By Diego Hernandez / October 25th, 2021
|Release Date||September 24th, 2021 (Johren)
October 25th, 2021 (Steam)
|Genre||Visual Novel, Romance, Comedy|
A new release is here, let’s take an in-depth look at HaremKingdom. If you’re familiar with my reviews, one of the most common developers I cover is Smee. To clarify, they’re responsible for Making*Lovers as well as Sugar*Style. These two titles are outstanding in terms of character development, humor, and so much more. As such, when I heard that Shiravune was bringing over HaremKingdom, I was very much excited. The release brings several questions. How will Smee’s style of romantic comedy do in a fantasy setting? Who is the best girl? Is the plot going to be absolutely chaotic? How will it compare to the two that came before? Subsequently, after finalizing my playthrough, I have all the answers I need. Let’s see how HaremKingdom holds up.
The story this time around is comparatively different. Whereas the games that came before told stories of a man longing for a single lover to ease his loneliness, this one tells the story of a hopeless romantic who’s never even considered the thought of romance in a world that forces his hand. For you see, it all changes once he and his childhood friend are brought to a mystical kingdom. Here he learns that he’s the son of the last king, and his passing means that he’ll have to take the throne. On top of all that, you’ll be meeting up with five damsels that will be a part of your royal harem. How crazy is that? Needless to say, it happens fast and leaves the reader in as much shock as our main character. Nothing more can be done but to press on.
As our main character slowly starts to grasp the fundamentals, the game will allow you brief encounters that will get you familiar with the archetype of each girl in your future harem. I would argue there’s something for everyone. Whether it’s the cold-but-sweet childhood friend, the purest princess imaginable, a mature chancellor, a succubus, and a runaway slave, you’ll be sure to find your favorite immediately. Are you feeling the chaos yet? Jokes aside, the brief glimpse into these characters provides a ton of perspective in terms of expectations and their upbringing. It definitely feels more detailed than more traditional introductory scenes. The story goes off the rails shortly after. I encourage you to enjoy the moment of peace while it lasts.
As the girls slowly move into the palace grounds, things start getting a bit complex. I won’t give specifics for the sake of future reads, but sex plays a major role here. You could even argue that the king having sex is fundamental for the kingdom’s economy and overall longevity. With the weight of the world on a hopeless main character’s shoulder, there’s pressure to act on his insecurities and fast. This absurd story-telling approach is actually refreshing when you come off the slower slice-of-life stories. All the while laughing at the absurdity of the character’s commentary on the situation. I will never tire of Hikari’s screaming and belittling of the main character because of it. Once everyone is well acquainted and cherries are popped, it’s time to get married. With this, the bulk of the game can finally come into play.
Smee’s always been the kind of developer to let one choice be the deciding factor. In HaremKingdom, it’s the same principle. However, what is different is the way things play out. To clarify, you’re not exactly picking one girl above the rest. You’re basically going to choose a lifestyle. How will you and your harem carry out the rest of your days? That’s what it’s all about. It’s a unique route system that’s very entertaining as you look at the options alone. Each route offers a tremendous blend of character development, hijinks, and sexual intercourse. To clarify, by sexual intercourse I mean a lot of sexual intercourse. More than any other Smee game, now that’s some quality. There will be more on that in a bit. So that’s as much as I can say about the story without delving into spoiler territory.
Now if you’re coming into HaremKingdom expecting deep and intrinsic character development, you’re going to be a tad disappointed. Rather than try to strike at the heart where it really hurts, this game just wants you to have a really good time. The number of times I’ve found myself crying from sheer laughter at the dialogue surpasses that of any other Smee title. The ridiculousness of how the main character tries to mix his reality with that of this new fantasy world is beyond my expectations. It’s incredibly silly and I’m amazed at Shiravune’s localization efforts to make sure the humor really hits with Western audiences. Above all, a phenomenal job on that front. In addition, if there is anything that you should really play HaremKingdom for, it’s the girls. They are the highlight of the whole thing.
Whether it’s Hikari’s absurd reactions, Char’s eroticism, Sophia’s innocence or even Kiki’s overall demeanor, all of it is priceless to watch. I can almost forgive the main character for being an idiot at times if it means more antics from the girls. Especially if Marrou ends up scolding him. My favoritism aside, the characters are what’s really going to drive the point home of this being a comfy read. All of this does come with a cost though, and that cost is the insanely high amount of sex. Sure there’s different positions and what not, and yes it’s all really hot, visually and audibly speaking, but after the 20th creampie, I sort of want to see the comedy shine. Come for the girls, stay for the laughs I suppose.
HaremKingdom is one of the more chaotic romantic comedies I’ve read in recent memory, and I love it. While I would have loved to see more individual character development, I wouldn’t exchange the 22 hours I’ve spent laughing along to the antics for anything else. It’s a refreshing experience in this sea of dramatic reads. You can pick it up on Steam for $29.99 and I highly recommend you do so. Congratulations to Shiravune on the release, we look forward to more hijinks. Want to see more Shiravune releases? How about checking out their game that goes behind the voice acting scenes? It’s educational and fun!
Game provided by publisher for review purposes.
In addition to everything in the review, I should point out that this song is a banger.
Harem KingdomJapanese Visual NovelJVNReviewsShiravuneSmeevisual novelVN