing targets up at point blank range. This is easily done when youíre just killing off fireflies and cacti; it becomes a harder task when toon-esque biplanes start shooting back, and tubes of half used toothpaste complete with dead, soulless eyes and spider legs creep down the side of the screen. Donít get weirded out yet; itís only level one.

Nekoís big attempt at standing out (aside from all the literal insanity) is that it hyper-charges the hell out of the catís access to their special attacks, allowing them to be used multiple time per bite-sized stage. It means that players hunting a high score will wait for a densely populated screen, and then go all out on anything unfortunate enough to randomly exist at that time. I tend to wait for the patchwork knapsacks that clumsily remain airborne on tiny awkward wings before really letting loose. Then, once all the cannon fodder is fried, Neko decides to screw all that whimsical nonsense and drops [The Watcher In The Sky] MELTY HEART from the cloudbank, complete with dramatic slowdown and a cinematic nametag to boot. MELTY doesnít care that youíre a cat; MELTY has end of level boss work to do.



And so you do battle against a screen-filling mechanical crab thing, because thatís just what you do now. Malicious moggies can weave between the neon pink onslaught and either plough bullets into MELTYís shell, or destroy some of his weaponry, such as his claws, first. Being able to focus in on individual boss weapons continues throughout; itís often a good idea to take the big guns out, if you can. It means you can milk them for even more delicious ghost kittens.

Stage Two takes part in a forest. Youíd be forgiven for initially believing that itís just going to throw the same enemies at you as the first stage, mainly because thatís exactly what it does for the first few exchanges. Then the grinning cactus pods stop being pods and start being cubes. They fall from the skies in droves, stacking where they land, forming happy little pillars of death. And then, looking like theyíre just pleased to be taking part, the marshmallow cars arrive. God help us all, the marshmallow cars arrive. Then you face off against a smirking collection of flowers that spins its floral limbs in and out of focus like an organic carousel, forcing you to wait for each strand to cycle back into sync before you can attack it.

There are seven stages in all; not a one of them is even borderline normal. The third stage is in a clinic where youíre chased relentlessly by roving gangs of pills while medical mannequin torsos drop inverted from the roof to pelt you with bullets and pristine, plasticy abs. Sleepy grabber claws reach off-screen to try and assemble longcats Ė let them do so, and you face being blocked in by an impassable pillar of adorable doom. I donít want to talk about stage four. Itís named Sausage Fest. Itís the stuff nightmares are made from.


WHY DO YOU EXIST!


Neko less leans on its bizarre cast of enemies as it does outright rely on them; thereís nothing objectionable about how the game plays out, but aside from its focus on short, snappy levels and its interesting special weaponís quick refresh rate, it does little to distinguish itself from the masses. Then, for no explainable reason, a small collection of giant frogs leap from the bottom of the screen, fire starbursts of deadly plasma from their pale underbellies, and are never seen again. Or dizzy doughnut men appear, shooting laser cannons from their holes, flailing their comically tiny limbs around in a tizzy. Something, something, thereís a boss fight which is a bright yellow car, except this one has legs and is driven by a gangster cat that shakes an angry paw at you if you manage to destroy his ride. Because Japan.

3.5/5

EmP's avatar
Staff review by Gary Hartley (May 16, 2019)

Gary Hartley arbitrarily arrives, leaves a review for a game no one has heard of, then retreats to his 17th century castle in rural England to feed whatever lives in the moat and complain about you.

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Feedback

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Masters posted May 16, 2019:

Way to embrace the madness on this one. Nice, funny, irreverent take. Also, there's a mistake in the first sentence, cuz I'm pretty sure Neko is a horizontal shooter.
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EmP posted May 16, 2019:

Thanks, dude. The only way to survive talking about Neko Navy was to go native and jump into the insanity. Still a decent time, though.
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hastypixels posted May 18, 2019:

"...into METLYís shell..."

I love a good typo as much as the nxet guy (heh) but that's a name. Gotta be sure about the weird space crab's name, right?

By the way, I thoroughly enjoyed your review. Bright and entertaining. Thank you.
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EmP posted May 19, 2019:

Had to read that a few times before I saw what I had done wrong. Perhaps I'm ALL CAPS blind? Thanks for the catch, and for reading.

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