Elewder is a lewd roguelike about a fallen warlock that must escape the Prison of Lust to defeat the Succubus once and for all!
(FxM) sexual content.
No. Woot! Woot!
Hours of Gameplay?
Gameplay: published November 6th, 2021 (2/5★)
To claim your freedom, you must climb fifteen randomly generated floors. There are a variety of rooms that may spawn; they offer a combination of traps, chests and enemies. On every floor there is a shop with randomly generated wares. If you’re fortunate, you’ll find new spells; as the name suggests, the starting “Weak Simple Shot” is a paltry weapon, unsuitable for what lies ahead. A boss divides every three floors, marking a change of scenery and increased difficulty. If you die, you must restart on the first floor — and nearly all of your progress is reset. It’s important to ration your life-points, and not to take any unnecessary risks. Considering the penalty of death, damage is seldom “worth it”.
Exploration in Elewder is a chore. Each floor is typically split into two major routes; one will take you to the boss or exit, and the other is simply a detour. If you take the wrong route, you’ll have the joy of backtracking through empty rooms and re-navigating hazards. Making matters worse, movement is slow as balls. To make the most of shops, you must painstakingly break every barrel in every room — and collect their contents (if any) to finance purchases. If you’re not fortunate enough to find the spells you need for progression, you’ll have to buy them. If you have any leftover money, it’s a good idea to stock-up on additional hit-points. Considering death means losing all of your progress, you don’t want to take any chances.
Recently, I purchased a roguelike 2D sidescroller called “Noita“. Both games allow you to “Build your unique Warlock” using randomly provided spells. However, Noita offers a far wider selection of spells than Elewder, and many of them have unique interactions with the environment. For example, explosive spells may be used to punch holes in the terrain; this mechanic can be used to drain dangerous liquids (such as toxic sludge) or enter hidden areas. Elewder simply doesn’t have enough spells or interactions to make any two playthroughs feel different from one another. Compounding monotony, there are bad spells and better spells — if you’re not using Advanced Simple Shot and Shotgun, you’re using the wrong spells.
Noita offers a wide variety of enemies from start to finish. Even though Elewder has a few different foes, there are only a handful of distinct attacks to see. The difference between enemies typically boils down to the number, speed and direction of projectiles they use. In Noita, you’ll have to face burrowing worms, sticks of TNT and molten blood (just to name a few!) Each enemy takes a different strategy, and together they form deadly synergies. If you’re good at managing projectiles, Elewder doesn’t have any challenges for you. When I was overwhelmed, I was able to duck behind cover and avoid most damage. In Noita, cover will only protect you from being spotted — little will protect you from the from Noita‘s cast of weapons.
Sexual Content: published November 6th, 2021 (1/5★)
The sexual animations need to be completely overhauled. I’m unsure how many there are, but Elewder is clear case of quantity versus quality. The models are a little uncanny sometimes, but they are the least of this game’s problems. I can’t help but feel that Kinky Fridays used “magic” as a cop-out to skimp on animation. Despite the main protagonist and his foes constantly levitating, their movement never takes advantage of “zero G” sex. Sex-positions are not only more suitable for the ground, they act like they’re on the ground. It’s not uncommon for the main protagonist to lie completely still (while his partner does all of the floaty-stuff). It’s clear as day Kinky Fridays is simply trying to pass cutting corners as “features”. Then again, considering the stiff animation and rampant clipping, good animation may be outside of Kinky Fridays‘ pay grade. There are so many stretched body parts, the sex-scenes are borderline unwatchable. My god, the faces — I can’t believe Kinky Fridays released and sold a game with what I saw.
Sexual content is a little counterintuitive. The last enemy you defeat will stand still, indicating they will no longer attack and may be raped. This method of selecting actors insures you won’t be able to see the majority of sexual animations in the game — unless you purposely allow the deadliest foes to live the longest. Raping foes grants up to three useful items, but there is no incentive for participating in sex-scenes (or choosing one baddie over another). If you’re not holding down the “space” key, you’re strictly wasting time. If you’re defeated, you’ll be taken by one or more opponents and witness a sexual “capture” game-over screen. Lewd game-over screens aren’t a bad mechanic, but Elewder is a roguelike — the penalty for death is losing what may be hours of gameplay, providing players with a strong incentive not to die. Unless you repeatedly restart the game, most of the “captured” scenes will go unwatched.
I wish the sex-scenes were in some way interactive, useful and longer than three seconds. I find it difficult to get off in less than ten seconds. Maybe instead of a “skip” button, there should be a “finish” button! Interactivity doesn’t just have to be a cosmetic feature for fapping. While still offering players the option to skip, taking advantage of interactivity could be a way to incentivize longer playtime. As enemies grow deadlier, sex could be a way to recover from difficult battles via increased item drops or guaranteed healing. For example, Atelier Tia encourages players to manage sex mid-battle to recover their special attacks. Perhaps, successful intercourse in Elewder could offer a currency that may be used to purchase permanent upgrades or minions. There’s already a currency in the game that is carried over between runs; instead of serving as a rare alternative to gold pieces, it could be creatively tied to sexual content!
Story: published November 6th, 2021 (1/5★)
Trapped in the Succubus’ “Prison of Lust”, the Warlock must escape from her “horny minions” using his astral form. Only when she is defeated may he reclaim his body from her clutches! It’s unclear why the Warlock tangled with the Succubus in the first place. It would have been nice if there was some form of opening sequence to show the story instead of glossing over crucial plot points. There isn’t so much as a cut-scene or “flashback” of the events preceding the tutorial NPC’s half-assed exposition dump. You can tell Kinky Fridays‘ writing team really phoned-in on the story; items and spells have more background and world-building than the main plotline!
Sound: published November 6th, 2021 (2/5★)
There are two tracks in the game; one of them is for battles, and the other one is for everything else. The grew to hate the latter track as I was forced to re-listen to the first few seconds every other room. The music isn’t terrible, but I ended up muting it after a few hours. The sound effects aren’t satisfying, but they get the job done. Magic spells sound like magic, and the sex sounds alright. Unfortunately, the cheesy voice acting acting caught me off guard and broke my immersion during boss fights.
Visuals: published November 6th, 2021 (3/5★)
I enjoyed the flat, toon-like visuals. The scenery is beautiful (especially when water is involved), but graphical errors are commonplace. Oftentimes, I’d spot flickering or clipping textures wherever there are intersecting objects or whenever the camera is rotated. I would have liked to have seen adjustable graphical preferences; low-end PC would appreciate increased frames-per-second, and I’d appreciate fancier lighting and shadows. Although each room appears to be illuminated, detail-obscuring shadows render some sex-scenes unwatchable. There needs to be more surface-level lighting, such as glowing lava or carefully-placed torches. Considering rooms are not randomly generated (maps are randomly arranged, but not individual rooms), there’s no excuse.
The enemies are uninspired, but I enjoyed the randomized apparel. Every enemy looks and moves like a busty reskin, but at least they have a sense of fashion! I have no problem naked women as enemies; my problem is that they all look the same. Some enemies are defined by their skin color, but I would have rather seen unique apparel and different kinds of monster-girls. You’d think there’d be something lower-tier than succubus as enemies, such as goblins, thralls or tentacle traps! I would have also liked to see more visual variety between attacks — nearly every single attack uses the same sprite! Bosses offer the most interesting attacks in the game, but they are never seen anywhere else. I would have loved to see lesser forms of boss attacks in the hands of minions and players!
Verdict: published November 6th, 2021 (2/5★)
I can see why Critical Bliss didn’t bother to send me this game! They almost never send me games, but they assured me, “when the time comes” they would send “Early Access keys”. The only thing that kept me going was respect for the publisher and developers; if it were anyone else, I would have probably wiped my hands (and hard drive) of this tedious game. It’s a failed roguelike with half-assed, three-second sex-scenes. My biggest feel-bad moment was when I reached the final boss room; my playthrough was cut short because an ending wasn’t programed yet. I worked so hard to accumulate a wealth of extra hit points and useful items, only to be forced to “retire” and reset my progress. I understand that Elewder is a “roguelike”, and rebuilding your character is supposed to be part of the fun. But when every playthrough feels the same as the last, I’d rather stop playing than retrace my steps. If Kinky Fridays wants to maintain linear progression and samey gameplay, a proper save system needs to be implemented. Elewder has long way to go before it’s worth a purchase. I recommend revisiting this title late next year to check on development. If Kinky Fridays can’t get their act together by then, maybe they ought to stick to something they’re good at — puzzle games.