Chapter One: Introduction
I received a free copy of this game for review purposes — thanks Hanabi Games!
To experience the complete game, an adult patch must be installed. The patch was a little finnicky — installation isn’t as smooth as Kagura Games’ patches. After fucking up the first installation, my advice is to wait — wait for the black console box to close on its own.
Chapter Two: Gameplay (3/5★)
Section One: Overview
Following a troubled upbringing, Nora must walk a path of evil or kindness. Light and Shadow – Doppelganger is a pair of stories, two playthroughs culminating as a “true ending”. Whether she chooses the sword or the dagger, her mission remains the same: to awake a primal elemental force by working her way up a corporate ladder to awaken a primordial, elemental force and overthrow the really evil King Kaos.
Section Two: Combat
Light and Shadow – Doppelganger‘s combat is a typical turn-based experience. To succeed in battle, Nora must balance a usage of “TP” (or “technique points”), “MP” (or “magic points”) and consumable items. Accumulated by dealing and receiving damage, TP is expended to unleash devastating “ultimate skills”. Ultimate skills provide Nora with a variety of utilities, such as additional attacks and status effects.
“Ultimate” is a little much for something that often amounts to just “one extra attack”.
Magic only recharges when Nora rests or consumes potions. The biggest difference between magic and ultimate skills is how damage is determined. Basic attacks and ultimate skills deal damage based on Nora’s base “attack” stat (“ATK”) and magic-based skills rely on “magic attack” (or “MAT”).
In the following image, I choose the “Ultimate Skill” that best suits multiple adversaries.
Maybe it’s different for Nora’s “kind” playthrough, but the game doesn’t encourage “mage” characters.
There are no “staffs” or “wands” to boost MAT the same way swords and daggers boost ATK. Most RPGs I’ve played with magic systems encourage players to alternate between different “elements” to take advantage of enemy weaknesses. This RPG only offers players two elements, one at time — light and dark.
Below, I select a “curse” spell to protect Nora from a pair of deadly slimes.
Nora’s “assassin” path includes stealth missions. During these quests, her enemies have clearly defined “line of sight” and highly predictable movement. However, Nora’s objective will always be an mandatory boss fight. Ironically, getting caught during these missions is the safest way to level up beforehand since no more than one enemy is spawned per encounter.
Nora always fights alone; engaging more than one enemy at time not only wastes time, it’s dangerous.
While I’m glad I had the option to fight my way to my targets, at the same time I felt like I had no choice. During the prologue, Nora has to get creative to bag her first kill. Without a way to leverage brain over brawn, Nora’s “assassin” questline is no different than playing as a hack and slash paladin.
In the following image, Nora narrowly dodges detection from a guard during her first stealth mission.
Section Two: Exploration
Backtracking isn’t too problematic thanks to “Bonfires”. Nora can teleport between lit Bonfires, expediting the completion of quests while grinding for experience or occupation points. Though this feature is a welcome “quality of life” it highlights how uneventful the explorable world is.
Once Nora has opened all two chests in an area, there’s no reason to leave the beaten path. . . unless you run of monsters to fight. Ruins Seeker from Nupuryu no sato is an example of backtracking done right; revisiting “floors” allows players to battle randomized foes and collect randomized loot.
The least Geocentrism Theory could have done was add respawning chests to the game.
Section Three: Balance
Despite performing minimal grinding, Light and Shadow – Doppelganger was a cake walk. When Nora’s life was in danger, consuming a potion turned the tide of battle to my favor. Players interested in a challenge will surely be disappointed by the weak combat, but not every RPG needs to be punishing.
If anything, it’s a nice change of pace from Kagura Games‘ grindy bullshittery.
However, I can’t say the same about boss fights. Instead of whacking away for meager damage, I found myself “cheesing” them with poison damage. Poison damage deals percentile-based damage, allowing Nora to insure enemies die in less than twenty turns. It felt like cheating but the bosses blow.
Well, Nora is the one that blows but. . . you get what I mean!
Section Four: Controls
The application controls as expected. RPGMaker’s default scheme utilizes the arrow keys for navigation. I prefer “WASD” controls, but I can deal with arrow keys for turn-based games.
Unfortunately, key bindings cannot be reconfigured.
Light and Shadow – Doppelganger also supports mouse control, although it’s clear the game wasn’t designed with a mouse in mind. It’s nice having the option to control menus via a cursor, but oftentimes a keyboard is required to exit them. Without full mouse support, the accessibility of the game is diminished. Making matters worse, some gameplay is mouse-only (when it really doesn’t need to be), further diminishing accessibility.
