Erotic Visual Novels Part 5

rov11About once a year I highlight some more erotic visual novels similar to Date Ariane. You can read all my posts on this topic here.  Today I’m doing my fifth post, adding to the collection with 3 more.

Pandora

Story and Graphics by Mortze
Format: Javascript/HTML
Download link
Cost: Free

Mortze, the graphic artists who does the work for the last 4 Elsa-verse games (see last post), release his own story in two parts last year. It is now complete and available for download. It is not available as an online game.

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The story is set on a science vessel called Pandora, hired to do underwater archaeology in a part of the ocean that is supposed to be where the legendary lost continent of Atlantis is.  You play a young male college student from Britain hired to do engineering work on the diving equipment.  The ship has a fairly large number of beautiful women on this voyage, too.

Despite the cliche premise, the story is pretty good, and it is pretty linear.  While there are some additional scenes to unlock, there are no extra story branches to explore.

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My biggest concern is the illustration of the main love interest Maggie, the daughter of the ships captain.  They make it a point to say she is just out of high school, meaning she is most likely 17 or 18, therefore age appropriate, but the 3D model used to represent her (Teen Josie form Daz3D) makes her look around 13 or 14, which felt a little creepy at times.

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Leanna: Breaking the Facade

Story and Graphics by Chaotic
Format: Javascript/HTML
Download or Play Online Link
Cost: Free
Walkthrough

Chaotics games continue to go with a traditional plot: get the girl, but each game has gotten more and more sophisticated. Leanna is the latest and most sophisticated.

Leanna is the host of a local news show. On screen she is friendly and likeable.  Off screen she is arrogant and self centered, and hard to get along with. Your job is to make her likeable before you and her appear on a game show together as a couple.

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The challenge is in what you say to her. Many times you are given responses. One of which will make her like you more, another make you like her less, and yet another (and these are the hard ones to figure out) will humble her and “break down the facade” she has built to push everyone away.  Advancement in the game requires you to both make her like you and lower her facade, which requires a balance to your responses.

There is a secondary story branch of trying to reunite Leanna with the original “friend” she was supposed to take on the game show before she abruptly quit.  I actually haven’t completed that one yet.

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I love the graphics in this game, Chaotic’s usual humor is here, and the game proved to be a bit of a challenge.

Added benefit: The latest version of this game allows you to play as a male or female, with different gender appropriate sex scenes depending on your choice.

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April and Violet

Story and Graphics by Chaotic
Format: Javascript/HTML
Available from members area of vdategames.com
Walkthrough

April and Violet is a Members Only game. It is an indirect sequel to Betsy, a free game I reviewed before.  Betsy was a nice prim and proper conservative high school girl that wanted to be more open and confident. If you played that game, you met two other girls, the wild and crazy Violet, and the often mean but misunderstood April. The sub plot of that game (if you chose correctly) was for April and Violet to end up a couple (they are both bisexual).

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The sequel involves you driving to California, and needing a place to stay, you end up in a crappy roadside motel that April and Violet have also managed to find themselves staying at.  Weird twilight zone stuff happens like all of the gas disappearing from your cars, and hiking into the next town reveals a ghost town that recently was filled with people.

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The solution to these mysteries is silly, and involves a chainsaw, but then this whole adventure plays like a stoner comedy where weed is replaced by casual sex and booze.

Like many other Chaotic games, you can pick your gender, making it a crazy girl getaway, or play a male stuck in a hotel with three sex crazed girls.  Oddly, I found the female/female sex scenes to be better animated than the male/female ones.  There are also two skin tones to pick from.

What did you think of these games? Got any suggestions for me to review?

Saving Chloe: The “Elsa-verse” part 4

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Fellow erotic visual novel writers Tlaero and Mortze continue to up the game with their latest release Saving Chloe, which I believe is probably the best game of the genre ever, and sets the bar for the rest of us who work in this genre.  The story is excellent, the artwork is excellent, the 9 possible “good” endings all contain great erotic scenes, and oddly one of the most erotic scenes is in a “bad” ending, of which there are many.  So, lots of choices and lots of endings.

Probably the only flaw of the game is that to really enjoy the story you need to have played 3 previous games Dreaming of Elsa, Redemption for Jessika, and Finding Miranda, all of which I reviewed previously.

