Aug. 24th, 2015

[identity profile]
Name: TUSKS: The Orc Dating Sim
Status: Demo.
Rating: R
Pairing: M/M

Description: "Tusks: The Orc Dating Sim focuses on a newly-formed family of gay orcs who are travelling from the annual orcish assembly to the Highlands of a semi-mythical Scotland! Along the way, the player can begin friendships and relationships with the various members of the group, including a selkie a long way away from home, a gentle-giant orcish warrior, and a polyamorous trio of orc chieftains."

In the demo you join up with a group of orcs that are essentially going the same way you are, have a nice chat with some of them, and then settle down for the first night on the road.

Art: Unusual for this sort of format but I got used to it quickly. The target audience for ORCS is bear lovers, not bishie fans, so the characters are stocky and plump, with stretchmarks, moobs, injuries etc. An effort has clearly been made to create a more realistic and inclusive depiction of what a nomadic people who encounter danger on the regular might look like. The art style itself feels a little sketchy, but like I said, I got over it quickly.

Writing: Very good. There's a strong sense of worldbuilding that doesn't require much in the way of straight exposition, the conversations you can have are interesting, and each of the many characters have strong personalities. Because even in the demo there were a lot of opportunities to step away and get to know the other orcs one on one, the large number of options (8 IIRC) didn't feel like too much, and instead created a lot of replay value.

There's also some interesting themes already popping up within the text, including issues of belonging and identity, and the building of family and community among gays and lesbians. My eyes narrow when games try to make a statement, because the last thing I want out of them is a hamfisted sermon, but the light nature of the text, and the clearheaded, sensitive, and introspective way the topics were addressed worked for me and I felt that they really added value to the story.

Choice: 13 choices made in the demo.

There's a lot of choice in this game. Some of it is simply choosing who to talk to, but the first day at least is focused on conversation, and depending on who you converse with that conversation can go 2 or three choices deep. The choices are also meaningful in the sense that they have a clear effect on the pathing. Most of the time there are 3+ choices at any given juncture. As far as options are concerned, this is one of the better demos I've seen.

Gameplay: There are some very neat things added to this game which makes me eager to see the end product, including some randomization that I suppose you could stick with the buzzword procedural generation. In the beginning you have the option to turn on AI agency, which comes into play once in the demo during a vote to decide on the name of the troupe. And during the first night the leader will choose different orcs to go on patrol, effective limiting your choices of who to talk with at camp, which again adds replay value. I'm not sure how that choice is made, if it's randomized or when, but I really enjoy things being a little different on playthroughs. It makes my least favorite part of renais more bearable.

Overall: I want to see this game made. I want to see it badly enough that I threw a few bucks at the creator's Patreon. The art put me off trying it for a while but I'm glad I decided to check it out. The script is polished and complex, and I want to get to know the characters better.

Plus I want to hang out with the flower chief some more.


Reviewing games with an emphasis on story or chara

July 2016


Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Sep. 25th, 2017 10:28 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios