Evening Starter is a lewd turn-based RPG about a top-secret agent that must defend the world from demon-gods to repay her insurmountable debt.

Adult Content?
(F, FxM) sexual content.

Censorship?
No. Woot! Woot!

Hours of Gameplay?
Ten to twelve hours.

Patch Available?
Download from Kagura.


Foreword


I received a free copy of this game for review purposes — thanks Kagura Games! For the purposes of this review, I will only be discussing the patched game.



Gameplay: overview (3/5★)


Collect “treasures”, manage resources and navigate maze-like worlds as you gather funds to pay off your insurmountable debt! Combat is turn-based and somewhat methodic. From ammunition to “consumables”, you’re only allowed to carry a limited number of each item. It’s important to conserve your resources to prevent backtracking and wasting time. The secondary goal of the game is to raise two-billion yen (with interest). If you take spend too many days “resting”, you won’t be able to pay the debt collector! As you learn new skills and purchase better gear, you’ll be able to spend more time collecting loot (or pursue new areas). Navigation is a challenge; your vision is restricted to a first-person view, with a dinky mini-map to show your (explored) surroundings. There’s no way to expand your map, so you’ll have to work on your memorization if you want to minimize unnecessary encounters. Enemies always spawn in the same place — if you learn where they are, you may conserve resources and grind for specific rewards. It’s necessary to level-up to complete the story, but there are other ways earn money. By selling your body, you won’t have to worry about a thing!




Sexual Content: overview (4/5★)


There are thirty-three unlockable sex-scenes. Each sex-scene utilizes a single CG, with variations for undress, progression and climax. Throughout the game, you’ll have the option to repay your debt by offering sexual favors. You’ll see assorted, story-based sex-scenes by revisiting select areas. Sexual content is creatively explained by the “Ith Videos”. They showcase candid content from the past, present and (possible) future. When you’re defeated in combat you’ll witness the protagonists’ sexual fate — as her death is uploaded to the “Ith Tube”, she’ll wake (understanding the events that transpired to be some terrible nightmare). The artwork is high-quality, but the premade backgrounds result in clashing perspectives. You may choose to enter consensual scenes “reluctantly” or “go with the mood”. The remainder of adult content is a blend of extortion and gangrape. There’s a strong emphasis on humiliation and forced creampies. Rape is written into the story as way to facilitate the transport of interdimensional horrors!




Story: overview (4/5★)


Nogosi Ren is a top-secret government agent that specializes in “Monster related business”. More specifically, she defends humanity from the occult. Through “otherworldification”, our world is merged with another, allowing extra-dimensional beings to manifest and interact with mankind (never to their benefit). During a routine investigation, Ren is confronted by a group of rampaging “Shogoths”. She doesn’t have the fire power to smite them, and leaving them be would result in tremendous civilian casualties. She lures them to nearby weapon cache, ultimately turning “the entire warehouse district to ash”. The damage done is roughly six-billion yen (but after pulling quite a few strings, two-billion). Her heart was in the right place, but Ren is wholly responsible for the damage she caused. Her partner, Seijirou offers her “exceedingly dangerous” (but most importantly, “lucrative”) jobs dealing with otherwordification. As of recent, “magic texts” associated with dark rituals have been digitized, distributed and translated (albeit poorly). There are no shortage of “armed and extremely dangerous religious cults” who work towards the resurrection of the “Outer Gods” — their only desire is to “bring this world into ruin”. As Ren and Seijirou cull the misguided, her debt becomes a footnote. As they fight a secret war to prevent the Outer Gods’ resurrection, they become humanity’s last stand for their humanity.




Sound: overview (3/5★)


The sound effects are pretty generic. I recognized a lot of content from other RPGMaker titles. It sounds good, it’s just not original. The music is what I’d expect from a higher-budget RPG (although the boss music seemed to be a little out-of-place with crazy guitar riffs).



Visuals: overview (4/5★)


The titlescreen looks alright. It’s nicely arranged, but the artwork is clearly cropped and reused — Ren looks like a sticker. The application is fullscreened by default. However, you may opt to boot the game windowed via the “Game Properties” menu (which is summoned with the “F1” key). Unfortunately, you won’t be able to adjust the (meager) size of the application. In-game, you may adjust audio and display preferences from “Config” (listed under “System”). Interestingly, Evening Starter utilizes a first-person view (which is uncommon for RPGMaker games). Unfortunately, it’s nearly useless. It’s necessary to see collectables while exploring, but otherwise it’s almost strictly worse than the on-screen minimap. It’s different, but I would have preferred a generic top-down view. It only serves to confuse player to inflate playtime. The graphics are genuinely off-putting, but they lack variety. Oftentimes, the main characters would rant and rave about the horrors they see — but all you will see are empty rooms and convoluted corridors.




Verdict: bad look, but cool story bro (3.5/5★)


I have mixed feelings about this game, but I think it’s worth full price. The gameplay provides a light challenge at “normal” difficulty, but I suspect “hard” mode would be an unfun grind. Though it’s not necessary to raise two-billion yen to beat the game, to unlock the “good ending” you better be ready to grind. Restocking gear isn’t fun; either it forces you to backtrack again-and-again, or it’s a minor nuisance. Navigation sucks. The first-person view is novel for an RPG-Maker game, but it soils gameplay. As I spent my playthrough glued to the mini-map, I yearned for a traditional top-down view. The sexual-content is kind of hot, but it leaves something to be desired. Sex-scenes lack interactivity, and they are too short to get attached to. During a ten-hour session, I saw five sex-scenes (but I did avoid paying my debt with Ren’s body). By far, one of Evening Starter‘s biggest strengths is the story. Character development sucks, but the lore is genuinely interesting. I was fascinated by the protagonists’ commentary! Evening Starter is one of the darkest RPGs I’ve played from Kagura Games. If you don’t enjoy descriptions of extreme gore and mental trauma, you should probably not play this game. I wish I could have seen extreme gore and mental trauma, but alas — the visual budget was spent on rape scenes.