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There are other odd things in the game.  Some of the points where stories branch are not very obvious.  This is not necessarily a flaw, I like making seemingly meaningless choices turn out to have big consequences as well, but when you are trying to find those last two endings, and not sure how to get there it can be frustrating, but I made it to all 9 “good” endings without cheating and found about 5 bad ones, too.

Link to download Note: This downloadable game is played in a browser, and because of security issues it probably plays best in Firefox.
Online Link #1 (Playforce)
Online Link #2 (Mortze)

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The Story So Far

So you don’t have to play (or replay) three other games, I thought I would give you a breakdown of the first three games and what we learned about what is going on.  This review contains major spoilers for the games Dreaming with Elsa, Redemption for Jessika and Finding Miranda, all of which you should play first, but if you just want to start with Saving Chloe, or if you already played those games and forgot the details, here are some things you should probably know first or be reminded about.

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Dreaming With Elsa

In Dreaming with Elsa, you play Jason a delivery guy with a recurring dream of chasing a woman. One day your delivery route changes and you deliver a shipment of books to a bookstore whose owner looks exactly like the woman you have been chasing in your dreams. She has also had a recurring dream of being chased by a man. Are you in each others dreams?

Elsa is a shy introvert who lives above the store. She has one employee Chloe who coincidentally has an interest in dream interpretation. Chloe went to the store looking for a rare book called Morpheus which is a legendary book on dreams. Elsa said she did not have a copy, but in their discussion of the book, Chloe talked herself into working for Elsa.

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Elsa and Jason experiment and find that they are indeed sharing dreams together, their dreams get more intimate with each passing night.  Eventually Chloe suggest that they go out on a real date. Elsa who hasn’t gone outside her store/home in months finally goes out on a date.  Out at a restaurant named “Delfino’s”, they meet a waitress named Theresa who plays a role later.

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Upon returning from the restaurant, Elsa invites Jason up to her room where she discovered, someone has been in her apartment. Elsa quickly checks her wall safe, and the only completely intact copy of Morpheus (which she had all along) is still there.

The volume has been in her family for generations, and she was told never to read it, but she reads it to find out why everyone wants it so bad. It is a guidebook of “dream masters”. In it, Elsa learns to put people together in dreams, see into other’s dreams, and control dreams. With these powers she learns who it was who broke into her apartment: It was Chloe. Chloe, who also gained some dream powers from a few pages of a very incomplete copy, has been manipulating everything the entire way in order to get her hands on the full book.  Elsa fires her, and promising that if she catches Chloe in anyone else’s dreams, she will give Chloe nightmares for life.

In the end credit scene of the latest version, we see a strange woman named Xara show up in a dream and ask Elsa if she is the new Dream Master, and that she needs someone with her abilities.

Unanswered questions:

  • What was Chloe’s end game? Why did she need to be a dream master so bad?
  • What is so special about Elsa and Chloe that they would have these powers to begin with?

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Finding Miranda

This and Redemption for Jessika take place at the same time, even ending the same way, but parts of FM take place before RfJ, so I’m reversing them here.  Finding Miranda‘s main plot is an office romance between a systems engineer named Lucas (which you play), who recently lost his wife, and a beautiful and brilliant “problem solver” named Miranda.  For the purposes of backstory for Saving Chloe, the romance is immaterial, it’s the “b” story that is of interest.

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We meet Xara again, this time outside Elsa’s dream world.  She a short blind woman looking for revenge on a former boss named Morland.  He is rich and powerful, and like Elsa, seems to have a superpower, but we do not know what. Morland is protected by a goth female bodyguard named Crow who is a deadly killer with powers of illusion.

Xara isn’t helpless, she is trained in combat before she was blinded, and is basically a female version of Daredevil.  She earns a living teaching self defense courses at a local gym.

Xara can’t touch Morland, but starts recruiting “gifted” people that might be able to. Her first recruit is Miranda, who can solve complex problems in her head and come up with the best strategy rather quickly.  Miranda is also the childhood friend of Chloe, Morland’s daughter!

