Imagine, if you will, that Shigeru Miyamoto was about to make a new Game Boy Colour installment in the Zelda series, but that he had recently awakened to a serious boob fetish. I’m not just talking about your everyday variety of liking boobs and thinking they’re pretty great, I’m talking about really loving boobs and everything they do — bouncing, wobbling, stretching, squishing, hanging, spraying out milk. The result would likely be something along the lines of The Sword of Succubus from Libra Heart.
Yes, much as Castle in the Clouds and Midnight Castle Succubus paid lewd homage to various Castlevania titles in their own quite distinct ways, The Sword of Succubus is developer and artist Libra Heart’s take on top-down Game Boy-style Zelda. (It looks and plays great on the Anbernic Win600, incidentally; playing this game on a handheld really enhanced the overall feel of it!)
And, like the other games in the Succubus series, The Sword of Succubus is absolutely superb, featuring not only solid gameplay, presentation and design, but also an excellent example of how a strong degree of sexuality can be integrated into both mechanics and narrative.
In The Sword of Succubus, you play an unnamed succubus who quietly lives in a house by herself a short distance outside the small village of Assen. Unlike the succubi who appear in other entries in the Succubus series, our succubus here isn’t a villain; she’s simply going about her life in peace, keeping to herself — she doesn’t bother anyone and, in turn, doesn’t get bothered by most people.
That is, until a self-proclaimed hero shows up wielding a holy sword, declares that he’s going to spend the night with said succubus — who, being a succubus, is more than up for a bit of a tumble — and promptly explodes following a few hours of passion, leaving nothing but his legendary weapon behind.
Understandably feeling a bit guilty that her tendency to drain the life force out of anyone she has sex with might have caused something of a problem this time around, the succubus takes up the holy sword and decides to investigate what’s up.
It transpires that said hero has been wafting said holy sword around as little more than a status symbol, using it to get into the pants of pretty much every young woman in the area, including the local priestess who had previously been the guardian of said holy sword. Evidently he had no real intention of actually using it for its intended purpose, which is to slay an evil Overlord, and before long it becomes clear that our succubus heroine is probably in a better position to fulfil the sword’s legend than he ever was.
The priestess informs the succubus that in order to truly awaken the holy sword’s power and reach the Overlord, she must overcome three trials, each of which is in a conveniently placed nearby dungeon — one in the forest to the east, one in the desert to the west and one in the snowy region to the north. And so off the succubus goes to fulfil what is apparently her destiny now — in her own, rather distinctive sort of way.
Basic gameplay in The Sword of Succubus will be immediately familiar to classic Zelda fans. Our succubus heroine can wander around in eight directions and attack with a sword directly in front of her — she jabs in front of her like in the original The Legend of Zelda rather than slashing as in later top-down installments, but the attack has a generous hitbox that extends slightly beyond the visible sprite, making it almost as effective as a slash.
Being a succubus, she also immediately has access to a Charm spell, which allows her to beguile any unsuspecting humanoid enemy hit with it and then fuck them to death, restoring her own health and magic points in the process. Seemingly being a good-aligned succubus, you can’t make use of this in civilised areas with characters you can interact with — but if you happen to stumble across goblins, zombies, knights, orcs, trolls or indeed anything with something at least vaguely resembling a penis, you can go to town on them.
The Sword of Succubus’ world is small but well-crafted. There’s a nice sense of the three main directions you can go from the start being geographically distinct from one another, and each area has plenty of its own secrets to discover, providing optional little sidequests to investigate on your path you completing the three trials. While it may look small, The Sword of Succubus will likely take you around 6-7 hours to beat first time around, which feels like a good length — it neither feels rushed nor like it is outstaying its welcome.
One area where The Sword of Succubus deliberately simplifies its gameplay from its obvious inspiration is in the matter of item usage. Rather than gradually amassing a large inventory of items over the course of the game, you’ll acquire just four actions that aren’t poking things with your sword over the course of the game: the aforementioned Charm spell, a magic staff that shoots out a flame, a pickaxe and a grappling hook; the latter two are where the majority of the optional secret areas come in.
You won’t get the grappling hook right away as it’s the reward for an optional dungeon that has certain prerequisites before you’ll be able to reach it, but you can acquire a pickaxe as soon as you have enough money to do so. Pickaxes can be used to break rocks and sometimes find items in them, but they can also be used to bash holes in slightly darker sections of wall, often revealing interesting things within. You have to be a bit careful, though, as the pickaxe only has limited uses — though you can repeatedly buy it to increase that number of uses.
