Chapter One: Introduction
Heart of Dungeon is a lewd visual novel game available on Steam. It took me about thirty minutes to complete the game with save-scumming.
I received a free copy of this game for review purposes — thanks Hitori Games!
Chapter Two: Gameplay (1/5★)
Section One: Overview
As an “adventurer”, you must correctly guess when it’s time to “attack” and when it’s time to “run”, among other multiple choice prompts.
If you choose wrong, you’ll have to guess again starting from your last save point.
Section Two: Balance
Some events in Heart of Dungeon require ownership of select “items”. For example, you might need a “torch” to light an otherwise dark area. But there’s no system to show what items you have!
This oversight of basic quality of life is unacceptable for a paid software.
Chapter Three: Sexual Content (2/5★)
Section One: Content
There are seventeen unlockable sex-scenes covering BDSM, bestiality, drowning, hypnosis, tentacles and gang rape. What an exciting mix of kinks!
Section Two: Implementation
Given two or more choices, the wrong choice typically results in a sex-scene as a “game over”.
Section Three: Interactivity
Sex scenes are linear sequences with skippable dialogue.
Section Four: Quality
I have to give props for creatively merging 3D models with hand-drawn effects — but even if the art was stronger, the writing ruins the sex-scenes. Clearly, Heart of Dungeon was made to arouse players — so why are the sex-scenes so short and unconvincingly written?
It’s not like the game has anything else to offer.
Chapter Four: Story (1/5★)
Section One: Plot
Imagine it’s game night. You and buds are gathered ’round the table, and your dungeon master has a new adventure planned out for you!
He says “You are an adventurer.”
Well no shit Sherlock, what’s next?
“You are on a journey to King’s Landing and are now escorting a merchant’s wagon. Your companion, a competitor, has told you of a dungeon in the area.”
“You may head there, or you may not. The choice is yours.”
I don’t imagine your employer would be happy if you abandoned the wagon, so I’d abstain.
You reply, “Don’t go to the dungeon”.
. . . a-and after explaining how your character is raped (typical D&D session am I right), he says “You adventure ends here.”
And that’s how I would describe the “story” of Heart of Dungeon; a frustrating, railroaded game session with a piss-poor DM.
Section One: Characters
I don’t like how the main protagonist is referred to as “you” when they are in fact, an independent character with their own goals and morals. The player character (e.g. “you”) “have come to [the] dungeon to slay the dragon for the sake of your ailing lover.”
Bizarrely, this detail isn’t revealed until beating the game.
Chapter Five: Sound (4/5★)
Section One: Soundtrack
I enjoyed the wide variety of fantasy music. Heart of Dungeon could have gotten away with a less robust soundtrack, but I appreciate the variety given how often “I” was death-raped.
Section Two: Sound Effects
The user-interface is annoyingly loud to navigate.
But I enjoyed the fun sound effects that are played whenever “you” attack creatures. I think the game would benefit from some sort of ambience, such as dripping water of goblin chattering.
Section Three: Voice Acting
The voice acting is comprised of assorted, looping hentai-eske sound effects. They felt a little out of place but I’m glad sex-scenes aren’t completely silent.
Chapter Six: Visuals (3/5★)
Section One: User-interface
The user-interface looks horrendous! To be clear, the user-interface is fully functional, no complaints there — but it looks grossly outdated with flat colors, gradients and generic font.
Section Two: Graphics
I don’t like the mix of 2D and 3D graphics with aggressively blurred backgrounds.
Monsters are rendered by what appears to be hand drawn images, while the main protagonist is clearly a 3D model. If the entire game was hand drawn, it would have no doubt had a distinctive visual charm to set it apart from others.
The player character only assumes two different poses — considering 3D models don’t have to be redrawn by hand, I’m disappointed by her unvaried appearance between sex-scenes.
Chapter Seven: Verdict (2/5★)
This game offers little actual gameplay, resting all entertainment on the quality of writing and sex-scenes. That’s okay, because that’s what visual novels excel at!
But Heart of Dungeon is not a good visual novel.
This game is poorly written with frustrating, overtly punishing choice-based gameplay with underwhelming sex-scenes. This is an adventure that isn’t worth starting.
Chapter Eight: Recommendations
Add an inventory screen or show owned items. The player portrait seems like a great way to show items, such as the “torch” in her hands or the “slime kings crown” on her head.
Increase the length of sex-scenes with erotica and additional images.
Name the player character.
Establish the player character’s motivations before the game ends.
Add “ambience” tracks.