Supported in part by a successful Indiegogo funding campaign earlier in 2016, Japanese developer Calme’s debut title is a short visual novel centered around the daily life of Leon, who struggles to keep his café open in a post-disaster era.
Visual novels — games which are essentially watching anime at your own pace, with little to no actual gameplay — are often a difficult genre to do well. Their simplicity means that storyline often makes or breaks a game, and a market saturated by home made, amateur titles can often overwhelm new developers. Luckily for KARAKARA, this isn’t a problem, thanks to strong personalities for the main characters.
KARAKARA tells the tale of Leon, a down on his luck guy who is struggling to find success with the café he owns and runs with long-term employee and friend Lucia — a catgirl in a world where they are the dominant race rather than humans, thanks to an unspecified past disaster.
One day while delivering supplies to one of their customers, the pair come across a stranger in the desert, changing their lives forever.
Thanks to the the mysterious and exuberant new woman, Leon gets the help he desperately needs around his store — while also sparking a rivalry between her and Lucia.
Elsewhere, Leon occasionally runs into local policewoman Cullen, who is often upbeat, but something is bothering her lately; morbid rumors of malevolent ghosts and vampires have been spreading around the region, and while those are likely old wives tales, it’s clear that it preys on her mind.
KARAKARA explores themes of family, love and compassion, lightly dancing over more adult themes while still providing ecchi-style fan service common to the genre. While the game contains no nudity and much of the romantic interest activity is subtly hinted at, an adult version will be on offer at additional cost.