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Miranda and Chloe fell out about a year and a half ago, when Chloe caused an accident that left Miranda in a coma for a year. Chloe felt sorry and visited her old friend every day of the coma, but upon waking up Miranda refused to forgive her. Since the coma, Miranda has not been able to sleep again for the last 6 months.

Xara also recruits dream master Elsa, of course, and manages a secret contact inside Morland’s operation who goes by the code name “YellowFever”.  This contact leaks information about Morland’s operation to shut down another super-powered woman named Jessica.

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Redemption for Jessika

Jessica’s super power is that she can affect people’s emotions by singing.  Sing fun songs, everyone has fun, sing sad songs, everyone is sad, etc.  Jessica is the lead singer in a rock band that is gaining popularity, mostly because she sings fun songs.

Xara and Miranda work out that Morland plans to disable Jessica by getting her to sing angry by making her angry before a concert, then start a riot at the concert. Unfortunately, Xara is too late to stop it from happening.  Five people are killed in the ensuing riot.

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This is where Redemption for Jessika starts (her real name is Jessica Springfield, but “Jessika with a K” is her stage name).  You play Marc (with a “c”), a court stenographer who, being a big fan of Mayhem (Jessica’s band) was at the concert when the riot started, by happenstance you were also in the court during the hearing to determine if Jessica might have been at fault for the riot.  Jessica has become a drunk mess ever since the incident that left 5 people dead.  The plot of the game is to get Jessica to wake up from her drunken stupor and go back to singing again. Standing in your way is Chloe, who attempts to sabotage your efforts at every step.

Along the way, you learn that Charles, Jessica’s former boyfriend, is the one that made her angry, and that he purposely started the riot. The story ends with you and Jessica stopping a bombing at a political rally that was set by Charles.

Later, back in Finding Miranda, Xara, Elsa, and Miranda learn that Chloe is planning on attacking Jessica again at a concert to prevent her from stopping the bombing, but Miranda kidnaps Chloe to stop her and keeps her drugged for three days until Lucas convinces Miranda it is wrong to keep her that way. Chloe wakes up and she and Miranda have a fierce argument.  Ultimately Miranda feels sorry for the way Chloe is abused by her father Morland, and lets her go.

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In the epilogue of Redemption for Jessika, Jessica is meeting with Xara at “Delfino’s” to be recruited.  Xara informs her that Charles is a pawn of Morland, the man she is trying to take down.  Xara wants her help in recruiting other powered people starting with the waitress Theresa.

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In the epilogue of Finding Miranda, Chloe goes into hiding from her father.  After failing in both operation Elsa and Jessika, she is likely to be severely punished, maybe even killed. In a secret safe house, she grabs her laptop, signs into a secret message board as “YellowFever” and posts that she can no longer help from the inside anymore.

Unanswered Questions:

  • What is Xara’s beef with Morland?
  • What is Morland really up to?
  • What power does Morland have?
  • What power does Theresa have?
  • Where do all these powers come from anyways?
  • Can Chloe be persuaded to switch sides?
  • Can Miranda ever forgive Chloe for the coma?
  • Will anyone figure out Chloe has been working for the good guys the whole time?
  • Can Xara and her allies stop Morland? or Crow? or Charles?
  • Will Miranda ever get a good nights rest?

The above descriptions leave out big chunks of all 3 games, but should give you enough information to start “Saving Chloe”.

Update:

If you play the game and are missing an ending or two, I wrote a guide to how to reach the 10 endings (9 good, 1 major bad). Here is a link to my chart. This is not a complete guide, there are some bad choice traps you will have to avoid yourself. These are just to point you in the right direction.

Dating Pretenders on iPhone

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Many people have been asking me about releasing Date Ariane on the Apple App store for use on iphones and ipads. I have not done so because the Apple App store forbids erotic games like Date Ariane in their store.

And yet where there is a demand, there will be someone to fill it. Two different “Dating Sim” apps have been put into the app store using artwork from Date Ariane.

I know what some of you are thinking: “How can they use art from your game in their game?”, and the answer is I let them by offering the 10th Anniversary Edition HTML version under the Creative Commons 3.0 Attribution license.