Below is a puzzle encountered during Nora’s “assassin” path; the pin pad is mouse only.
Chapter Three: Sexual Content (4/5★)
Section One: Content
The “flavor” of sexual content differs by story. If Nora becomes an assassin, players should expect to see depraved lolicon. Players that opt for the “paladin” story can expect to see more “vanilla”, MILF content. In any case, birthing, BDSM, beastiality, rape, pissing, prostitution, tentacles and slavery can found in both stories.
Yeah, Light and Shadow – Doppelganger covers a lot of bases.
During the prologue, Nora is no older than eight. After she becomes a member of the Assassins’ Guild, her supervisor assumes her training “for the next few years.” It’s unclear how old Nora is by CHAPTER TWO, but dialogue clues suggest only a few years have passed since her eighth birthday.
When Nora is called a “good and obedient child”, it doesn’t take a genius to put two and two together.
Section Two: Implementation
Sex scenes primarily serve as “game over” scenarios. Interestingly, no content exists for the events that transpire during the “true ending”. Either Geocentrism Theory conveniently ran out of budget for the climax of the game, or they bought a premade gallery. I find it hard to believe not having a sexual “game over” (or at least nudity) for the true ending was a choice.
Throughout the game, Nora can find interactions and odd jobs to sell her body. In some parts of town, “Male strangers” will lunge at her and prompt a minigame. Failing that minigame will play a brief molestation scene based on what she’s wearing.
In the following image, I show the riveting minigame that’s avoiding molestation.
As the story progresses, Nora’s outfit is upgraded to reflect her rank in her respective organization.
When Nora loses hit points (or “HP”), her outfit is torn revealing what’s underneath. Though handy for how shall I say. . . “Mister Handy”, it’s useful as an indicator for when it’s time to heal. Interestingly, she appears to be increasingly aroused as her clothes are torn — in most RPGs I’ve played with clothes tearing, the protagonist doesn’t take pleasure in losing health.
Once again, I’m inclined to believe Light and Shadow – Doppelganger uses premade content.
Nora’s sexual experiences contribute to her “Lewdness Levels”, a record of her encounters and measurement of her overall receptiveness. I’m unsure how Lewdness Levels affect gameplay, but I’m under the impression it fulfils “certain conditions” required to unlock specific sexual content. Sexual experiences also contribute “Trophies”, allowing Nora to garner a variety of bonus effects as she explores her sexuality.
Below, I show the “Lewdness Menu”.
Section Three: Interactivity
Sex-scenes are linear with skippable dialogue.
Recently encountered sex scenes can be replayed via Nora’s “Diary”. After completing the game, previously encountered sex scenes can be replayed from the “Memory Room”. After unlocking the “true ending”, players may unlock all available sex-scenes with a few button presses.
Below, I use Nora’s diary to “Remember” her last job.
Section Four: Quality
It’s hard not to be aroused by the sexual content in this game. It’s difficult to unlock fresh content without intentionally throwing fights, but if you’re unwilling to wait until reaching the “true ending” to unlock the full gallery it’s worth the trouble.
It’s a shame how short the sex-scenes are in this game.
The writing feels like minimum effort. It’s not that the English translation is bad, but Light and Shadow – Doppelganger would benefit from longer sex-scenes with more convincing character dialogue. I find it hard to believe Nora is. . . okay handing her cunny over to anyone who asks.
Below, little Nora is taken by force after failing her mission. Oops!
Chapter Four: Story (2/5★)
Section One: Overview
With no-one left to love her, Nora must make a difficult decision; to follow a path of evil or kindness to overthrow a tyrannical king and avenge her family.
Section Two: Plot
After losing her family, eight year old Nora is left with a difficult decision; she must either decide to follow in her parents’ footsteps and join the Assassins’ Guild “to overturn this country from the inside”; or follow her brother’s wishes and join the Paladin Guild.
Personally, I chose to take up a dagger and “turn [the] country over!”
Nora turns herself into the nearest Assassins’ Guild. After proving her relation to former guild members, she is given a dagger to complete her first quest. Her target is a man among “delinquents” — a human trafficker. Failure won’t just be expulsion from the guild, it’ll be a lifetime of hard “training” from her target.
Fast forward “the next few years.”
Hardly grown up, “little Nora” is already a full fledged assassin. During a quest, she met a women with shared “determination to overthrow [the] Empire”. Chapter Two – The Engroaghment of Darkness kicks off with a scheme; Nora and friend, Marie plot “To revive and control the Dark Dragon, use its invincible powers to destroy the Capital and overthrow King Kaos’ tyrannical rule”.
Awesome, Geocentrism Theory wrote every fantasy RPG ever!