As in Zelda games, these optional sidequests are a real highlight of The Sword of Succubus, really adding a feeling that the world has been thought about as more than a means of simply challenging the player. You’ll interact with a variety of different characters, often have sexual intercourse with them, and further help to emphasise that not only is the succubus a fundamentally good person at heart, but she’s also someone who is thoroughly in control of and at ease with her own sexuality.
This, to me, is actually one of the most interesting and praiseworthy aspects of The Sword of Succubus. While there are a few non-consensual sex scenes over the course of the story — mostly when an ill-fated swordswoman repeatedly gets in over her head and needs rescuing by our heroine — for the most part, the sexual content is firmly under the control of our heroine and, by extension, the player.
The succubus enjoys sex and has a practical outlook on it. If she’s up for it and someone else is up for it, they might as well do it. If that just so happens to help her accomplish her goals, then so be it; she has no shame, self-consciousness or sense of disgust over sex, regardless of who it’s with — she just enjoys it and recognises that it’s a natural part of life. And that’s honestly quite refreshing to see.
With this in mind, she’s perfectly comfortable with any sexual encounters she gets into, be it allowing a goblin to spunk on her tits to “mark her with his scent”, allowing her to pass through the game’s take on Zelda’s Lost Woods; fucking an entire colony of orcs to death in order to once again rescue the aforementioned unlucky swordswoman; masturbating on an altar to summon an ancient god and receive his power; or simply earning a bit of extra money in the town by bedding anyone who will pay.
And then earning even more money by “donating” the semen acquired through various sexual activities to a woman who builds golems, of course. Like Castle in the Clouds’ prostitution sidequest, The Sword of Succubus feels like it’s deliberately mocking “grinding” conventions by allowing you to easily make money using nothing more than your body. It’s a good point, well made.
That boob fetish comes into all this, also, as you might expect. Alongside the usual health and magic meters, the succubus also has a “Milk” meter, which gradually increases over time, and which can also be increased more quickly in various ways such as by eating mushrooms or hanging out at home and massaging her breasts. Milk can be used in several ways; it can simply be sold if you need a bit of quick cash, but its healing properties are also used to solve several sidequests along the way, and in a few other cases the trigger to open a door is filling a container with milk.
There’s also a clothes break mechanic; as the succubus takes damage, her armour (what little of it there is) also takes damage, and when this is reduced to zero, she becomes naked. As you would probably expect from what we’ve described above, she has zero shame about this whatsoever and is more than happy to just wander around in the nip, but there are a few issues: firstly, while unarmoured, you take more damage; and secondly, if you try and talk to most people while in your birthday suit, they will be far too distracted to say anything useful to you.
The Sword of Succubus does actually subvert this in one of the optional dungeons by specifically requiring you to be naked at one point, which is a nice touch — but recovering your clothing is a simple matter of either collecting a new outfit from the succubus’ house or buying a new one from a shop in the village, so if you accidentally end up in the buff it’s easy to fix, particularly given the game’s helpful fast travel system. Although the game world is fairly small, pretty much every major landmark — including the succubus’ house, the three dungeons, the town and the most important shops that aren’t in the town itself — can be teleported between at will.
The dungeons themselves are well designed. Since there aren’t as many interactive inventory items as a mainline Zelda, they are by design a little simpler than in Nintendo’s classics, and usually have a clear, linear path forward rather than providing multiple routes to explore that later join up with one another. Nonetheless, they make good use of the game’s mechanics to provide both combat and mental challenges, and the boss fights that conclude each dungeon are exceedingly well-crafted.
Said boss fights might feel like a bit of a difficulty spike to some, because they are pretty hard, but really they’re simply a good example of how the game makes use of its deliberately limited mechanics to provide a variety of interesting things to do. Plus there’s relatively little penalty for death — choosing to continue simply respawns you outside the boss room, allowing you to either try again or head out to complete some sidequests in the hope of powering up a bit — so the game is keen not to punish you too much.
Ultimately, The Sword of Succubus is a fantastic example of how Libra Heart really knows what they are doing with these retro-styled games in the Succubus series — and is also another great example of how adult games deserve more attention than they get. There’s no “SFW” mode in this one because the sexual content is so tightly integrated into the experience as a whole — and in this instance, it really, really works well, providing a sense that this was a game designed with a clear (and unashamed) creative vision in mind.
Assuming you’re on board with the non-optional adult content — which, let’s face it, if you’re reading Rice, you probably are — then The Sword of Succubus is one of the best non-visual novel adult games you’ll ever play. It’s a magnificent example of what the adult gaming sector has to offer to gaming in general, and a title which deserves recognition and praise — and simply for more people to enjoy it.
The Sword of Succubus is available for PC via Steam as part of the Tower and Sword of Succubus pack.
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