Basically, art under the license is free to use in other projects as long as you disclose the source and disclose that it was used under the CC by 3.0 license. Both Date Ariane and Something’s In The Air use creative commons music and sound effects extensively, and per the license the sources and links to the license are documented in both the credits screens and the help files of both games.  I released the HTML versions of Date Ariane under the license as a way to “pay it forward”. Unfortunately, most of the people that are using my art are not crediting me, which makes me sad.

If people used my art in cool ways (see the “Related Content” links on this page), it probably wouldn’t bother me much that they left out the required attribution, but as a friend of mine pointed out: Creative commons doesn’t really have a provision for “only if you make good shit with it.”

Anyways, because I myself am an iPhone user, I figured I would download some of these pretenders and piss all over them give them honest reviews.

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Dating Kylie Lopez

I’m giving this app one star, and it only earned that star by being free. This came to my attention because a popular You Tube video series called “Reviewing Bad Apps” featured it in volume 4 at approximately the 11:45 mark. A reader of my blog and a good friend both posted me messages about it, so I had to download it.

While the images, text, and choices all look very familiar, as far as I can tell this app is a cheap joke app. (What do you expect for free?) As you can see, I managed to get “Kylie” into a swimsuit, went swimming, and ate a barbecue steak dinner. A couple of moves later the date was over for no explicable reason.

I think that is the whole joke, no matter what you do the date will end abruptly at some random number of moves into the date.

The app is only 41MB big with no extra downloads, a complete implementation of Date Ariane would be at least 150MB, so a lot of corners were cut. Steak dinner is pretty much the only one available, if you get that far. I suspect the dancing at the club promo image displayed above is an impossible goal. I’m also pretty sure nudity is non-existent.

If you try this app out, post screenshots of how far you got.

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Dating Simulator

This one is a near complete implementation, or more accurately impersonation, of “Date Ariane for iTunes”, and would totally be worth the $2.99 price if it weren’t for all the damn major bugs.

The game is only a 39mb download in the app store, but upon opening the game it downloads another 100mb or so of additional images from a 3rd party server to avoid the wrath of Apple. Make sure your iPhone/iPad has room.

Yes, the game includes at least some brief topless scenes of “Emelie” which is what the game calls her, though I have never managed to see much. I got her to flash her boobs playing basketball and at the dress shop when I handed her two skirts, but even after a flawless strip club show, she exited the stage prior to taking off her top. At least she won:

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From what I can tell, they set the variable that allows nudity to “never”. So far all the nudity I saw in the game including the completely nude “tennis instructor” routine is nudity that shows up when Ariane Emelie is not interested in being naked. This actually breaks the game in many places, like the photo shoot at the scenic vista does not know how to handle the situation with the variable set like that and the app crashes just when things were getting good.

But they also made other game breaking changes.  The most annoying involves the dinners. All dinners in this game end when you drink wine, so if you want to talk or compliment, you need to do that before you drink. “Going out for dinner” seems to default to the “Drive-N-Dine” which doesn’t have a “drink wine” option, so if you go out for dinner, you end up in a loop until  “Emelie” gets tired of your company.  This is a bug that existed for a short while in the Renpy version, until I fixed it. I’d like to see the makers of Dating Simulator fix theirs because it breaks an important part of the game.

Another bug: Occasionally for no reason after eating a steak dinner, we get the pizza sauce ending.

Those are the biggest I found so far, the most annoying part of the app is that there is no save game feature. As is, I’m giving the app 2 stars. Fix the major bugs and I’ll make it 3 stars, add a save game feature and I’ll make it 4, give me credit for the art and get rid of the Facebook spam and I’ll make it 5.

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Dating Ariane.com

If you must play Date Ariane on an iPhone, how about the original HTML version? Someone (not me) is hosting it at datingariane.com, and it is pretty much a complete port of the 10th Anniversary edition to a website.  I had to take mine down a couple of years ago due to devastating web traffic, but this one seems to be on a more stable server.

So faithful of a port, that they left my cheating secrets in, which I never shared until now.

