Once in a while, I’ll review a porn game that isn’t technically a porn game, and I feel like my time is kind of wasted. But, I know you guys depend on my reviews for quality coverage of potential smut, so I’ll grit my teeth and get through this one for you. What you’re looking at here is definitely not a porn game, but there are sex scenes. How can that be? Well, the porn scenes are kind of tacked on as romantic rewards for and with characters that you have gone out of your way to romance. It’s similar to porn game fanfare, but overall the majority of the game has nothing at all to do with titties. That’s really disappointing.
Now, I’m not saying it’s a bad game, mind you. There’s a lot of story here. Plus, it’s the kind of game you pay for once and own for life, so you know they aren’t going for your wallet or anything. It’s a proper story-driven visual novel with dating elements, but it’s the kind of dating you might expect a nerd to take part in. See, usually, when I’m on a date, that’s kind of the prequel episode to the amazing sex-filled night that comes right after. I don’t spend hours with a woman only to send her on her way with a kiss on the cheek. I’m not fourteen anymore. If I’m not sure that smut is on the table for later in the evening, I won’t even take her out to get dinner.
It’s not that I’m not a classy guy or anything; I just don’t like having my time wasted. Well, if you’re like me, you’re going to feel like a lot of your time got wasted getting through this game, because half of the time, you’ll forget there even are tits in Faulty Apprentice. So, is it not worth playing at all? I’m not saying that. What I am saying is that you should get through the rest of this review and decide for yourselves.
It’s time for the worst part of any video game you’ve ever played – mini-games. Yay! If I could be any less excited for a game mechanic, I’d literally be dead right now. Whether I’m playing a gacha porn game or I’m hacking computers in Deus Ex, I’ve always found mini-games inside of games to be an absolute fucking nightmare. I don’t want to play another game, damn it. I want to play the actual game that I booted up, to begin with. Why in all shits would you think that I’d want a break from the awesome gameplay I signed up for? Sigh.
Well, my anger over mini-games should be clear by now, and this game sets off all of my bullshit meters. There are mini-games in this game, and they’re supposed to be considered core gameplay. In a video game where 90% of all you do is talk to other people, mini-games are core gameplay. You’d think they could just as easily have removed them from the game and launched it as-is, but then they’d have to admit that this is less of a game and more of a Saturday morning cartoon. Either way, the mini-games are in there for the hell of it.
Most of them aren’t even that interesting. Take the first one I saw, for example. I swear to God, it was literally just Simon Says, but with arrows. You gotta remember patterns and then play them back, for no reason at all. That’s this developer’s idea of core gameplay, apparently.
Stop me if, at any point, you’ve heard any of this story before. You play as a random nobody farmer, in a medieval fantasy setting. You’re the kind of guy who is equal parts forgettable and a klutz. You want more out of life as you dream for grandeur and success, but you have no idea where to even start looking for more than what you already have. Then, fate throws you a curveball as you’re embroiled into power plays that are beyond your understanding, but seem to revolve around you nonetheless.
Oh, you have heard that one before? In about a million other medieval games? Well, don’t expect anything new here. What I can say for this game’s writing is that while it might not be original, it’s definitely well written. This isn’t some guy’s idea of a story, written in a dimly lit basement across art assets in Adobe Photoshop. You’re looking at high-quality primo writing, with well fleshed out characters.
Plus, all the character interaction is woven into the story. You get to know these girls as part of your adventure, and you genuinely grow to care for them. It’s an actual dating simulator in that sense. I guess that’s the nicest way to describe this game. It’s a non-pornographic dating simulator that happens to also have uncensored sex scenes.
All right, time to dish out some praise. I always hate being the kind of guy who bitches and moans about the things he doesn’t like and avoids the things he does. I don’t only lay down harsh truths, ok? I know how to give a compliment or two. So, let’s start with the art. It’s gorgeous. It’s absolutely stunning, and I love it.
It’s got this half-cartoonish vibe to it, with minimal, if any, anime influences. It’s not that I don’t like anime influences, it’s just, if I had to review another anime-inspired visual novel I’d break my fingers off so I’d have to take a vacation. I’m tired of the same thing over and over again. This game was a nice change of pace. All of the art is kind of western and cartoonish, with a certain shading to it that I can’t quite put into words. Everything’s cheerful and positive. It really puts me in a great mood, talking to these characters.
Plus, they use fun, sharp fonts for everything. This can be really hit or miss, depending on the font. I’m calling it right now; Faulty Apprentice’s font is great. It really gets you wrapped up in the idea that you’re playing something medieval.
It doesn’t take long to impress me, but it does take a lot. I have very high standards when it comes to people’s behavior on the internet, which is weird considering 9/10ths of my work involves me describing the fine line between ass and pussy. In England, they call that patch of skin the Biffin’s Bridge, by the way. The more you know.
Anyways, this developer impressed me on two fronts. One, they developed this game through Kickstarter, so it’s a completely crowdfunded project. Throughout that time, they really listened to their fans and cared about everyone’s input. That’s the kind of development that I can really get behind, even if it’s not exactly in my wheelhouse. More importantly, I saw the developer responding to a negative Steam review. Some guy didn’t really like this game. He thought it was too expensive and he didn’t like the mini-games. Well, the developer straight up replied in the nicest, most thought out way possible, with several paragraphs. This dude was insulting their game, and the developer straight up wrote him a public love letter. That’s the kind of high-end respect that always gets points in my book.
So, you’ve made it this far into the review, and you’re still wondering whether this game is worth playing? All right, let me break down all the good elements, while also explaining why it’s really not my cup of tea.
First of all, the character writing is on point. These girls act like real girls, which means that they often talk about their feelings, and they treat you like shit for no fucking reason at all. If you’re in the market for a real relationship with a bunch of real women, you won’t get that for less than $20 in the real world. See, personally, I wouldn’t want to listen to a real woman bitch and moan, but you might, and that’s what this game’s here for.
Then, I also need to note that a lot of people loved the mini-games, and for those who did not, there’s an option to skip every single one of them. The game will just pretend that you won them, where applicable, and move on with the story. If you’re only in the market for a visual novel and you appreciate not being dicked around by extra content, this is the way to play.
Finally, I must note that as far as visual novel dating sims go, this is one of the better ones. It’s rare to see an entire community rally behind a game and defend every single part of the story, art, and music, but that’s what you get here. It’s the complete package.
As for the porn scenes, well, they’re in there. They’re just not core gameplay. That means it’s not a game for me, but it damn well might be a game for you.