Ever since RenPy became a staple in the porn game development sphere, perverts have been coming out of the woodwork, eager to tell their own story using this supposedly simple game engine. I don’t care much about the coding of porn games, at least, not enough to actually try coding in RenPy to see what it’s like. I’ll just accept that for whatever reason, RenPy is dominating the market, and visual novels are selling like hotcakes. And, even though this engine allows for people to include different types of gameplay, there aren’t that many technical differences between different games that use it. For the most part, they’re visual novels, and sometimes they also have a map that you can use to traverse the open world, if there is one.
Today, we’re looking at Lust Vessel, which is another beautiful addition to the long list of pornographic visual novels. In terms of concepts, it brings nothing new to the table. You play as a character, in a unique setting, and that character inevitably fucks a lot of… things. It’s the standard formula for your run of the mill porn game these days. However, the game is unique enough that the developers have a somewhat successful Patreon, which is regularly bringing in the funding for them to continue developing sexy porn games for the public to enjoy.
Tentacles in Space
It seems like all you need to make a unique successful porn game these days is throw all the sexual themes you can think of into a hat, pick out a couple at random and hire an artist to draw the resulting word soup. In this case, we’re looking at Japanese tentacle porn tropes combined with standard space-faring sci-fi. Now, before you start getting the wrong idea, I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with this. I also don’t think that the developers picked these themes out of a hat. If anything, I think they’re really passionate about the setting, characters, and story that they’re telling.
It’s just, from the perspective of the player, this game doesn’t feel like something new; rather, it feels like one of many similar games that you really want to get through lest you miss out on a unique fap. Sure, you’ve seen tentacles, and you’ve seen space, but have you ever put them together? No? Well then, you desperately need Lust Vessel in y our life.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. You play as Kate, a literature major who got invited to go on a trip by her friend, who has now mysteriously vanished. Kate wakes up on board a space ship full of all kinds of random individuals of different species. This is roughly where the tentacles come in. Anyways, she has to slowly piece together how she got there all the while trying to find her friend and get the hell out of dodge.
Throughout her adventure, she gets to know all the other denizens of the ship while avoiding their sexual advances or giving into them. It’s up to you, really. There’s no real downside to enjoying yourself in a porn game, but here you have to consider the consequences of your actions. Either way, you can’t technically lose at this game, so you can think of it as an interactive story that also happens to let you traverse the world at will.
This game borrows a page out of Lust Epidemic’s book, in that everyone on board is extremely horny, and no-one’s exactly sure why. Maybe the place is cursed, or maybe there’s something in the air. That’s a mystery you’ll have to solve yourself, preferably one-handed, while you jack your way through every single sex scene along the way.
Lust Vessel pushes RenPy about as far as it can go, having a top-down overworld through which you navigate around the ship. You can also interact with items and solve puzzles. That part of the game is basically inspired by the point and click games of old. If you interact with a person, however, the game switches to the standard visual novel style that RenPy was made for, and you have yourself some fascinating dialogue.
The dialogue is quite straightforward and doesn’t keep you from the sex for too long. I’d hate having to have long drawn out conversations in a porn game. It would drive me crazy with anticipation. Well, there’s none of that. You get to the good stuff quickly; then the story pushes along a little bit only to send you back to the smut. That’s the kind of pacing I like.
My Personal Criticism
I’m not the kind of guy to correct you if you blurt out a typo in a group chat. Hell, I write for a living, I probably have more typos than most. It comes with the territory. And still, this game managed to get on my bad side with the sheer unavoidable amount of typos. It seems like out of 10 bits of dialogue, 5 of them are going to be riddled with mistakes.
At first, it’s endearing, then it’s cute, then it’s weird, and eventually, it just becomes annoying. Hell, they even have typos across their Patreon tiers. And grammar? You can forget about grammar. They haven’t mastered spelling yet. Now, I know I'm a bit mean here, and I’m sorry. That’s not my intention. It’s just, if you’re going to be making money off of a porn game, take a break, hire a proofreader, fix shit up then get back to working on the next update.
This way, it kind of feels like the developers themselves don’t give a shit about the writing, and I doubt that’s the case. I mean they’ve written this amazing story about a super-hot babe who’s stranded in space with rapey tentacle monsters. Obviously, they care very deeply about the story. It’s a part of the core gameplay. It moves your boner along.
Still, they haven’t proofread any of it, from the looks of things, and you’re just going to have to find a way to live with it if you’re going to play this game.
Even with my criticism of their spelling, I still think the folks behind Lust Vessel deserve a lot more money than what they’re currently making. Or, at the very least, they deserve more backers. I’ve seen damn near every porn game on Patreon at this point, so I feel I’m a bit of an authority on the subject. This is a pretty great game. Plus, it’s an actual finished product with a complete story, from what I can tell. That’s a lot more than I can say about many other games that make a lot more money.
Maybe those other games are making money hand over fist because they’re hotter or maybe they’re just marketing themselves better. I don’t know. Either way, I think these folks deserve better and not just because of Lust Vessel. They’ve also made two spinoffs that serve as sequels to the game, and those are available for free as well. You’re looking at a ton of high-quality content here, from the same two-man team. They might not excel at polishing their games, but they’re damn good at inventing smut scenarios for perverts to jack off to, and I respect them for that.
I give Lust Vessel my seal of approval, but with a tiny warning regarding the fact that the story is not polished. It’s complete and certainly satisfying, but I’d like to see a bit more professionalism out of the whole thing.
The art is definitely serviceable, and you can easily rub one out to the sex scenes. I especially like the triple tentacle penetration scenes. Those always capture my heart and my boner. Plus, I really like the ability to walk around in an open-world inside a sex game. It kind of reminds me of real life. You can go wherever you like, and you know that sex is just around the corner, but you’re never quite sure who you’re going to end up banging.
At the very least I have to recommend that you download this game, because it’s free, duh. Try it out for an hour, get a feel for the story, and see if you enjoy it. I would call it a very light version of Lust Epidemic, if you catch my drift. It’s got the mystery, it’s got the writing, but it’s all a few levels of quality below Lust Epidemic. I mean, that high-quality game music throughout. You can’t beat that. Still, Lust Vessel is aiming pretty high, and future updates will probably make the game a lot better.