  1. Start the game at datingariane.com/default2.htm, this sets up “debug mode” that shows stats of the game on the right side.
  2. There is a secret dot on the lower left corner. If you hover over this dot with a mouse, it will show you the current game stats which refresh whenever the page number changes (see the first stat in debug mode). This has been replicated in the Renpy version by turning hints on in options.
  3. At the beginning of the game shown above, hover over the secret dot, then enter the Konami code on your keyboard (B A), and that will enable cheat mode, making Ariane pretty much agreeable to anything. (The Konami code works in the Renpy version, too but it makes it impossible to collect achievements when used.)
  4. On the first page of the default2.htm version, there are 7 pairs of “head start” dots, the first 5 skip over the dinners, the last two were scenarios I made for testing purposes, though I don’t know what I was testing in this version. Anyways, the real fun stuff in the game happens after dinner, so use the secret links to skip over the intro and dinner.

And that is what I found, so far. I searched Google Play store looking for imitators as well but since the game is available in android there don’t seem to be any, which is good.

Just remember: the Renpy version is copyright, meaning the art is NOT free to use in projects, and I hate filling out DMCA requests. Yes there is some art that crosses over, though that will change soon as I am making new versions of all the pictures, (see my last blog post).

Some More Erotic Visual Novels

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Posts about other Erotic Visual Novels are consistently the most popular, and I haven’t done one in a while, so here goes. If you want to see my other posts like this, click on the category “Visual Novels” or just click here.

Finding Miranda

Story by Tlaero
Graphics by Mortze
Format: Javascript/HTML
Download link
Play Online Link

This is the third Tlaero / Mortze game and the stories of these games tend to intertwine. I highly recommend playing Dreaming With Elsa and Redemption for Jessika if you haven’t yet. The stories sort of intertwine with each other.

Finding Miranda has a bit of a comic book feel to it. Nearly every line of Miranda’s dialogue has a new image to see, and every image was rendered using iRay physics lighting rendering engine, which can sometimes take a while.  Personally I’m not a huge fan of physics rendering for human figures as skin never looks right, but Mortze makes up for some of the rendering flaws with great character acting. Miranda’s personality comes out in every image.

The biggest flaw in Finding Miranda, and the other games of the series, is the game play choices. The game play is pretty linear with very few plot changing choices, but you will be faced with choices involving what to say in situations, and to score points you have to pick a line of dialogue that best fits your character’s personality, which you choose in the early part of the game. There are 4 personalities to choose from, and which you choose will change some of the content in the story. Picking lines of dialogue that are not true to your character will end the game early, and stop you from getting to the sexiest content. With that in mind a walkthrough may be needed.  More Info.

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Envying Celina

Story by Superawesomemans
Graphics by Sylakone2
Format: Javascript/HTML
Download

Envying Celina is a sequel to Inspiring Celina which I wrote about 2 and a half years ago here. In the first game you played a white male character Luke trying to build a relationship with a introverted bookworm Celina. In this one you play as April an African American female who is also interested in Luke, but your BFF Celina already has him.

Playing from a female point of view is rare enough in these games, but also as a racial minority may be a first!

The stories are pretty short, and it doesn’t take long to get to all the endings. More Info

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After I posted how to make Ariane (see last post), fellow VN creator Chaotic of http://www.vdategames.com/ made this picture. The girls swimming in the background (Betsy and Violet) are from two of her games.

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Betsy

Story and Graphics by Chaotic
Format HTML/Javascript
Play Online and Download

Betsy is the latest free game from vdategames. I like to download these games and play offline, this game is a big download over 800 MB (that’s twice as big as Date Ariane and Something’s in the Air combined). This is mostly due to low compression of the images and it shows, every picture looks really good.

You can choose your race and gender in this game up front, so I played as Ariane. Betsy wants to do a play, but the play has a topless scene. Your job as her boyfriend or girlfriend is to build up her confidence while keeping her happy. It’s a bit different from the usual romance plot which makes it feel more original.

Its a good story, though I kind of like Violet more than Betsy. If you are willing to pay for a membership, (and I have one) there is a second Violet game, which I downloaded, but haven’t played yet. There is a walkthrough for Betsy if you need help. More Info

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Highway Blossoms

Directed by Syon Santeria
Produced by Josh “raithfyre” Kaplan
Released by Alienworks
Format: Renpy
Available on Steam $9.99 (on sale for $5.99)
Website

Thought I’d finish with something completely different. This is a Kinetic Yuri Visual Novel set in the American Southwest, or for those that don’t speak VN, it is a linear story (no branches or multiple endings, that’s the “kinetic” part) about a couple of young girls falling in love with each other (that’s the “yuri” part). Unlike the other games, this is not 3D rendered, not free to play, and even with the optional adult patch, it is only mildly erotic compared to the others.

