Chapter One: Introduction
I took me about five hours to reach the “credits” screen, but later I learned I only unlocked the “bad ending”. . . in a sense. You see, to unlock each “chapter” you have to collect hidden “golden cards” throughout the game.
I didn’t know that and thusly, felt robbed of my time and money.
I also later learned Anthophobia features cheat codes for skipping levels, but at that point the damage was done; I only somewhat enjoyed this game, and I decided I’d rather just be done “done” with it than pursue completion.
Chapter Two: Gameplay (3/5★)
Section One: Overview
Anthophobia is more than a shooter; each level has one or more gimmicks to keep gameplay interesting (or frustrating). Whether it be platforming, stealth, or juggling colored keys there’s more to survival than counting bullets. Sumire’s mission for “NEW SHELTER” is an arduous one — but with stakes along the lines of being raped until she (presumably) dies, failure isn’t exactly an option.
Well, I guess that depends on you consider “stakes” huh?
Section Two: Combat
The key to success is shooting with moderation. Sumire can only hold up to three magazines for her weapon — and reloading will not preserve unused bullets. But when reloading takes as long as taking a shit, you also have to decide whether or not it’s worth pinching bullets in the heat of battle.
Sumire has four attacks; a kick, a pipe, a pistol, and Molotovs. But melee isn’t just for saving bullets, it’s an essential piece of her tool box! For example, her pipe offers a wider reaching attack than her gun, allowing her to reach flying enemies deal or take out erratic foes.
But melee consumes “SP”, a constantly replenishing resource analogous to “fatigue” in other games. When Sumire runs out of SP, she can no longer run or deal damage until taking a short break. In fact, sometimes it’s best to expend ammunition when juggling SP would endanger Sumire.
In the following clip, I showcase a variety of attacks against a room full of enemies. After flailing around with no SP, I allow Sumire to catch her breath before the video ends.
Section Three: Exploration
Exploration (as in, “no stone left unturned”) is mandatory for players interested in the full game. New chapters are unlocked by collecting hidden “Gold Cards” throughout the explorable world. You won’t find them if you don’t look for them — nor will you find the “secret exits” they correspond to. Unless you’re okay missing out on up to five of eight “chapters”, it’s best to consult an online guide to minimize backtracking.
Well, unless you like backtracking. Then you might get a kick collecting “civilian cards” too.
Regardless of your inner completionist, exploration is key to locating supplies, keys and fuel canisters. Anthophobia features a number of maze-like levels with color-coded, locked doors. Some doors are powered, requiring a juiced up generator before opening (hence fuel canisters).
In the following image, I sneak past a big baddie to collect a key (among other supplies).
Section Three: Balance
I played this game on “NUKIGE” (or “Normal”) difficulty. With some ammo conservation, it’s possible to shoot your way through most engagements. But if ammunition were any more scarce, I would have needed to carefully “bait” enemies one by one whenever sneaking wasn’t an option.
If that sounds like fun to you, “SURVIVE” (or “Hard”) difficulty is for you!
Given the distance between checkpoints, I find it hard to recommend anything higher than Nukige. In fact, I’d recommend setting the difficulty to the lowest setting for the sake of enjoying rape animations. Although sex deals little damage to Sumire, it’ll quickly add up if you delay escape!
In the following image, I take advantage of an environmental hazard to dispatch enemies.
Section Four: Controls
The controls are barely functional. The controls are responsive (slow, but technically responsive) but I still hate them. The biggest issue I had was the key bindings; I struggled to perform basic combat because I couldn’t figure out the correct sequence of keys in time to avoid damage. All too often, I cycled and reloaded weapons at the worst times because of the fiddly hardcoded controls.
That’s right, there’s no way to rebind your keys — and no mouse support either!
I also hate the clunky movement. The biggest issue I had was crouching. Crouching is toggled off and on with methodical button presses; there’s no quickly getting up, down or jumping around in Anthophobia. I had a hard time coping with more than a few enemies due to the non-fluidity of Sumire’s movement.
In the following image, Sumire lies on the floor to kick approaching foes.
Chapter Three: Sexual Content (4/5★)
Section One: Content
Rape, rape, and more rape — Sumire truly is “the unluckiest woman in this fucking world.” Everyone (or more accurately, everything) and their mom wants to have their way with her! Whether it be zombies, tentacles or overgrown weeds, her empty womb is the hottest thing since MANKIND HAS BEEN DESTROYED.
Section Two: Implementation
As Sumire takes damage, her clothes are torn. When she’s naked, enemies will grapple and rape her, dealing damage over time until she escapes. Although the damage dealt is relatively minor, there’s little time to watch; new clothes and health pickups are limited in supply (and there’s no shortage of enemies!)
In the following clip, Sumire is grappled and raped by multiple foes.
Section Three: Interactivity
The sexual content does not offer any interactivity beyond ending animations early by breaking free.
Previously encountered images and animations can be replayed via the “GALLERY”. Animations may be enlarged and sped up, but interactivity is otherwise barren.
