You know, adult entertainment can sometimes get a bad rap. Yes, there is most certainly exploitative and straight up gratuitous content out there, I won’t deny that. However, if you know what to look for, where to find it and have an open mind, then I think you’ll find that, especially in the video game space, that adult entertainment can provide more than just a way for you to clear your charges. If you know what I mean!
In recent years, it seems that developers are starting to think this way as well. With publishers like Illusion Software, TinyHat Studios and CriticalBliss, we’re seeing a bigger focus on mechanics and innovations in the actual video game space instead of just out right porn! Now, maybe that’s due to distributors like Steam, DLSite and Itch.io opening up to allow lewd games on their marketplaces, but that’s still pretty exciting! I mean, adult games are fun and anything that strays away from the stigmas surrounding them is a win.
That’s why here at The Backlog Odyssey, we wanted to highlight some of these games! Give them their just desserts and a fair critique like any other game that passes through our backlog! And in order to do that, we came up with a new subcategory to all of our other review types, the After Dark reviews! Geared toward adult themed games with the goal of delivering honest reviews, so you can know exactly what you’re getting into, before you get into it. Just like all of our other content, only a bit more naughty!
With that being said, we’re proud to present to you our first Twosome with the After Dark spin, covering the salacious horror extravaganza, Lust for Darkness from Movie Games Lunarium! But will its erotic twist on the lust for power ruin the mood, or will it leave us satisfied and ready to cuddle?
To be fair I knew next to nothing about this game until Mr. Backlog brought it to my attention. He excitedly told me that it was on sale for $1-ish and that he’d had it on his wish list for quite some time. The story seemed very intriguing once I did a little research however! I’m all about H.P. Lovecraft and anything inspired by his works and I’m a firm believer that if done well, it’s some of the best horror you can find. The fact that it also happened to contain adult content made it an easy decision to choose Lust For Darkness for our inaugural After Dark review. I was certainly tentative sitting down with a game that combined sex with horror, as that can get nasty in a bad way real quick, but this is the life of a reviewer sometimes ya know?
When thinking about the first game we would feature for our debut After Dark review, I really wanted to pick something that felt familiar but had an erotic twist, and being a big fan of horror games in the style of Amnesia and Outlast, Lust for Darkness seemed like a perfect fit. That and the buzz surrounding the game intrigued me. It really didn’t get the hottest reviews, but the fact that it was showing up in the strangest of places, like on the Nintendo Switch, meant we really needed to find out for ourselves, what it was like.
That wasn’t the only reason though. In my mind the mixture of sexuality and horror, always seemed like a contrasting juxtaposition, but surprisingly it seems those themes compliment each other. Giving me the same vibes that I would get from horror based in religion. That is, feelings of anxiety, fascination and of the taboo. I mean, both can get pretty f-ing dark!
Like I mentioned earlier, the idea of mixing provocative sexual themes with the terror of horror really had me hoping for a rollercoaster of emotional responses from Lust of Darkness. Yet, when it came to actually playing the game, the “adult” part of it felt secondary. I mean, when I think of a game based around a sex cult trying to be reborn in the land of ecstasy by “communing” with demons, I was expecting it to be like a car crash. Tragic, but difficult to look away.
However, it was much more tame than that. In fact, the horror aspects were a much bigger focus. I mean there were bare chested women, men dangling every which way and the occasional red room orgy, but nothing as illicit as you would expect. Of course, this isn’t necessarily bad, because it would have been quite easy for it to go overboard and all of a sudden we’d be playing a snuff game. Not something I really want to see.
That being said, the horror was on the tame side as well and if I’m going to be perfectly honest, in both aspects, it felt like they had a great concept but were hesitant to follow through.
Honestly, while the story had the nudity and sex intertwined as a part of the underlying theme, it was by no means important, nor was it superfluous. Had there been no nudity/sex whatsoever, or had it been merely implied instead, it would have had no real impact on how they game played or how the story unfolded. In this case, the adult content was more used as a method to amp up the already horrific imagery, more grotesque than gratuitous as it were. Also, the graphics for this game, while certainly vibrant and detailed, were in the same breath, nothing to write home about. The animation was pretty stiff, so more often than not the adult stuff really WAS more suggested than in your face. Don’t misunderstand, there were a few very direct cutscenes, a few bare boobs and more phallic shaped furniture than should ever be in one singular structure, but really it’s as on the mild side as this type of content can get.
A big thing I would change would be to add in controller support. I know that this game has been ported to the Switch and I could have just played it there but we bought it for the PC and honestly it just seems odd that you can use a controller in one version of the game and not the other…the code is there, use it amiright? The keyboard/mouse exclusivity meant that I had no desire to take over the controls at any point. It’s a minor gripe I know, but I hope for the sequel the devs at least consider it.
That being said, the story was very interesting, albeit a little convoluted at times, but I overall enjoyed my experience. I really liked all the various puzzle mechanics as well. None of the puzzles were very difficult to work out mind you, but none were overtly obtuse either, which I greatly appreciate! Taking that into consideration, I really hope the sequel keeps the fun puzzles and even steps them up a notch.
So, what would I change? Exactly that. I would love to see this world expanded upon and the devs to lean heavier into the concept they so desperately wanted to portray. I’m endlessly fascinated with the character’s motivations, the origins of the cult and what they hope to achieve. Maybe even how it all came to be. There were hints here and there, but nothing that drew my eye or could easily be covered in a game that’s 3.5 hours long at the most. I guess what I’m trying to say is give us the exposition we all want! As for the sexy scenes, I thought there was a good balance and it didn’t overstay its welcome, but tying it more to the story would have made it so much more effective. Make it more prevalent, not necessarily more present.
What I would keep however, is the eeriness and contrast of the two worlds you visit. The demon world and the real world. It really hammered home how twisted these people were and I think with a bit more balance, we could have really had a winner.
As with most of these games that we’ll be covering in our After Dark reviews, it’ll really depend on your tolerance for the topics at hand. Nonetheless, even if you were comfortable with the themes, I’m not sure if this game is an easy recommendation. On one side it’s short and can be experienced in one sitting, so if you’re in the mood for a quick taste of horror with a slightly naughty twist, then I’d say go for it. Especially if you can get it at a discount like we did! On the other hand, Lust for Darkness just didn’t seem to live up to its expectations on any front and left me apathetic. So it’s an easy skip.
To sum it all up? Lust of Darkness was just ok but worth a play if you can get it on the cheap.
Lust For Darkness rings in about 2.5 to 3.5 hours total depending on how much exploring you do, so it’s not much of a time sink. The short duration definitely works in it’s favor though because if it was any longer,I think I would have walked away with a vastly different opinion. I would recommend giving this game a try not only because it’s short and inexpensive, but also because it’s a pretty fun time if you can have a few drinks with your partner and make an evening out of it once the kids are in bed. Much like watching a B rated horror movie, if you sit down with tempered expectations right out the gate I think this is a game that could tick all those same boxes.
There you have it my dear backloggers! Our first every After Dark review! You know, it was a fun experience and I’m looking forward to seeing what other games we can find to showcase in the future. Lust for Darkness may not have been quite as naughty as we could have gotten and it was a bit disappointing that it wasn’t the stellar mix of sexy horror like we were hoping, but I think it was a great start to an enticing series!
So, here’s to the next one and we hope you enjoyed it!