The History of Lewd: Yukkuri Panic Escalation

Today we’ve got a lovely one for those of you who love ladies that love ladies: it’s Rolling Star’s Yukkuri Panic Escalation, also known variously depending on who you talk to (or which page of VNDB you’re looking at) as Yuukuri Panic Escalation (note the spelling), Escalation: Euclid Panic and Escalation ~Kyouai no Fugue~. For the sake of simplicity and consistency, we’ll refer to it as Yukkuri Panic Escalation for today.

Anyway, regardless of what you call it, Yukkuri Panic Escalation is a game that first hit the scene in 2007 in Japan, and subsequently found itself localised in 2011 by JAST USA, who still sell the game to this day, including a physical version. It works just fine on modern Windows systems — and, if you’re in the mood for some yuri, it’s definitely a worthwhile way to spend some alone time.

Yukkuri Panic Escalation

One of the more interesting things about Yukkuri Panic Escalation is that it actually offers two separate but related experiences in a single package: firstly, there’s a straightforward visual novel with multiple endings to explore, and secondly, as the name suggests, there’s a take on the Gals Panic formula, which offers alternative versions of a number of sexual scenes from the main story coupled with some arcade-style action to enjoy.

Make no mistake, we’re very much in nukige territory here; regardless of whether you play the visual novel or the Panic game, there’s lesbian lovin’ happening right up in your face within a couple of minutes of starting, and neither version of the game really lets up on the sex for long — though the visual novel version does at least delve a little more into the background of our heroine and how she ended up in her current situation.

Said situation runs thus: our protagonist Rie Komatsuzaki has recently transferred to a prestigious Catholic school after leaving another famous school for rich girls behind. She was absolutely in love with her private home tutor, but was rather dismayed to discover that her mother was having an illicit relationship with him — and as such she was sent away, partly to keep the incident secret, and partly out of a desire to be as far away from her mother as possible.

Yukkuri Panic Escalation

What then follows is a story about Rie’s sexual awakening, kicked off by her witnessing a pair of girls from the school indulging in a little light morning love-making in the school’s chapel. One of this pair ends up being Rie’s roommate — and from here, the pair take it upon themselves to “educate” her in the ways of lady-loving — not always with entirely clear consent from Rie.

The story in the visual novel is enjoyable enough — assuming you don’t mind the more morally questionable elements — and there’s some lovely artwork, good music and decent quality voice acting as well as some seriously hot yuri scenes. But the real highlight for many will be the Panic game, which cuts to the chase and provides you with a much more lightweight narrative, punctuated by enjoyable arcade action with explicit erotic scenes as a reward.

In Yukkuri Panic Escalation’s Panic game, you’re tasked with defeating various bosses. Like in the classic Gals Panic games — and Taito’s Qix, which inspired them — the way in which you do this is by drawing lines in order to “capture” areas of the level and damage the boss as a side-effect. The more you capture at once, the more damage you do to the boss — and there are also various power-ups around the place that can make your life a little easier. Smaller enemies can also be destroyed by trapping in them in an area you’re capturing.

Yukkuri Panic Escalation

Each scene of Yukkuri Panic Escalation features three stages, with each getting increasingly explicit. As you capture areas of the stage, the image for the subsequent one is gradually revealed, providing a nice “tease” of what to expect — and between stages, there is a short bit of erotic dialogue between the characters to show how things are, well, escalating.

What’s particularly interesting about the Panic game in Yukkuri Panic Escalation is the fact that it feels a lot more “fair” than many other implementations of this formula, whether they’re in the arcade or on console. Rather than being destroyed the moment an enemy hits your line while you’re drawing it as in other games of this type, an enemy running into your line instead causes “sparks” to run along it in your direction. If a spark hits you, you lose a life; if you can finish your current “cut” before the spark reaches you, however, you remain safe. The sparks are quick, but not inescapable.

This simple tweak to the formula makes Yukkuri Panic Escalation’s Panic game a lot more enjoyable than many other versions of this core game style. And the fact that you’re rewarded with explicit erotic yuri imagery rather than just “tee-hee look at my panties” sauciness will doubtless be a major selling point for many — particularly as the art is good quality, supported by lewd dialogue with suitably… emotive voice acting.

Yukkuri Panic Escalation

This isn’t to say that the challenge doesn’t escalate (I know, I know) as the game progresses, but it doesn’t hit a wall of difficulty at the same rate your average Gals Panic does; instead, the more forgiving mechanics make the game feel much more enjoyable and accessible — like it wants you to see all the filth rather than blueballing you at every opportunity.

You can also save your game when dialogue is on screen, so you don’t have to play through the whole thing from the beginning every time you get a Game Over, and once you’ve beaten a stage you can look at the CGs or replay the sexy scenes at your leisure.

Yukkuri Panic Escalation is likely never going to go down as a legend of erotic entertainment or anything, but it’s a nice package and the inclusion of a solid arcade-style experience alongside the visual novel nukige action makes it a worthwhile purchase — particularly as both its physical and digital releases are eminently affordable these days.

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Pete Davison
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