I recently had the pleasure of discovering an adorable little eroge (erotic game) called Cute Demon Crashers! by SugarScript that was created for the NaNoRenO Visual Novel Jam event of 2015. NaNoRenO is like NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) for visual novels: it gives participants one month to create a complete work. The SugarScript team writes about the genesis of their idea: “In our team, we felt there was a need of consent and safe spaces in 18+ VNs for women, and NaNoRenO 2015 was the perfect excuse to make a game to fit those needs!” The game’s focus is safe sex, and I’m not talking birth control. It is billed as being “about consent and feeling safe in intimacy,” which I found myself intrigued by just as much as the stunning visuals and interesting-sounding premise:
“While university students are out enjoying themselves, Claire* is stuck at home and having spring break blues.
After wishing for a fun fling, she suddenly finds herself in the company of four sex demons!
Three incubi and one succubus to be exact.
Maybe spring break won’t be so boring after all…”
So I downloaded the game, booted it up, and took it for a spin. I should mention that the game isn’t finished yet (NaNoRenO only gives its participants one month to produce their game, after all), so there are, as of this writing, only two routes available to play through to completion in the game: Akki, a young and inexperienced incubus on his first trip to the human world, and Mirari, a bubbly blonde succubus who enjoys games and relaxing. The other two incubi, Kael and Orias, can be interacted with in the earlier parts of the game but do not have sex scenes just yet; their routes are to be added soon.
For my first play-through I chose Akki, which I ended up finding rather appropriate. His and Claire’s inexperience and awkwardness mirrored my own: this was a first for me as well, as I had never played an eroge before. Their scenes were incredibly sweet with some fun bits of humor thrown in, and I found myself eager to explore the game’s other options. For my second play-through I renamed the MC Rinshi and pursued Mirari instead. Her earlier scenes in the game were very cute, but when it came time for the sex scenes I wasn’t sure what to expect. I’m a woman who identifies as heterosexual, so I’ve never really been attracted to women, but to my surprise I found myself enjoying Mirari’s scenes just as much, if not a little more, than Akki’s. Where Akki’s scenes were adorable in their awkwardness, Mirari’s scenes were relaxing in their sensuality, which really spoke to my own personal tastes.
Going into too much more detail would give too much of the game away, I fear, so let’s talk a bit about mechanics instead. Cute Demon Crashers! features a familiar, click-to-advance visual novel format that occasionally gives you choices to select from that will determine the scenes you see and how the story route ends. The beginning part of the game gives you three opportunities to spend time with any of the four demons that are crashing at the MC’s house for a few days. Each demon has a total of three scenes available to view, so if you want to see all of any one demon’s scenes you have to interact exclusively with that character. This will also change their reaction if you decide to sleep with them, as well as unlock their portrait on the title screen if you complete their sex scenes.
The really interesting part, though, is the consent mechanics. First of all, you can choose not to have sex with any of the demons, and you will get a cute and funny no-sex ending. If you do choose one of the demons to sleep with, you will enter into that character’s sex route. The demons are very caring lovers, and will do their utmost to ensure the MC is comfortable in their sexual acts together (as they are nourished by positive sexual energy). As a result, they will ask the MC for permission and/or input before each new step. You can choose to continue, skip the step, or stop altogether at each of these decision points, and there is (almost) always a “stop” button present in the upper right that you can press at any time. The game never punishes you or shames you for stopping; the demons are always understanding, accommodating, and very positive.
My overall experiences with the game have been quite positive as well. The SugarScript team set out to make a game about comfort in intimacy, communication with your lover, and having a safe environment to explore sexually. In this they did a wonderful job, from the easy-going, no-pressure characterizations of the demons to the sweet and fun writing to the ability to have complete control over the sex scenes. I imagine that there will be people who find the constant questioning during the sex scenes to be annoying or distracting, but it was not something that bothered me. I quite liked the opportunity to see how my choices effected each scenario, and I ended up replaying both Akki and Mirari’s sex scenes several times just to see what some of the different choices did.
The game is also quite impressive technically. It was made using Ren’py, and for what is essentially a fan project it is remarkably well-polished. I am a total stickler for quality art when it comes to visual novels, and the art of CDC, done by Pudding Fluff and Mint Cookie, does not disappoint. Music, by Orangebeat, perfectly sets the tone from scene to scene, as do the quality backgrounds by Chocolate Berry. Toffee Cake’s script is highly enjoyable, and the team is rounded out by Caramel Glaze doing editing, programming by Fruit Muffin, and the GUI created by Honey Bun. Jeez, I’m getting kind of hungry with all of these shout-outs.
If I must have one complaint about the game, it’s that I wish there was more. It is, and was always intended to be, a very short game. You can easily play through all of the scenarios in an hour, especially if you utilize the ‘skip’ function for text you’ve already seen. There will be some added content once the full version is released, namely Kael and Orias’s sex scenes (and some teased extras!), but the game will never be significantly lengthened, nor will a sequel likely be produced. The team came together for this one project and plan to be moving on to other solo and/or team projects once CDC is complete. While this does sadden me a bit (I would love to see more of these characters!), I will definitely be keeping an eye out for future projects from any of these talented game makers.
I can easily say that I recommend this game, and I am very much looking forward to when the full version is released. It fills a unique niche that I hope will set a precedent for future games to also explore. We need more h-games like this that show that it’s ok to be inexperienced, it’s ok to be awkward and uncertain, it’s ok to ask questions and learn and maybe screw up a few things. Part of what makes this game so well done is that the sex scenes, even though they involve sex demons, are realistic. After all, no one’s perfect, and it is those imperfections that make the characters of Cute Demon Crashers! so likeable, and make for a truly charming game. ~ Rinshi
You can find the official website (with download links) here: Cute Demon Crashers!