Have you ever looked at a game and thought to yourself, “how the hell did that get a sequel?” That’s a not-at-all-subtle way of revealing exactly what went through my mind when I first saw Succubus, a sequel/spin-off of the first-person horror title Agony. When the previous title in the series was so abjectly painful to play, how is there any hope for any sort of future entries? Well, you might be quite shocked to learn that Succubus is considerably different from Agony, and let’s face it, it needed to be if it had any hope of success.
Succubus is a first-person hack-and-slash game from Madmind Studio, the same developers behind Agony, surprisingly. The story follows a succubus who was left behind in Hell after all the legitimate rules left at the end of the last game. After being betrayed by other demons, you set out on a quest for revenge by shredding your way through Hell, with the amount of nudity and hyper-violence that you’ve come to expect from this series. A lot.
Yes, much like Agony, one of the big selling points of Succubus is that it features gratuitous nudity throughout, and once again that promise is more than fulfilled. 90% of the enemies you come across have their boobs out, sinners and demons proudly let their man-meat flap merrily in the breeze. Basically, if your main reason for playing games is to get to see nudity, then Succubus might be your perfect game of all time.
Aside from the nudity, the gameplay in Succubus is surprisingly solid. It’s a melee-focused hack-and-slash game, which differs from the original’s horror focus. You’re not sneaking around here at all, instead, you rely on demonic magic and some pretty powerful weaponry to get the job done. When you start out you’ve basically got a couple of knives and a fire spell, but as you play you’re constantly unlocking new abilities and weapons to use, which helps to keep the gameplay fresh throughout.
The variety of different weapons you have access to is pretty stunning, and the different combat styles they offer are relatively unique. You’ve got the two curved swords that snap together into a bow, the staff that gives you access to a continuous attack, even a pitchfork that you can straight up throw at enemies. Even better, the game manages to strike up a decent balance between making you feel powerful and giving you a challenge, at least on Normal difficulty. Enemies can be strong, and there’s a lot of them, so even if you’re knocking waves aside with your giant hammer, you’ve still got to have the skill to avoid losing chunks of health at a time.
If there’s one complaint about the gameplay of Succubus, it’s the bosses. At first, they’re mostly pretty decent, if a little generic. You dodge their various attacks, wait for them to become vulnerable, and then just spam your own attack, repeat until they fall over. However, as you get further in, some of the bosses become annoying and broken, especially the late-game ones. Most of the bosses in the latter half of the game have gimmicks, like the one who turns the arena into a game of ‘the floor is lava’ and likes to heal any damage you do to her.
Then there’s the ‘broken’ part of my above complaint. In almost all of the late-game bosses, they seem to have some broken path-finding. On numerous occasions, a boss seemed to have an aneurysm and just sort of got stuck in place, either repeating animation or just standing stock still. While this did make the fights easier, it also felt like cheating, but at the same time, when it happened with the self-healing boss who also blocks ranged attacks, I did breathe a short sigh of relief.
There’s a fair bit of customization available in-game as well. You can customize your Demon character as much as you like, with different faces, skin tones, horns, and hairstyles available from the get-go, with more unlocked as you play. Of course, this also means you can adjust the body of your demon in other ways as well, such as the size and perkiness of the breasts, and the overall weight of your character as well. While these options are 99% pointless because the game is in the first person, it’s almost certainly going to be appreciated by someone out there.
You can also get different weapon skins that also offer different damage levels, as well as aesthetics. More interesting is the armor choices you can make. Obviously, these different armor types do cover up different amounts of skin, so make of that what you will, but they also have a profound effect on how your character handles in-game. Not only do they control how much health and magic you have, but they also change your magic’s recharge speed, your movement speed, and how many times you can dodge before you get tired. Picking the right armor for your play style is a huge part of succeeding in Succubus.
Okay, so Succubus has decent gameplay, a lot of customization, and offers a decent variety to keep things interesting. Now it’s time to talk about some of the tertiary elements of the game. Namely censorship. As you can probably imagine, when you first boot the game, everything is censored. These huge pixelated regions cover up everything that you can see, which is fine, but a little distracting. The censored version also covers up another element of the gameplay, and for good reason.
At several points in each level, you’ll come across a sinner tied up in a special device, at least you will if you play the uncensored version of the game. You can then perform a torture act on the victim to recharge some of your health. In the censored version, almost all of these are instead replaced with blood chalices that do the same thing. In the uncensored version, you do some pretty extreme stuff to these people, so extreme that I’m not even 100% sure that I can even write down what happens. Let’s just say that extreme genital mutilation is a baseline in these sequences.
Even in the censored version of the game, you’ll still find some of these torture sequences available in the post-game version of your home hub area. The pixelization does exist in these versions, but it’s still completely obvious what is happening when you’re character rips off a certain part of someone else’s body and stuff it down their throat. The same is also true of the sex scenes.
At various points in Succubus you’ll come across a sinner or demon you can have sex with, or another demon will be having sex in the background. In the uncensored version, these moments are on full display, but in the censored version, they’re covered by big pixelated circles. Despite this censorship, you can still 100% tell what is happening, so it seems pretty clear that the pixels are intended to make the footage usable on places like YouTube and Twitch.
When it comes down to it, I understand why the censorship is here, but I also wish I had more control over it. The censored and uncensored modes are like toggle switches, you can flip it on or off and that’s it. Personally, I’d like the ability to control what gets censored and what doesn’t. Thanks to how much nudity there is, the pixelation is a huge distraction during gameplay, and it just looks terrible. However, the torture scenes seem pointless and distasteful when we can just drink a cup of blood instead. It would have been cool to have the various levels of censorship for each thing available.
The real question that surrounds Succubus is how important the vulgar content really is. There’s almost an air of early 2000s edginess to the entire thing. From certain dialogue moments, it’s clear that there’s an anti-censorship intent behind the game, but it rings about as true as it did with Hatred. More than that, it’s just a bit of a shame in some ways. Madmind Studio has made a pretty decent game here, but the tone and content are probably going to turn a lot of people away. There’s nothing wrong with most of the content of the game, but there’s also not much reason for most of it either.
One important factor that serves to elevate Succubus so far above Agony is the tone. Because the first game was a horror title, it had to take itself seriously, but that's not really the case here. There are several moments and references that make it clear things are a bit more tongue-in-cheek this time around, and honestly, it really helps. The kind of violence here is sort of ridiculous, so making oblique references to Doom, including some funny dialogue, and adding a 'selfie' mode is probably setting the bar in the right place.
At the end of the day, you know if you’re the kind of person who won’t think twice about the violence and sex in Succubus. If you can get past all the extra stuff, you’ll find a mostly decent hack-and-slash experience with tones of variety and some surprisingly addictive gameplay behind it. It’s certainly lacking polish, and there are a few bugs of both the gameplay and graphical variety, but the amount of different stuff to do and the visceral enjoyment of tearing through wave after wave of enemies make it 1000 times more worthwhile than Agony could ever have aspired to be.
TechRaptor reviewed Succubus on PC via Steam with a code provided by the developer.
- Nice variety of weapons keep combat fun
- Tons of customization for your character and equipment
- Good balance between feeling powerful and feeling challenged
- Occasional graphical and gameplay glitches
- Late-game bosses are a bit dull or just straight up broken
- The torture scenes are pointless and annoying