Chapter One: Introduction
Niplheim’s Hunter – Branded Azel is a lewd action-RPG available on Steam. To experience the full game (with adult content), the Steam version must be patched. The Niplheim’s Hunter – Branded Azel Patch can be found on Kagura Games’ website under “Patches”.
I will only be discussing the patched version of the game.
It took me about five hours to complete the game. I estimate completionists may need an extra hour or two to unlock all sexual content and outfits.
Chapter Two: Gameplay (3/5★)
Section One: Overview
Azel is on a quest to remove her “Lust Brand”. However, information on the whereabouts of the “demon beast” who branded her is scant. Hoping to find answers in the village of Niplheim, she and a blacksmith take to the Hunter’s Guild for clues. Before the Guild is willing to help, Azel and the blacksmith must earn their trust by defeating increasingly powerful demons.
Section Two: Combat
Combat is more streamlined than most RPGs I’ve played. Essentially, Azel can “attack”, “escape”, or use one of up to three equipped “skills”. Skills are analogous to “spells” in other RPGs, which one exception — they use “arousal” instead of “magic”, and when Azel is too aroused the battle is lost.
When attacking, it’s possible to gain additional attacks with carefully timed button presses. There is no guide to tell you when to “combo” — you have to learn the timing on your own. I thoroughly enjoyed this mechanic because it gave me something to work towards even when Azel was one-shotting foes. Combos make combat more engaging than pressing “attack” on repeat.
Something else I liked about combat is how Azel can’t use items in battle. That means no spamming “Herbs” between attacks!
If Azel needs to recover from damage, she has to use “First Aid”. As a skill, using First Aid brings her a step closer to fucking instead of fighting! Managing arousal is a more interesting system than alternating between using “potions” and attacking.
Section Three: Exploration
Exploration is necessary for completing “gathering quests” and crafting new outfits. However, the explorable world is quite compact; once you learn the layout, it only takes a minute or two to collect all respawning “harvesting points”. During “hunts”, you might to poke around to find whatever thing Azel is supposed to kill, but like “gathering” it only takes a minute.
There’s a weather system and a day and night cycle which supposedly effects exploration in some way shape or form — if it does, I don’t remember anything from my playthrough that was impacted by weather.
Section Four: Balance
It doesn’t take long for combat to be trivialized. Grinding for level-ups is quick as-is, but when Azel is able to one-shot enemies it’s a cakewalk. When Azel defeated in battle, she respawns fully revitalized in the nearest “Base Camp”. For this reason, I find it curious why enemies aren’t significantly stronger to promote usage of “skills” (which are directly tied to sexual content). Only during “Hunts” does death have a penalty; if Azel is defeated three times, only then is her quest considered a failure.
Outfits are a big part of progression. New outfits require “materials” which can only be collected by boss-type enemies. Since materials are gathered at random, I found myself grinding out their respective “hunts” well after they stopped being fun. The number of times I had to replay quests was probably a contributor to my aforementioned issue; by the time I was able to craft the next “outfit”, Azel was grossly over-leveled for whatever lied ahead.
Chapter Three: Sexual Content (5/5★)
Section One: Content
There are thirty unlockable “scenes” and thirty-seven “Battle-H Playbacks” for when Azel has sex during a “quest”. All sexual content is comprised of one or more images with dialogue and quite a bit of variations.
Some content is rape, but Azel’s lust brand typically makes all parties willing. Unfortunately, when Azel has sex with monsters they typically aren’t shown. Other than unconventional monster-sex, for the most part the sexual content is vanilla.
Section Two: Implementation
When Azel’s arousal (or “EP”) reaches “100”, by the power of her lust brand she’ll be forced to fuck anything in front of her — including animals. EP is reduced by sleeping or consuming uncommon “items”, but a more efficient way to “let off steam” to ask for help. As the story progresses, members of the Guild will happily take some arousal out of her system!
On that topic, sex-scenes are crucial for the “plot”. Numerous sex-scenes will be played simply by progressing the story. Additionally, optional sex-scenes are available depending on the time of day and what outfit Azel is wearing.
