Thursday, 10 January 2013

Review: Seduce Me (PC)

It shouldn't surprise anyone that a game called "Seduce Me" is rated AO, Adults Only, by the ESRB and is available only through the developer's website, because which retailer is going to offer AO games? The completely digital Steam store doesn't even support it!

Ostensibly a "porn game," Seduce Me drops the player into an ultra modern oceanside mansion that is populated almost entirely by sexy vixens with the goal, presumably, of seducing everyone.

Seduction... card games don't instantly spring to mind with the word but that's the vein the player taps to work toward snippets of erotic text and a splash of drawn sex acts.

The gameplay centers on the card games, but there's also some "strategy" involved when balancing the Attraction and Intimacy of the various ladies in the building. For example, screwing around with one of the featured girls might affect the Attraction level of one of the other girls.

Then there's also the player's Popularity level, which hinges on winning the card games.

Talk to a woman, card game. Flirt with a woman, card game. It's a pattern that carries throughout. Success at the card games, which far too often rely on plain luck, most often will provide a boost in Popularity. But there were times that seemed like winning actually netted a decrease in Popularity. If the player's Popularity dips to zero and the player fails the final card game, the game's over and any "progress" is lost.

But back to the card games. There's no real way to dress this up: they aren't interesting and lack strategy. There are takes on Uno, Poker, and Rummy, which are simple to understand, even if some of the tutorials are outright broken.

(During the tutorials, if the player doesn't follow the instructions to a "T" it can become impossible to actually finish the tutorial. "Now, play the 9." But I don't have any 9's! *cancel*)

The pay-off for high Popularity, Attraction, and Intimacy is more extreme sex acts, but building those bars based on games of chance can be hair pulling because all it takes is a few bad hands and you're kicked out of the house. I found that the moment the cards didn't seem to be in my favour, I quit the game then relaunched it. Since the game saves automatically at the start of each "round" the action would pick-up right at the start of the round. Cards not in my favour again? Quit, restart. Provided I did so before the end of the round, it was clear sailing. I wouldn't lose my progress.

Increasing the length of the bars became the be all, end all of the game. The hardcore sex cartoons might be the lure for some, but "cheating" my way through to boost my bars became the principle attraction for me, basically to show the game who's really in charge.

That might be the saddest part of all this: I didn't want to feel beaten by uninteresting card games. If there was more in the way of variety, like chess or Othello, I might have been more interested.

Is the experience worth ~$17? With the Internet teeming with free online card games -- real card games -- and porn sites eclipsing "regular" sites 2:1, I'm not so sure.

The game itself doesn't possess enough personality (or challenge) on its own to stand out as unique in the admittedly small field of AO games. Still, it is interesting to see how standards are applied when it comes to games. Sex, slap on the AO label! Rip a guy's head off while watching sinews and bone snap to a soundtrack of spewing profanity, that gets an "M" for mature and you can buy it at Wal-Mart.

- D.D. Nunavut

The Good:
- The mansion is cool
- Decent art

The Bad:
- Card games aren't fun or interesting
- Lady Luck is in the driver's seat

Score: 4.0 / 10