While the issues with Steam & sexually-explicit visual novels were going on, we received a good deal of interest from developers across a few different genres, many of whom were dealing with similar problems or simply wanted to share their experience working in this particular tiny corner of the gaming industry. Love Witches developer Cheerful Gamer had just launched their first visual novel on Nutaku and I decided to look a bit more into it.
The general plot behind Love Witches is quite straightforward: two beautiful witches go for a quick swim in a lake when they notice a tentacle monster peeping on them. They subdue it and take it back to their home, forcing the monster - simply named "Dean" - to do various odd jobs and chores for them. Of course, this being a Nutaku game, there's plenty of adult elements in it as well. Dean has a, er, "special ingredient" with quite valuable magical properties and the witches are all too keen to get their hands on it. How exactly they go about doing it is a matter that wouldn't be talked about in polite company, but you can get the idea.
In honesty, this particular style of story isn't really my thing, personally speaking. Even so, people enjoy it, and I had a unique opportunity here. Most of the developers I've talked to in the last week or so had multiple games under their belt. Love Witches was the very first title being released by a developer in a section of the gaming industry that had been rattled pretty badly.
Love Witches was the product of a successful Kickstarter [NSFW]. This wasn't some grand project with a $15,000 goal - Cheerful Gamer was asking for a paltry $900 in order to commission artists for the graphics and music. Backers responded by making the campaign a strong success, raising nearly five times the initial amount. Amazingly, the game was even delivered earlier than the expected delivery date. A common theme I've heard from developers is that these games exist because the demand is there. Cheerful Gamer agrees with that sentiment. ["Crowdfunding] is a very good advertisement since you immediately see whether people like it or not," the developer said.
Though the Kickstarter campaign was successful, the developer still had doubts. "I knew that I did not have all the necessary experience and I was right, there were nuances I was not [prepared for]," he said. "I decided to make a small goal to see how I can manage it, and I managed, after that, I am now ready much for greater goals."
Cheerful Gamer expressed his desire to want to create something, but I had wondered why exactly someone would make their first game something like Love Witches. I'm sure many developers entered the industry in the exact same way as he did - finding and enjoying an existing title, only to eventually make their own. The developer said that he had found Nutaku back when it was a much smaller site with only a handful of online games and he was quite pleased to finally see one of his own on the store. "I certainly did not expect that at one point [my] game would appear on [their] shelves."
As a first venture into the world of adult gaming, Love Witches doesn't seem all that bad in my experience. It's a simple title, but it also makes for a decent read. I know, I know, the whole "I read Playboy for the articles," statement is a bit dated, but it's the genuine truth. I quite liked the writing and the story in the time I had with the game. And hey, the articles in Playboy? Most of those were pretty damn good back in the day, too.
The future of sexually-explicit games on Steam is still in question, but there are plenty of sites out there like Nutaku that are more than happy to host such content for paying customers. While the developer of Love Witches certainly had his concerns about the recent events in the adult gaming industry, he is still holding out hope for these titles to gain broader acceptance and for the market to grow.
If Cheerful Gamer's Love Witches sounds like the kind of thing you would enjoy, you can pick it up for $5.00 or your regional equivalent over at Nutaku [NSFW].
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What do you think of Love Witches? Does this particular type of story appeal to you? Let us know in the comments below!