In “Marie’s previous quests” she found “Scriptures” detailing “the process in which the Dark Dragon had been sealed, and also the way to break the Seal.” After interrogating some “poor historian”, she successfully deciphered the approximate location of one of three “Magic Circles”. For the sake of game brevity, “the other two Magic Circles are on its opposing locations”.
Once the first one is found, the location of the other two will be revealed (how convenient!)
The first Magic Circle is located “at the South-East feet of the Lodz Mountain”. . . but there’s one problem; “Assassins [don’t] have a long enough holiday to reach the Lodz Mountain” (in other words, time off). The only time they are given ample time off is following a promotion. Marie is due for a “promotion quest anytime”, but Nora has some work to do.
Fast forward a series of generic quests with no plot relevance until Nora’s first promotion.
Nora is given a month off — just enough time to accompany Marie to the first Magic Circle! To insure she is “back on time to report”, Marie guides her through a “secret passage that can go directly through the Lodz Mountain”. Moments after reaching the other side, they find their “target location” in plain sight — Mirror Lake. Marie fiddles with some sort of “device” which takes them into a. . . magic library?
I have no idea what happened, but whatever, fine — Nora is a library now.
Nora pursues a variety of texts regarding her appearance. Notably, one book explains “if someone is born with two opposing elements of Magic and the proportion is balanced, then one will definitely gain unimaginable power.” During the prologue, Nora has hair and eyes of differing colors; after choosing between an “assassin” or a “paladin”, they change color, suggesting a correlation with good and evil “proportion”.
Gee Geocentrism Theory, was that really necessary to tell players?
After sorting out a few puzzles, Nora finds the Magic Circle deep inside the library — but she isn’t alone! Before removing the Seal, she fights a “Mysterious White Silhouette”. After removing the Seal, she meets Marie outside the library. She “located the remaining two Magic Circles!” One can found “in the ruins of an Ancient Tower”, and the other “in the corner of the Sewers” of Koran City, Nora’s home.
The city, not the sewers — Nora doesn’t live in the sewers.
Unfortunately, time’s up; Marie and Nora have to return home and work towards another promotion. While traveling through her “secret passage”, tragedy strikes — I didn’t see that coming! An earthquake shakes the passage, crushing Marie beneath huge rocks. Nora narrowly escapes “Death’s raised scythe”. It’s a good thing Marie told Nora everything she needs to know before dying!
The writers narrowly escaped writing more story!
Cue “Chapter Three ” and another round of meaningless quests to collect “promotion points”.
Nora earns another “one-month holiday”. With it, she sets off for the “Ancient Tower Ruins”. The tower itself is unremarkable — unlike the library which precedes it, it’s more material for padding out gameplay. There are two big takeaways from Nora’s second vacation; she meets the white silhouette once again (or “white figure”) and removes the second seal.
Fortunately, the Tower Ruins don’t take as long as much time as the library.
Nora returns to her home to pursue the final magic seal. Located beneath Koran City, she finds her way inside the sewers and located the seal. Once more, she meets the white figure — but this time, the stakes are at an all new high. Nora rushes to undo the final seal. . . but the Dark Dragon isn’t the only “giant being” that joins the fight. “Born from the dazzling light, is a white creature that’s not any weaker than the Dark Dragon”.
Win or lose, what follows will be one of three “endings”.
Section Three: Characters
The main character is a mindless device going through the motions. During the prologue, she maintains a believable child-like innocence. After choosing an occupation, my suspension of belief had to take a backseat. She’s eight and killing a grown man doesn’t bother her — not even when she’s an adult.
Well, may be “adult” is pushing it.
As a child, Nora’s “eyes were of different colors” and her “hair color was weird too.” She could also “see the good and bad in people” which manifested in-game as white and black auras (respectively) — interesting, this ability not only disappears after Prologue – Seed of Hatred, it’s inconsequential.
Without spoiling any of the endings, even when her powers should return they don’t.
It’s no wonder the characters are so hollow in this game! If the writers can’t remember something as remarkable as a childhood power, what hope is there for any character development? I guess that explains why they didn’t bother making an effort for the main antagonist either.
I didn’t even know there was an antagonist!
“King Kaos” has no screen time. It wasn’t until I saw my first “ending” I saw the big baddie! And just as soon as he shows his face, the screen fades to black — prompting players to replay the game as a different occupation if they haven’t reached the “True Ending” yet. I had to review my footage of the game to see if his name was referenced at all before the (anti)climatic ending.
To Geocentrism Theory‘s credit, they did mention King Kaos. . . once.
