By William Haderlie / April 18th, 2017
DISCLAIMER: The game reviewed is an adult’s only Nukige Visual Novel, so all contents of the review and all links are 18+ and potentially NSFW.
|Title||Kuroinu Chapter 1|
|Genre||Nukige, Visual Novel|
|Age Rating||Adults Only|
Similar to the reviews for Rance VI and Beat Blades Haruka, I will start off this review with a short content advisory. That way our readers can know up front if this is a review that they may be interested in, or whether it’s something they will find personally offensive. The first thing any potential purchaser of this Nukige should know is that it starts off with the kinks of rape and mind break and then adds other kinks on top of that. Without exception, whichever decision you make about which girl to spend your time with, they will all be repeatedly raped and eventually mind broken. In addition to that, I would also give some content warnings to some monster and beast sex as well as a case of magical temporary de-aging of a character. But most of all, you should know that there is no way to get a “good ending” in a game like this, the main character is certainly no hero. This is a story for those who are turned on by the fictional representation of rape in a fantasy world, so don’t expect someone like Rance, who certainly committed sexual assault but could be seen as an anti-hero. Prior to this game, I would say that the closest similarity for me was Valkyrie Svia, although this one was a little darker.
One of the best parts of writing reviews for Operation Rainfall is that we are given a lot of leeway to explore a lot of niche genres that would not be explored on other websites. And this is one of those cases. I accept that for many people the themes in Kuroinu would be a turn-off or even offensive, but they can just not purchase the game. So don’t expect me to make a moral judgment anywhere about the content, especially when it comes to animated fictional representations of things that would be considered crimes in real life. For me personally, especially in such an obviously fictional settings, I found it quite interesting to see these events from a totally different perspective. The world is a fairly standard high fantasy with dark elves and high elves and trolls and so on. But that is only the window dressing to get you into the action. This is definitively a Nukige, not an Eroge like Rance VI is. I did see the hentai anime that was created based on this Visual Novel, so I did know what I was getting into before taking on the task of reviewing it. I’ll come back to the anime later in the review.
You cannot in any way call the main character of this visual novel a hero, not even an anti-hero. Even though he is the main character, and when you make decisions you do so as him, there is no other word to call Vult but a villain. That does give some narrative intrigue, because that is definitely not a common perspective in visual novels (or video games, for that matter), and that also makes him quite a bit different in behavior than other visual novel main characters. He is the leader of a mercenary army who is trying to conquer the world and then establishing their own nation called the Cuntry (yeah, you read that correctly). It is interesting that he does not even make any excuses for what he does, he just consider’s any female’s bodies to be forfeit to any men, and especially to his army of mercenaries. The idea of making them all available as payment to his army is understandable (in the logic of a barbaric army, that is), but it is unexplored where his general attitudes towards women come from that he isn’t just doing so as a way to keep his army happy.
You start off the story seeing a basic overview of how the world was leading up to the events of the story and then how Vult and his mercenary army wrested the power from the current ruling class to establish their own regime. You are basically introduced to all 9 of the potential sex slaves who were previously the 7 guardians, and the Dark Elf queen and her first knight. That really only lasts for about an hour and is mostly just a framing mechanism for the choice you are presented with. Eventually, you are presented with the chart above, and you choose which of the sex slaves that you are to auction off. That leads to the erotic scenes involving that particular character. This game has been split up into 3 Chapters, and the way they split it up is by reducing the number of potential sex slaves at the screen you see above. While rape and mind break are the common thread among all the girls, each one represents an additional kink on top of that basic premise.
The Dark Elf Queen Olga Discordia is perhaps the most straightforward of the 3 different girls in Chapter 1. As the Queen, she was ostensibly the leader of the monsters who gathered around her to seek the protection and benefits of her magical powers. She never really sought to control the monsters and creatures under her thrall, though, generally considering anyone but her first knight Chloe to be beneath her. She is intensely prideful and haughty, particularly in regards to humans. As such her entire route involves trying to break down her pride and her mind. She was also a virgin before the events of the story and she has a magic spell protecting her from getting pregnant. So you can pretty much map out where that story is going to go once she is in the clutches of Vult and his army.
I have little doubt that I’m the only one who considers Chloe to be the MVP of Chapter 1. Her story is the most interesting, she is being reminded of a past she wishes to forget even as you are discovering it for the first time. As I warned in the first paragraph, there is some magical age play that happens temporarily in this route that may offend some people. But most of her route involves anal as the primary-kink beyond the rape and mind break. Her loyalty to her Queen, Olga, who gave her a new life is interesting, but her past with her former master is even more so. Additionally, learning how dark half-elves are treated in this world definitely gave a lot more depth to the backstory. That this story goes to some very dark places is no surprise, everything in this game is pretty dark, but even in the depths of her despair, I found her to be rather engaging.
Claudia Levantine has the shortest route out of the three, but whether she is your favorite or not depends on your kinks. While all 3 of the women have some sexual experience with monsters, such as orcs and ogres and trolls, she additionally has some bestial sex in her route. But mostly the feature kinks of her route are NTR, pregnancy, and some minor incest (in that he’s her father-in-law and not blood-related). She is comedic in some ways, especially her armor design, but also in how over the top she is about her husband. But her story definitely has the feel of a Greek tragedy, her father-in-law feels it’s necessary to conceive a son with her, a woman he greatly respected, because his son is not man enough to do so himself. Whether intentional or not, she definitely had some of the funniest lines in the entire game after she became pregnant and she wasn’t even certain what species her babies would be.
Unfortunately, that was not the only comedy here, some of it was unintentional. There is this ridiculous trend in Eroge and Nukige that the girls use increasingly silly names for a lot of the things that are happening to them. I can understand where some of that comes from, it may get boring to say the same thing over and over again. But some of the combination terms end up sounding so silly and ridiculous that it can totally take me out of the experience, and this game was one of the worst offenders of that that I’ve ever played. There were no spelling or editing errors, or anything of the sort, this comes down to the original game’s dialogue. But the voice acting was definitely top-notch, and the music was really good as well, so as long as you don’t mind a girl calling her hands a palm-pussy, her ass multiple variations of that, and any male part something to do with dicks then you should be fine. If not, you may be in for some unintentionally hilarious times.
There is one major problem that I have with this title, much more serious than some silly dialogue. And that is whether this packaging of the game, splitting it into 3 different parts, represents a consumer friendly approach. I’m certainly a huge fan of MangaGamer, but that does not mean I have any particular insight into the publishing rights for their games or their business profit margins. But it does concern me when any company is splitting a full product into 3 parts, and then 1 of those 3 parts is about the same price as a full product, $24.95 in this case. The initial backstory sequence is about 1 hour and then the 3 main routes remaining to the girls are around 1 hour each as well, so it totals to about 4 hours of erotic action. That’s not a terrible price, but it’s not in keeping with previous standards set by other titles as well. So I’m really torn about the value proposition. In addition, I have seen the hentai anime production, as previously mentioned, so I have a good idea of which girls I’m going to like the most, and most aren’t in this one. I do have to say that unequivocally the Visual Novel is better than the anime, as has been true 100% of the time I’ve seen both. But I cannot deny that it’s really disappointing to see that screen full of 9 potential partners and to be only able to choose 3 of them for now. It’s a good release, and it’s fantastic to see a wider array of kinks being given the treatment that they deserve. But it also could have been a better release if we got it all at once in one package.
Review Copy Provided By The Publisher
18+erogeKuroinuKuroinu Chapter 1LiquidMangaGamerNukigevisual novel