When discussing impressionable works of science fiction, there are many different franchises which come to mind across a spectrum of different mediums. Whether the discussion is restricted in scope to one medium or not, there will always be a plethora of contributions in this genre to be appreciated for years to come. Sci-fi itself isn’t something merely bound to any one medium, but is rather tied to the human spirit; we may not know what could become of our civilization – nay, our species’ existence in the span of the oncoming centuries, but what if we harnessed discovered intelligent life on other planets? What if it discovered us? What if it crashed into our Earth, tied up our women with tentacles, and started exploiting their bodies for a greater purpose?
It is usually around this point where I’m ostracized by my peers and banned from all subsequent sci-fi discussions.
Fortunately, this is LewdGamer, home to the depraved and bastion of all that is sexual. Relax and entrust us with your mind, body, and genitals as we take you into our wings and guide you towards today’s topic, Xenotake.
Xenotake, contrary to what you might assume from the title, is NOT part of the renowned Japanese Role-Playing Game series by Tetsuya Takahashi. Xenotake is a game helmed by independent developer Vosmug. From what I can gather, the earliest signs of Xenotake’s development trace back to very early 2013 , where Vosmug teased the project and elaborated further on what it would involve in the following post. It’s also in the latter post in which we can see Vosmug express a desire to make a more story-based game rather than one focused on the gameplay. This is a decision that would stick through the long development cycle of the game. It took many trials and months of effort, but Xenotake finally released over a year later in early 2014.
Upon starting Xenotake proper, you will immediately notice two things: the art style, which will be discussed later, and the surprising emphasis on story. By no means is Xenotake the Citizen Kane of h-games, but it possesses an unexpected amount of self-awareness towards its own plot. It almost seems as though the narrative will nosedive into a dark ending as though it were a ShindoL doujin, yet it gradually evolves over time, playing with its characters and the situations they’re thrown in.
As alluded to in my opening paragraph, the plot revolves around an alien spacecraft that casually landed on Earth. The ship was relaxing idly for about a week with no signs of contact between humans and the lifeforms aboard the ship until there were actually signs of contact between the two species. Two humans were detected within the ship, and a small squad of soldiers from CAOS (Counter Alien Operations Squad) was given a simple mission: Infiltrate the ship, rescue the humans and book it. Unfortunately, only one soldier managed to infiltrate the ship before the rest of the squad was locked out. This soldier happens to be Eerien (whose name may or may not be pronounced similarly to ‘alien’), a young woman who has never seen a single day of action prior to the events of Xenotake. Moreover, she’s quickly reminded that the aliens aboard the vessel are extremely perverted in nature and that it probably wasn’t the best idea for her to take the front. What follows is roughly a 2-hour adventure as Eerien ventures through the ship unearthing secrets, morally questionable allegiances, and sex. Lots of sex.
To best give you a very basic idea of how the gameplay in Xenotake handles, imagine something like Kung-fu on the NES, but with a gun. You control Eerien as she strolls through the halls of the alien spaceship, battling aliens from afar with her energy pistol or, should they approach her, a swift contextual kick. For much of the game, Eerien will have access to her base weapon (which must be reloaded every 12 shots, but comes with infinite ammo) and a special plasma ammunition that deals twice the damage, but is scarce. Meanwhile, her defensive abilities include using a dash maneuver to phase through danger, ducking in the very rare instance you need to, and taking hits like a true soldier. As you follow Eerien’s mission to rescue the captives, you will inevitably realize that the alien ship is rather complex to navigate. Areas often resemble one another; certain doors lead into rooms that have two branching paths, one of which leads into another branching path, whereupon taking one of those paths will lead you to a dead end. Dead ends in Xenotake will generally bear refills for ammo, health, and armor, rewarding explorers for their curiosity. It can, however, become a challenge to figure out which path advances the game and which is a dead end.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a whole lot to keep the gameplay fresh. Certain impediments are introduced as you play, which prompt further exploration of the ship for a way to remove them, and a there’s also a rather cool sequence in the middle of the game, but that’s about it. It’s a fairly consistent romp from beginning to end, with a few splashes of variety throughout the adventure. There are occasional enemy swarms where all enemies must be defeated to bypass battle arenas which would be locked otherwise, but these swarms also highlight a curious issue with the game: the camera. There’s a strange camera quirk in which the screen focuses on whichever direction Eerien is currently facing, whipping to that side of the screen whenever she turns, obscuring anything behind her in the progress. It makes certain enemy encounters a tad more annoying than need be, including the occasional boss Xenotake throws your way. It should be noted that some programming quirks persist even in the most recent version of Xenotake, namely the controls being locked upon respawning in the first boss fight, should the player die. This can be fixed by simply going back to the title screen and loading the save up, but it’s worth a forewarning.
What isn’t annoying in Xenotake, however, is the sexual content. Eerien sports a sleek purple suit of armor to protect her from mortal damage, as is customary for a CAOS soldier. Of course, it can’t withstand more than two hits from almost every enemy in the game. Once Eerien’s armor breaks, her torso and crotch are bare for aliens of all sizes to see, which naturally results in various rape scenarios upon contact. Each enemy has their own way of handling Eerien, but it all boils down to mashing the S key quickly to break free. Failure to do so results in the next part of the scenario, whether it’s being eaten alive and killed instantly, dragged into a pool of cum and dying instantly, or being milked by an alien worm. There are also various story sequences that force sex scenes upon the player, giving you free control of the speed, positions, and climaxing, though some scenes offer more control than others. These sequences break up the flow of the game quite well, and even get so ridiculous that the characters can’t take it seriously.
The presentation in Xenotake is quite simple, with even Vosmug himself claiming his own art style is “generic”. It certainly isn’t special, but I personally wouldn’t hold it against the game as it serves its purpose well. Conversely, the actual animation of characters was surprisingly smooth, whether it was a sex scene or a simple walk cycle. In regards to sound, the music is akin to a quiet wallflower at a party: it’s certainly there, but you’ll only notice if you look for it. The voice clips are fine, but increasing the speed in sex scenes will cause the moaning and panting voice clips to start playing over one another in quick succession, which could take you out of the zone. Overall, the presentation in the game is about average, serving its purpose without going above and beyond.
In conclusion, Xenotake is a rather quaint experience. While the gameplay is simply adequate, the sexual content and emphasis on story are ultimately what make the experience worth playing through. It’s an average, harmless game that’s easy to pick up and play, and comes recommended to fans of aliens and tentacles. Mostly tentacles, really. If what you’ve read here has convinced you to pick up Xenotake, you can purchase the game through various means on the developer’s blog here, along with information on the Japanese translation, purchasing it on DLSite, as well as the patch to decensor the game.