Section Three: Interactivity
Sex-scenes are linear with skippable dialogue and CGs.
Section Four: Quality
The sex-scenes are incredible! The artwork, dialogue and voice acting are a crazy erotic. I couldn’t help but put myself in Azel’s shoes — the thought of getting off with just a touch is indeed an interesting fantasy. It’s a lot of fun watching words slur and eyes roll back as the female cast is pushed beyond their limits in a world of ecstasy.
Chapter Four: Story (3/5★)
Section One: Plot
I don’t think I could describe the plot better than the blacksmith, so I’ll let him explain what he and his companion, Azel are doing in a “remote village that’s said to harbor disasters.”
“The Lust Brand increases one’s physical strength and at times allows one to use abnormal powers.”
“But on the other hand–“
“The more she uses her powers, the higher the chance that she will lose control.”
“In the worst case, it’s possible she could lose control and go in heat during a battle.”
“Find the demon beast that put the brand on her and kill it.”
“That’s why she came to a far away place like this” — Niplheim, “The frontline of the battle between humans and demon beasts.”
“The Harbor of Disasters, Niplheim…”
Niplheim is home to the Hunter’s Guild, “said to have the most information on them in the continent” regarding demon beasts. But the Guild’s master (aptly known as “Master”) has “judged that [they] don’t deserve to know about it.” To earn his trust, she must fulfill quests to prove her combat readiness for the information she is looking for.
Section One: Characters
I can’t get over Azel — she’s so cute. I love the way she goes from cute and cuddly to literally bearing her teeth as if she’s going to nip your fingers! To be honest, none of the cast is particularly fleshed out — between the gameplay and sex-scenes, there isn’t much room for character development.
Something I enjoyed about this game was all of the useless banter. As the story progresses, side characters will discuss Azel’s achievements. It’s a small detail, but that’s the sort of thing that sucks you into a universe.
Chapter Five: Sound (5/5★)
Section One: Soundtrack
Exploration is backed by thematically appropriate tracks which effectively match the mood.
The combat music slaps, although I wish there was a few more tunes for battle. Something I look forward to when I’m playing any RPG is the boss music, especially the final boss music. Niplheim’s Hunter – Branded Azel has one battle track, that’s it.
Section Two: Sound Effects
Combat, sex and exploration have great sound effects to keep your ears tuned in.
Section Two: Voice Acting
The voice acting is really something — it’s crazy erotic, and probably some the best I’ve heard. Whoever was in charge of screaming, panting and moaning for the game did a phenomenal job. The over-the-top acting fits perfectly with the artwork and dialogue shown in sex-scenes.
Outside of sexual content, there is light voice acting throughout the game. It’s a nice touch, but Azel can get a little annoying if you spend a lot of time in the “pause” menu.
Chapter Six: Visuals (4/5★)
Section One: User-interface
The user-interface looks awesome, but it’s a little cumbersome.
For example, to navigate the pause screen each option must be individually “rotated” on a wheel. Again, it looks awesome but using it — not so much. I could never memorize how many times I needed to press “up” or “down” to get to where I wanted to be.
If the pause-menu defaulted to “Items”, that would have saved me a lot of trouble.
Another issue I have with the user-interface is the the combat menu; the “Attack” button alone covers up a quarter of the screen. But other than that, the combat interface is perfectly fine.
Section Two: Graphics
The explorable world is nicely put together using what appear be largely stock assets. Stock or not, the world is quite beautiful — it shows there is nothing wrong about using premade graphics as long as they are used effectively.
I am thankful that monsters seem to be original creations, because I’m frankly sick of the stock baddies that make their way into most of Kagura Games’ publications.
Chapter Seven: Verdict (4/5★)
Niplheim’s Hunter – Branded Azel is an ideal turn-based RPG for casual gamers interested in healthy balance of quests and cunt! With stream-lined combat, exploration, and accessible sexual content this game is quick adventure ideal for sating your lust.
My main complaint about this game is how ridiculously easy it is — but as long as you’re not interested in any sort of challenging gameplay, Niplheim’s Hunter – Branded Azel is well worth the money as an experience alone.