gokuraku gokuraku!

I’ve been evangelizing about this game in #marimite for the past several days, so I figured it was finally time to put digital pen to paper and try to organize my thoughts regarding what I believe to be the biggest step taken in the pornographic simulation game industry since some brilliant fellow realized scrolling text could be superimposed over GIFs of naked girls.

Jinkou Shoujo 2 is the latest game from Illusion Soft, the predominant maker of 3D h-games in Japan. Their prior works include the stalker/rape-themed series of Biko and Interact Play, the vaguely Final Fantasy-esque Des Blood series, the fighter Battle Raper, A-GA (a bunch of movies tied together with a shoestring game element), and the Sexy Beach series, the last of which the company considers Jinkou Shoujo to be a member. I’ve played Des Blood 4 and Biko 3, both of which were adequate diversions but plagued with hideous user interfaces, short stories and severely limited replay options, not to mention terrible programming, bloated installs and laughably antiquated graphics in regard to everything but the character models. While I’ve only played two of their earlier titles, from what I’ve heard these characteristics are applicable to most if not all of the others. Jinkou Shoujo 2 is not cut from an entirely different cloth in terms of production value, but its concept has so much potential that coupled with adequate execution in key areas it’s a game that really shines.

So what is this Jinkou Shoujo game about?

Unlike any of Illusion’s prior games, with the obvious exception of Jinkou Shoujo 1 of which I know nothing aside from its assumed existence and will ignore for the purposes of this review, Jinkou Shoujo 2 has only one female character. You play the typical faceless male protagonist, pursuing this single character around an otherwise uninhabited island, walking hand in hand, sitting side by side watching the sunset, and fucking like rabbits. Pretty simple concept.

At first glance this seems rather underwhelming. Just a single female character? And you just run around an island fucking her? You don’t even get to stalk her, rape her, or steal her hat?! It doesn’t even have some lame shoestring plot?! What kind of Illusion game is this, you ask. Well, “Jinkou Shoujo,” when translated, means “artificial girl” or “man-made maiden.” The alliteration, it burns. This should be pretty self-explanatory, but I will elaborate regardless.

Customization

The first thing you do in the game is customize the female character. You can alter several of her facial features, her hair (color and style), her skin tone, and her bust size. Her personality is determined by her blood type, which you can also select (although I’m not sure what actual effect on gameplay the blood types have). Check out the official website linked at the top of this post for examples of this. The array of options is somewhat limited, but I find it to be just enough that I can feel like I have a truely individual character when I’m ready to start the game.

Within the game, a new level of customization is achieved with the ability to select from an enormous wardrobe with which to clothe your creation. This has basically the same effect of enabling you to constantly recreate your character as other characters, at least to the extent that cosplay does; notable here is the inclusion of costumes from characters in other Illusion games, if you really wanted to recapture the tried and true Illusion experience (of characters that feel even more faceless and generic than the one you just created). It’s also pretty easy to toss together mimic cosplay of various famous characters, as well as traditional fetish ensembles; there are still a few obvious ones missing (flight/elevator attendant, nurse, policewoman/military), but waitress, naked apron, rope bondage, schoolgirl, OL, etc. etc. all make appearances.

You can’t access all of these costumes from the beginning of the game, however, which brings me to my next point: objectives.

But before I talk about that I should mention another aspect to file under “customization,” which is the variety of locations in which sex can be had in the game. The uninhabited island on which it takes place is the site of a remarkably random assortment of shoddily-rendered buildings and physical features, from a beach to a school to a train station (with train) to a forest to a hot spring to your house with various rooms and house-like accouterments to a secret computer lab to a dungeon to a cliff with a flowery meadow and a cherry tree with ever-falling blossoms. In addition, it rains from time to time, and white garments tend to soak through rather easily. Oh, and totally unrelated: your girl calls you by the name you enter for yourself, and she has a really cute voice.

Objectives

Being a sex simulation game, the immediate objective of Jinkou Shoujo is obvious. It is also easily attainable; as soon as you’re plunked down with the girl on the beach at the beginning of the game you can chase her down, pin her against a tree and fuck the living daylights out of her. You can do this as much as you want, and aside from berating you petulantly and running away the girl won’t protest too much. But this quickly becomes boring, and the game would be quickly discarded as just another Illusion hack job if that’s all there was to it. Fortunately, there’s a lot more.

To say that the objective of Jinkou Shoujo is sex isn’t quite accurate. Instead, your objective is to make the girl you’ve just created desperately crave sex with you. The more she wants your hot, throbbing penis, the more she shows it – at the beginning of the game she pretty much stands there and takes it as you fuck her, unless you spend a long time in foreplay; by the end she’s telling you to put it in right from the get go, and offering to do all sorts of interesting things, and wear (or remove) all sorts of interesting clothing, for your benefit. If the game has some sort of ending I haven’t gotten there yet; regardless of whether it does or not the payoff is clearly in the journey to get there.

Gameplay

You’re alone on an abandoned island with a girl who likes you. How do you get her to like you more? You can’t take her to the movies or buy her things, but you can humor her when she wants to show you something. You can look at her and follow her around. You can make sure she comes when you do, or before. Within the limited framework of the Jinkou Shoujo game world, the paths to success are remarkably intuitive – at least to my twisted sense of logic as it exists in a world where all girls, in the end, really want to have sex with me.

There is essentially no text in the game (aside from the customization screens), a wild departure from almost all h-games past, including other Illusion productions. This is because Jinkou Shoujo 2 is perhaps the first game of its kind that doesn’t need to rely on text to explain what is going on. There’s no story, but it doesn’t need a story. Sitting in a meadow beneath a cherry tree looking out at the horizon as the sun sets with a girl by your side doesn’t need to be written in prose in this world. All cues come in verbal form from the girl; during sex she will ask you from time to time if she can do something, or if you really like her, things of that sort – a left button mouse click for “yes” is always the correct answer, there are no bullshit multiple guess questions regarding how you should treat her.

I’ve covered most of the salient points of the game now, but there are a few final notes to make before getting to the screenshots I promised shut: first, I’ll be commenting in future entries regarding the potential I see for the future of the genre based on the Jinkou Shoujo concept, as well as another rant brewing as to why the concept resonates so well with me. I am also willing to cobble together a tutorial for the game for those unwilling to pick through hongfire dreck for further information.

Before getting to screenshots, I need to mention that in motion, the girl you create in this game looks good. REALLY good. The animation is a significant step above anything I’ve seen in the other Illusion games I’ve played. The backgrounds are still shit and the guy looks the same as ever, but they’re just window dressing. With that said, if you don’t have a pretty powerful system/video card Illusion’s trademark “ass” school of 3D programming will bring you more than the characteristic amount of unhappiness with this game. I can pull 800×600 at 20-30 fps on an Athlon 64 3500+ with a gig of ram and a 9600xt. I probably have some options set quite incorrectly somewhere but this is still not a good sign.

And now, the screenshots. These were taken in haste with very little to show the wide variety of customization available in the game, but should serve well enough for now. Note that neither this costume or these positions are available until several hours into the game, when the girl is sufficiently eager for your penis. One of the things I have underrated until now is the girl’s face – take a look at it in these shots. She has a wide array of expressions, especially during sex, that make her exponentially hotter.

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This weekend I will embark on a quest to create a more comprehensive array of screenshots to show off some of the other positions and clothing options available, if I’m feeling particularly motivated and/or the demand exists.