For many years now I’ve been following an artist on DeviantArt that goes by the name Karosu-Maker. I was first drawn to his work because of his fun fan art of the Legend of Zelda and Resident Evil, and over the years he’s added to it with more works based on Final Fantasy, Street Fighter and so on. More recently, though, his focus has shifted more to his own original artwork with a very Monster-Girl like theme. The reason? Karosu-Maker has been planning his own game which got me a little excited…then a bit more, sceptical as what he’s done maybe best described as a sexy Zelda game.
Be warned if you want to check out his artwork some of his stuff is very NSFW as he dabbles in suggestive themes and nudity to some very graphic and questionable gore. While the Demo has none of this there will be the option in settings to enable this when it releases.
So in Erinye we play as the silent protagonist Erin who’s hot on the trail of a mysterious witch who we’re led to believe has a special treasure. However after pulling up to the town Azrliris on her shiny motorbike she finds that the place is overrun by a bandit group known as ShyGirls. From the white masks and red capes it’s clear that they’re a fun reference to the Shy Guy enemies from Mario games; except for the fact that here they’re portrayed as busty, scantily-clad women with a murderous appetite. Before Erin can hope to find her mysterious witch, she’ll have to deal with the sexy assassins plaguing the town.
The whole demo can be completed in roughly an hour, in which time Erinye was successful in making me giggle on several occasions. It’s a fun, cheesy story that really doesn’t take it self too seriously. It pokes holes in typical fantasy tropes such as the age old ‘chosen hero’ routine and it makes fun of its glaringly obvious fan service. While humour plays a big role, there is still groundwork present for what could be an interesting story. I’m certainly looking forward to seeing where it goes.
Gameplay is very similar to 2D Zelda games, from the exploration and puzzle solving to the need to identify patterns in boss-fights. Erin’s primary weapon is her sword but she has a secondary slot for more weapons; a bow being the main one for this demo. However Erinye also tries something different by throwing in a number of welcome RPG elements such as obtaining equipment with higher stats and buffs like paralysis and confusion resist. There are a number of good puzzles to solve and exploration is also open and enjoyable. It’s not just a linear path; Erinye actually encourages you to explore and even rewards players for doing so.
A nifty little addition is the Camera item. Providing you have enough film you can snap pictures of the various enemies you encounter, with a bonus picture up for grabs if you land a critical hit, which usually involves clothes exploding off characters in ridiculous manners. It’s sort of a risqué Pokemon ‘Gotta’ Catch Them All’ mechanic where you can ogle cute little Slimes or busty Bat Girls from a gallery later without fear of one killing you. Cheesy as it is, it does add a fun completionism element to the game and trying to snap shots while staying alive adds a certain challenge. It also acts an interactive gallery for the artist to show off his excellent work.
My only real gripe with Erinye, from the brief glimpse I’ve had so far, is that it can be frustratingly difficult; bosses deal big damage in quick succession while taking very little in return, leading to long, hard fights where you really need to stay focused. While I said that the RPG upgrade mechanics were a great addition it’s hard to tell at times if they actually make a difference in boss fights as there’s little feedback. To make matters worse health items are also rare so deaths come quick and fast, and as such it’s essential that you save often.
How can I not mention the game’s style, which is top notch all round. The pixel artwork is very reminiscent of A Link to the Past while adding its own grittier vibe, while the subtle little animations with the flowers and waves add a great deal of life to the world. Character portraits are lovingly-detailed and there’s certainly a great deal of variety between characters and enemies. As for sound, I haven’t played a lot of RPG Maker games but it appears that some of what’s used are general stock tracks. While they are very fitting this maybe something that’ll change over the course of its development.
In an attempt to help promote, and gain some more money towards development, Karosu-Maker has made promises of additional side chapters/minigames to run alongside the game. Shy Chess is the first of these and it’s already hit the Steam store for the low, low price of £1.69. This is said to focus on the ShyGirl bandits that are fought at the start of the demo, but utilising more puzzle based gameplay. For that price I’ll certainly be giving it a go, so look forward to a review on that soon.
Often with games that feature suggestive themes or hentai developers tend to put the sex appeal first and the gameplay second. In the case of Erinye it feels just the opposite. You can tell that Karosu-Maker has actually put a lot of time into making a generally fun-to-play adventure game. There’s obviously still more to do, but it’s showing promise. From the demo we get a decent idea of what’s to come, from the combat to the world building and the plot.
If you want to see more of what the developer has planned then be sure to check out Karosu-Maker’s Patreon page for more updates.