Section Three: Writing
It’s clear Light and Shadow – Doppelganger was translated from another language. The translation is what I call “good enough”. I was able to follow along the story despite unnatural dialogue. Oftentimes, characters will use multiple words to describe plot-relevant points (such as “spheres”, “cores” and “seals”) which make the story seem more complicated than it actually is.
As for the believability and quality of story telling, it’s. . . not great. The game reads like a teenage fanfiction that was written overnight. It’s clear the writing team was too stretched. Maybe they should have reduced the scope of the story to make way for fleshed-out characters and reasonably paced plot progression.
Chapter Five: Sound (2/5★)
Section One: Soundtrack
The musical selection is thematically on point, but repetitive. It doesn’t take long for tracks to repeat. Annoyingly, the music resets during every screen transition — you’ll no doubt become highly acquainted with the first fifteen seconds of each track.
Some sections of the game are totally devoid of music, most notably sex-scenes. As most content in this game is non-consensual, I don’t expect to hear romantic jazz solos. . . but you’d think sex-scenes would at least inherit whatever music that was playing beforehand.
Section Two: Sound Effects
I don’t have much to say about the sound effects in this game. It’s obvious most, if not all sound effects are stock files from RPGMaker or part of an add-on. By no means are they bad, but their recognizability does cheapen the game.
Section Two: Voice Acting
To my surprise, following the prologue Nora’s dialogue is completely voiced! I’m happy to hear voice acting, but I can’t help but wonder why the first hour of gameplay is missing spoken words.
Maybe the actress had reservations voicing an eight year old? Even so, it’s not like Nora after the prologue is notably older — as I surmised in “Sexual Content”, she’s likely around ten following the prologue. One might argue the actress wouldn’t sound sufficiently “childlike”, but ten isn’t far into puberty (if at all).
Chapter Six: Visuals (3/5★)
Section One: Title Screen
It’s a little hard to read the title, but the artwork is erotically beckoning.
It’s nice to have a “Settings” menu available from the title screen (some RPGs expect players to load a file first) but I’m disappointed by the lack of “exit” button. To close the application, users will have to window the game or learn keyboard shortcuts. On that topic, there’s no way to full-screen the game without already knowing RPGMaker’s hidden commands.
To fullscreen and window the application, use the “F5” key.
Section Two: User Configuration
Audio and gameplay preferences can be adjusted via “Settings”, accessed via the title screen or in-game from the pause menu. The Settings menu is weirdly worded, but it’s close enough to English to understand.
Players can opt to skip already viewed sex content and “sensitive scenes” (which include rape). Although I can’t imagine anyone that saw little Nora and still bought this game is going to be concerned about rape.
Below is the “Settings” menu. I can’t say I’ve ever seen “Volume” spelt as “Volumn”.
Section Three: Navigation
Light and Shadow – Doppelganger is a delight to navigate! Though the spelling and lettering leaves something to be desired, I like how each screen is distanced from stock RPGMaker menus.
Overall the pause menu is graphically busy, but I did enjoy how everything I needed to know about my character was available at once. I hate the way text ebbs and flows between fonts and sizes, it’s grossly unprofessional. Fortunately navigation is a non-issue. I’ve played a few RPGs with torturous “wheel menus” which render mouse controls useless for no good reason.
A pause menu as shown below is easy to navigate with keyboard and mouse alike.
Section Two: Graphics
Light and Shadow – Doppelganger isn’t far removed from a typical RPGMaker experience. Clearly, the explorable world and its inhabitants are built from stock assets. . . but some regions in the game are genuinely beautiful. It makes me wonder if the developers started with forested regions and ran out of time, forcing the team to rushing everything else in the game.
It’d explain why the story is so horridly paced!
Chapter Seven: Verdict (3/5★)
If you’re looking for an entry-level RPG with lolicon and MILFs, Light and Shadow – Doppelganger has an impressively large collection of sex-scenes to see. They’re awfully short, but the artwork and variety of fetish content are worth checking out. You’ll find there are no bad choices no matter what happens to little Nora!
But if a meaningful turn-based tactics, story or character development is anywhere on your priorities, neither playthrough is going to be worth your time. I’m upset how little sexual content I saw during my playthrough; since I didn’t go out of my way to purposely lose, I saw only a few scenes despite beating the game. If you’re looking for a sexually-charged RPG with MILFs that doesn’t force players to throw battles, consider Kagura Games‘ Tear and the Library of Labyrinths.
I installed this software on a Windows 10 machine with an Intel Core i7-8750H CPU, and an RTX 2060 GPU and sixteen gigabytes of RAM. The software was installed onto a preinstalled HDD (manufacturer unknown).