I’ve played visual novels off and on for 5+ years since around 2017. The ones I remember most have always had a strong story, depth, and emotional impact. You see, I play both SFW (Safe for Work) visual novels and adult visual novels (AVNs – Not Safe for Work). Now, even when it comes to NSFW, I like my Adult games to have a strong sense of presence, character, and realism. This realism comes in the form of karmic balance – or in the other words – your actions matter. All of these qualities make for a more pleasurable experience for me and heighten the adult content the game has in various forms.
Two games (examples) that have these qualities are Corrupted Kingdoms by ArcGames (Patreon), and College Kings by UndergradSteve (Patreon). I have chosen one scene from each, that I feel possesses all the qualities mentioned earlier.
Some info about College Kings (Steam Page):
College Kings revolves around your character. I chose the custom name Holy Shart…hehe. Attending San Vallejo College as a freshman, where you’ll have the ability to get to know a wide variety of people, and even have the opportunity to join a frat (Wolves and Apes), and compete in a fighting competition to potentially become a Fight King. You’ll make a ton of important and fun choices, actions that define your relationships, friends, enemies, and maybe even a potential lover…or lovers? That’s for you to decide!
Some info about Corrupted Kingdoms (Itch Page):
You are returning home, having been away for a long time. I chose the same character name as College Kings… again hehe. You’re looking to find out what happened to your parents, and the reason why you were forced to leave. Maybe you’ll even get your revenge…or is it justice? That’ll be your choice. Sadly, however, whilst staying at your new apartment in the middle of the night, you come into contact with a strange monster. It seems to know you, and wants to eat you alive! Having been fatally wounded, but saved by a “cute” but unknown fairy-like creature, you awaken into a world that’s uncertain…but also magical and mystical. Your new life in this fantastical world awaits you.
Beware! Spoilers Ahead. Only read on if you don’t mind. You’ve been warned. Mwahahaha *coughing intensely* I’m fine…I’m good.
College Kings – Act III – Place Scene (Start of Europe Trip)
Whilst on the plane heading with your College group to Europe in Act III, Audrey hands you a note inviting you to “get it on” Mile-High Club style. If you choose to go with her, and are with Lauren, this leads to an impactful moment for your relationship with her.
There’s also an instance earlier in the game (Act 1 – I believe) where your actions with Audrey can impact your relationship with Lauren, and even how her sister and others potentially interact with you. But this only happens if you choose to tell her, whereas this scene happens either way.
Anyway, Lauren catching you leads to a brief but tense confrontation with her, and this isn’t the only one. As it has a serious and consistent impact on your relationship with her and is referred to multiple times.
This choice/scene will drastically alter your path with her, and it will always be remembered, and even referred to by yourself (in scenes with others, sometimes indirectly), and by Lauren in several scenes. Showing depth, consequence, and consistency.
It’s also worth mentioning that the game also has an option for a realistic playthrough (Real Life Mode), where you cannot go back on your choices and choose differently. So this scene could really alter your playthrough, and could potentially be a “bad ending” if you actually care about Lauren as a character.
The game does an incredible job of dealing with the aftermath of the incident and shows how your character deals with it, and how Lauren and even other characters react.
College Kings’ scene has an immediate impact but also a lasting one. Whilst you can somewhat repair the damage done, and even become friends, you’ll never have what you once did with her. Lauren even refers to this in College Kings 2 – Episode 1 (Steam Page).
Corrupted Kingdoms – Act 2 – Alice Arrives at the Manor
Towards the end of Act 1, you are taken to a secret facility, far enough away from a magical crystal – a piece of which is within you – that certain powers start manifesting themselves, but you are unable to control them properly.
You use your powers on two of the guards. On one, Gwen, you bring out their inner desires (awaken), the other, Chloe, you break (shatter), essentially turning them into a mindless minion…almost…you’ll see
A week or so later, Alice, the little sister of Chloe appears on your doorstep. Turns out, she has been looking for her sister. You realize your actions are the cause for this, and that her little sister has no one else. She has also been surviving on her own and has run out of food.
Chloe does not recognize her sister, and at one point even perceives her as a potential threat to you. Sad instrumental piano music plays throughout the scene, further playing into the tension and emotion the scene conveys.
It is unclear at this point in the story if anything can be done, if Chloe can be brought back…and if so…how? and to what extent? In any case, you decide it’s okay to allow her little sister to come and go as she pleases. But you, as both yourself and the character, dwell on what you’ve done…and what you may or may not have to do.
Corrupted Kingdoms’ scene has an immediate impact based on your actions. It has emotional depth and makes you question if what you did (and what you’re doing) is right. All you can do is watch it unfold, unable to change the outcome…least for now.
The games, and scenes mentioned above, are just two examples of AVNs that have moved me. Which as I mentioned earlier adds to the experience, and makes the explicit content included more enjoyable and worthwhile. Let me know your thoughts in LewdPixel’s Discord server, or in the comment section below. Take care all, I sincerely hope you consider giving the games mentioned a go and see you next time! waves goodbye to the screen monitor, realizes it’s a screen monitor, sad face.
If you enjoy the story and world-building aspects, and appreciate how well your actions modify everything that comes after, I can highly recommend the games from Tora (Tlaero does the writing, Mortze does the art.)
Not only do your actions determine the story’s end, but the canon version of each story (the “best” ending) ties into and informs the other stories in the series. The city of Sangrive from the “Elsaverse” games is brought to life with Tlaero’s writing.
Thanks for this discussion with these two specific examples. I play College Kings for the reasons you mention. It’s at its best when there are impacts between characters from the decisions you make. I’ve not played Corrupted Kingdoms, but based on your discussion, I’ll pick it up.
To me, one of the biggest examples of this kind of impact is Acting Lessons, DrPinkCake’s game prior to Being a DIK. I still think back on the choices you’re forced to make in that game and the impact it has on the ending.
I’m glad you enjoyed the article! I own Acting Lessons (not played it though) and have played Being a Dik (season 1) to an extent in the past. There is a lot of effort and care put into (and in) their games you’re right. I’ll have to go back to their games at some point.
I’m glad there are others who appreciate the value of emotional depth and impact in these kinds of games. I’m glad you’re also considering giving Corrupted KIngdoms a try. There is a free public version of the game, which gets released a few days or so after the Patreon version. To my knowledge, there are no limitations, and I have been playing it for several versions prior to the current one.
Very well written! I’d love to see more.