The rather silly “treasure hunt” plot involves going to 8 different landmarks around the American Southwest looking for hidden gold stashes left by a California prospector in the 1850’s. Having been to 7 of the landmarks, I can tell you that any buried gold at these places would have either been found long ago, or completely impossible to find, so I had to suspend disbelief a bit at this plot. (Side note, I have attempted treasure hunting for the Lost Dutchman’s Mine in the Superstition Mountains, I’m pretty much convinced that that lost mine legend and the nearby Goldfield Mine were one in the same thing.)

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The treasure plot merely serves as an excuse to bring the characters together. It is in the development and interaction of the 5 main characters that the game really shines. It takes a long while for Amber and Marina to figure out their feelings for each other and the development of that relationship is really well done. More Info

The Next Level in Erotic 3D Dating Sims

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This is the third (or 4th?) look at other games similar to Date Ariane. In fact the creators of all 3 games mentioned Date Ariane as their original inspiration.

Of course once you make one game, you try and make something better than your last. My concept of improving was making better pictures and packaging it as a real downloadable game.

The following three authors are still going with the online model but are taking it to the next level in 3 different ways.

Jennifer

Written by Chaotic
Art by Chaotic
Format HTML using Tlaero’s Adventure Creator
Link to play and download

Chaotic and dsp3000 have been making dating sims like mine for a few years and they can be found at www.vdategames.com. You have to sign up for a membership to get the latest and greatest, but there are plenty of free to play games as well.

Jennifer is the most recent to drop to the free portion of the site, so I tried it out. If you played Date Ariane, you will find Jennifer to be very similar. The same plotless “dating experience” where decisions you make along the way open up different activities.

Here’s the next level: the game is voiced by an actress, and many scenes are animated in video rather than animated gif. A different experience worth checking out. If you need a walkthrough, you will find one here.

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Brad’s Erotic Week

Written by Wolfschadowe
Art by Wolfschadowe
Format HTML using Tlaero’s Adventure Creator with additional programming by kexter
Latest download Project Forum

This was suggested by at least two people in my last list of new games. From what I gather this is an ongoing project with new chapters released every few months. Currently we are up to chapter 5. If all goes according to plan the final version will be done around 2029, so you might just want to play what’s available.

The game is a little on the hard side in the first play through. My first play resulted in getting rejected by two women just when I thought I was getting somewhere. And that is even following a walkthrough. Of course the whole point of these games is to play them over and over until you get it right.

The next level is the ambitiousness of the project: a multi episode dating sim with new episodes released every so often is going to be fun to follow.

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Redemption for Jessika

Written by Tlaero
Art by Mortze
Format HTML using Tlaero’s Adventure Creator
Latest download Online Play 1 Online Play 2

This is the latest from Tlaero and Mortze after their successful first collaboration of Dreaming With Elsa.

While Brad may be having a good week above, Jessika’s week has not gone so good: a break up, a riot at a concert, and a bench warrant in front of a judge. You play the court reporter at the hearing, and find yourself involved in Jessika’s recovery from rock bottom.

The next level here is the story. This may be one of the most complex stories ever found in one of these games. The story itself is pretty linear with very few branches. Still if you want a walkthrough, there is one here.

But, it doesn’t stop there. There is a larger plot at work starting with Dreaming With Elsa and continuing with the next title Finding Miranda.  Elsa and Miranda make cameos in RfJ and a strange woman meets with Jessika in an epilogue hinting at how the stories tie together.

I’m definitely interested to see where this one goes.

More Erotic 3D Dating Sims Part 2

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It seems the most popular post on my blog is “A Few More Erotic 3D Dating Sims” so maybe I should do more posts like that. Here is a few I found in the last year and a half since that post.

Dreaming With Elsa

Written by Tlaero
Art by Mortze
Format HTML using Tlaero’s Adventure Creator
Link to Play  Link to Download

This may be one of the best games in this genre I have ever played. The art is perfection and the story intriguing.  I had this idea for a Rachel game that moves between fantasy and reality, but I abandoned it. This one is better anyways. Elsa is an introverted bookworm like me. I would definitely like hanging out with her. More info here. If you get stuck there is a walkthrough here.

