A look back at the 2006 release, Sonic Riders. A very polarizing things, we look at what the game excelled at, while noting how some of the flaws may have led the game to be overlooked.
Seduce Me Review: The Longest Thirty Seconds of Your Life, Baby
Way, way back when Steam Greenlight launched, there was a minor furor over the abrupt removal of the submission Seduce Me for having “offensive content”, which raised that old question here in America, why is sex censored so much more heavily than violence? In my mind, there’s no reason for it. Sex and violence are two sides of the same coin. One creates life, while the other destroys life, one gives pleasure while the other causes pain, and so on.
And Seduce Me had a golden opportunity to refute its removal from Greenlight by being a sophisticated game about sexuality that could teach its players about the spirituality of sex, and truths about intimacy, womanhood, and manhood.
And No Reply Games firmly grasped that opportunity and shoved it face-first into a porn star’s ass. “Why go to all that extra effort, when we can just capitalize on the free publicity Valve has accidentally given us and make a cheap, crappy, blatant cash grab?”
Seduce Me described itself as an “erotic light strategy game”. This is not entirely a bald-faced lie. It’s more accurate to say this is just a card game with porn in it. Play some cards, see some porn, repeat ad nauseam or donec genitalibus concitato. If you’re anything like me, the first option is far more likely.
There’s very few good things I have to say about the game, so I’m going to get them out of the way now. I like the art style, the characters are drawn in a realistic 2D style that looks beautiful, the panoramas of the locations are particularly well done. And humorously, the highbrow art style contrasts rather jarringly with the porn – for some reason, the style made me think the porn wasn’t going to be all that hardcore, so when I caught my first glimpse of a fully engorged erection going to work, it took me somewhat by surprise.
And I was rather pleased that the artist didn’t oversexualize the characters. Yes, they’re pretty, I found a couple of the girls in the game even beautiful, but they surprisingly don’t have infeasibly gigantic breasts, they have realistic proportions instead. And that’s pretty much it for the good stuff.
As far as the gameplay is concerned, you wander around this lavish vacation home looking for people to interact with, and at least there’s always something going on nearby, so you don’t wind up wondering where the hell everyone disappeared to. But all interactions with other people are done through adaptations of various card games. The “conversation” game is an adaptation of one of my favorite card games, Pitch, and the “intimate chat” game is adapted from Rummy, so right off the bat the games were familiar and I didn’t need much tutoring – but I swiftly realized that luck plays a HUGE part in the games. For example, any Pitch player can tell you that if you get a bad hand, there isn’t much you can do about it. And a shot of bad luck can have some pretty disastrous results – the “flirt” game in particular is heinous when your luck is shot.
The plot is laughably awful, but fortunately minimal. You’re some hotshot guy (no choice, have to be a man), and you get invited to a wealthy socialite’s vacation home for a weekend. That’s it, that’s the story. From there, you just float from room to room looking for people to talk to. The closest thing to drama is when one character gets jealous or angry about the attention you’re getting, forcing you into a “confrontation” card game. But obviously, that’s less of a plot, and more of an unwanted, unasked for, forced minigame.
The characters are unlikable. I had a hard time choosing which girl I wanted to pour some sugar on, not because I was equally attracted, but because I was equally repulsed. Pietra was the prettiest, but also spoiled and entitled, Cecelia is a milf desperately trying to reclaim her youth through sex, Lilia is an “innocent rich girl” – an oxymoron if I ever saw one – who has somewhat disturbing power fantasies about mistreating her servants and gets annoyingly jealous, and Esper is the slutty maid, apparently hired to be little more than a sex slave and happy to fulfill that role. They’re all clichéd archetypes, and not one of them has an interesting emotion or aspiration, just arousal and jealousy.
The music isn’t anything special, just your standard easy listening crap, and there’s only four songs in the game. It’s a shame they didn’t go whole hog and use terrible 70’s-funk-style music during the sex scenes, because that would’ve gotten my aural attention.
They’re selling all four songs along with the game or separately, but save your money. There’s nothing here that anyone’s going to want to listen to when the game’s over, and it’s sure not going to spice up your genital-sharing time.
I’d like to say the game is at least functional, but I can’t even say that – the game crashed three times while playing it. Fortunately, the game saves your progress after everything you do, so it wasn’t that big of a hassle.
You’d think at least the porn would be decent, but you’d be wrong there, too. Every single sex scene consists of being shown the exact same image three times in a row, just zoomed in or cropped a little. Even the endings are done that way. It’s incredibly lazy, and worse yet, I have to say that what little sexual imagery there was did very little to arouse me.
So, no, this game did not need to exist. The card games themselves are okay, but far too luck-dependent, the music is bland and repetitive, and the writing is horrendous. Sure, the art is nice, but if you’re reading this article, you already have the internet, and you can find quality erotic art for free, which beats the hell out of paying 13 euros for it (≈17 USD). Or, ahem, so I’ve heard.
Oh, alright, I’ve consumed more video games and more porn than anyone should have a right to, but Seduce Me doesn’t work very well as either one. If they were asking less for it, I might be more generous, but I just didn’t enjoy this game at all, and it’s not remotely worth the price. I’ve gotten maybe thirty seconds of enjoyment out of it – a sensation my female readers will be quite familiar with.
In a very literal sense, Seduce Me failed to seduce me on just about every conceivable level. I’m afraid it takes a lot more than that to satisfy me.
(Note: This review was conducted on a PC after eight hours of gameplay.)