Section Four: Quality
If it wasn’t for my scorching hot laptop, I would have been hard pressed not to get hard while playing Anthophia! The animations are repetitive, but for what you get they’re a lot of fun to watch. The way she moves and reacts is quite a show — it’s such a shame sexual content is so heavily penalized in-game.
Seriously, why bother adding sexual animations if they hurt the player?
Chapter Four: Story (2/5★)
Section One: Overview
Searching for “NEW SHELTER”, Sumire leaves her home during the midst of an apocalypse. A plague has washed over mankind, converting everyone into horny plant-zombies.
“SPRING IS COMING”, and as the sun rises so too the onslaught.
Section Two: Plot
Soon after leaving her home, Sumire learns of a safe place; shelter 47, the last hope for humanity.
Section Three: Characters
As far as I know, Sumire is the only noteworthy character in the game. Unfortunately, all that I could ascertain about her character is that she wants safety.
Section Three: Writing
When you have soldiers referring to female zombies as “boobies”, it’s clear English wasn’t their first language. Barring audio logs throughout the game, the story is delivered via succinct slideshows that don’t divulge much information.
Chapter Five: Sound (2/5★)
Section One: Soundtrack
Sometimes the music is atmospheric, but for most part it’s annoying. Something about the audio feels raw, digging into my ears and making me wish I could adjust my system equalizer; unfortunately, for the sake of this review I’m forced to endure the “balanced” version of Anthophobia‘s soundtrack.
Sometimes, there’s no music at all. Obviously meant to be “foreboding”, it instead prompted me to “alt-tab” out of the application to insure my equipment was functioning correctly. I always felt real immersed afterwards.
In the following video, I showcase one of Anthophobia‘s cooler soundtracks.
Section Two: Sound Effects
Unwanted background noise is rampant among sound bites. It’s as if they were recorded in somebody’s bedroom! It’s obvious whenever sound files start and stop thanks to an uncharacteristic “white noise”.
White noise aside, the audio is. . . eh? Though I don’t consider the sound effects in this game to be high quality, they do bear a sort of unsettling air — which is ideal for the setting. Sound effects are so few and far between, when they occur they really grab your attention in the absence of ambience and music.
Section Two: Voice Acting
The voice acting is just as poor as the sound effects. It’s full of background noise, it’s repetitive and otherwise unremarkable. The zombies in this game sound like they didn’t make the tryouts for Minecraft.
However, there is one exception. Zombie girls are adorable, the way they sort of meow and moan as they cling onto Sumire for the duration of their. . . “service”. Yeah, that’s what I’ll call it.
The following clip is a nice example of Anthobia‘s voice acting.
Chapter Six: Visuals (3/5★)
Section One: User-interface
The pause-menu may not be glamorous, but it’s a quick escape from explicit content when you need it. If you need to quickly cover the screen, it offers an effective out for those of you playing sex-games with roommates.
Maybe don’t play Anthophobia with roommates, but everyone’s situation is different right?
The user-interface somewhat clutters the screen, but it’s thankfully situated where little action takes place. Overall, while it may not be the prettiest it shows you everything you need to know — there isn’t much to complain about. Sumire’s face shown in the upper right is a fun touch, but she feels under-utilized. Ninety-nine percent of the time she stares off, offering no lewd or gameplay value.
Below is an image showcasing inventory. As you can see, Sumire’s read-out is far away from the action.
Section Two: Graphics
The game is really, really dark! Rather than being part of the “atmosphere”, I found staring at my reflection to be more of an inconvenience. Basic platforming and navigation is a struggle since details are obscured by poor lighting. Although to be fair, Sumire can toss “glow sticks” to illuminate rooms.
It’s just too bad they’re no more effective than anything sold as “glow in the dark”.
The sprite work is hit or miss. In the previous image, the background is interesting and the darkness adds a creepy vibe without inhibiting gameplay. But It feels like stretches of the game were rushed. Characterized by poor shading and detail, I can’t help but feel the pitch black screen was used to skimp on drawing.
The following image is an example of what I’d consider a “miss”. Obviously, everything can’t be a “home run” but too much of the game looks like this — long, empty, nonsensical rooms with little variety.
Chapter Seven: Verdict (3/5★)
Anthophobia is a frustrating experience. The controls are sticky and “checkpoints” are few and far between. The sexual animations are nice but you’re not allowed to view them — sex hurts Sumire, discouraging players from the main selling point of the game. Unless you fancy yourself a “completionist”, you’re going to need a guide to prevent losing a lot of gameplay. Hidden “Gold Cards” restrict access to most of the game. . .
But you wouldn’t know that unless you read a guide!
If you’re willing to skip the sex and continuously check a guide, Anthophobia is honestly an alright play. Barring a few bad apples throughout the game, it’s an enjoyable side-scroller with a difficulty that’s “just right”. It’s such a shame this title is held back by just a few asinine decisions.