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Brad’s Summer

Written by Fleet
Art by Fleet
Format Javascript/HTML built with Novelty Visual Novel Engine
Link to download

A third person perspective game where you play as Brad, an underachiever who needs money to keep him in school.

Fleet is one of the few people who, like me, write and do all the graphics. This is his latest. My only complaint is that it lacks an easy way to turn off the sometimes annoying music. If you get stuck there is a walkthrough here.

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The-VDates Trilogy: The Gym, The Physio, The Sniper

Format Javascript/Html
Website

The creator of these games seems to be anonymous, but the games themselves are getting good buzz and reviews. The writer has a good sense of humor, and the plots have their share of twists.

The graphics on The Gym are less than ideal, for a good while every girl looks exactly the same and exactly like Victoria 4.  There is a marked improvement in graphics in The Physio. The third volume of the trilogy has yet to be released, but is expected to explain the odd ending of The Physio. If you get stuck, the hosting website includes walkthroughs.

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DigitalEro: The Game Episode 1

Written by GiantKrill
Art by GiantKrill
Format Renpy Engine
Download PC and Mac

When I finished the Renpy version of Date Ariane, I decided to look for other games like Date Ariane that were also built on Renpy and discovered this one. It is comparatively short, you should see all  endings in a half an hours time.

The graphics are done on a video game engine Garry’s Mod rather than the Poser/Daz Studio graphics of the rest. This makes them less realistic, but often more interesting.
More info

The Longest Journey Trilogy: The Best Written Visual Novels

For over a decade I have swung on a pendulum between “creative” and “playing” and after three years of mostly being in “creative” mode, I seem to be in a deep “playing” cycle of video games.  Hence my lack of blog posts as I generally have little to say while in “playing” mode.

One of the games I have been playing is Dreamfall Chapters the third game in an adventure game trilogy spanning 16 years. The first game was The Longest Journey from 1999 which was mostly a 2D graphic adventure game with many puzzle solving aspects.  By today’s standards it is kind of cheap looking and way too long, but it has one of the most compelling stories of any adventure game at that time. It was followed up in 2006 by Dreamfall.

The setting of the three games is two parallel universes named Arcadia and Stark. Stark is a near futuristic “cyberpunk” world of technology, while Arcadia is a renaissance inspired world where magic is real. In between is a dream world that both worlds share. The hero of the first game is April Ryan, a Stark girl who has a natural gift to move between worlds.  The second and third games star Zoë Castillo whose gifts to move between worlds were not so natural but artificially induced to create a new vivid dream inducing technology. The third game is about this new technology and how it has become a drug of sorts.

The genius writer is Ragnar Tørnquist, a Norwegian fantasy game writer/designer who also was the head writer for the MMORPGs Anarchy Online and The Secret World.

Dreamfall was one of my favorite stand alone games of the 00’s filled with great characters and an imaginative story with one annoying flaw: a shocking cliffhanger of an ending we had to wait 9 years to resolve. That resolution finally happened in 2014’s Dreamfall Chapter’s: Chapter 1 which came out a few months ago. There are 5 planned chapters to be released when they get around to releasing them, Chapter 2 comes out on Tuesday, March 10th, which is what I’ll be playing next week.

Dreamfall Chapters is being done by an independent studio and relied on crowd funding to get made. Despite this, the game does not look cheap or low budget, the bulk of Chapter 1 takes place in a gloomy futuristic European city which is one of the most immersive places I have seen in a game.  Like the first two games, there is plenty of humor and mystery.

Also like a good visual novel, choices you make in the game will radically change the game play. Early on Zoë is given a choice of picking up her life where she left off, or starting over on something new.  If you pick the former Zoë dresses stylishly and has confident hairstyle, and does lab experiments with a “kidbot”, if you pick the latter Zoë dresses more conservatively, has a simple hairstyle, and runs around testing a salvaged robot named “shitbot”.  The former choice seems the better one, but “shitbot” has become very popular among players (“Welding, welding,welding”).

If you like games with good storytelling, this is as good as it gets.