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Preview: Tainted Elysium

A new text adventure advances with a new wave of scientific fetishes!

Text adventure games have a lot to lose with a minimal user interface: no visible avatar where you can see changes in real time, forced narration & dialogue with inconsistent quality, and limited stat management so as to not overwhelm the player with simulation elements. Tainted Elysium, however, has something to gain with a unique science fantasy world, a toggle to have whatever fetishes you want, and more numbers than you can stuff in pi.

Tainted Elysium is a free-to-play text-based RPG made in Adobe Flash that started development around 2013, desiring to correct those issues and more. The game takes place in a science-fantasy setting that’s so far into the future, Arthur “Clit” Clarke’s third law is in full effect. In a world where nanotechnology has run amok, the indigenous population of the world you crash-land in has been transformed into a colorful world of mutants of all kinds. Crash-landing near a derelict spaceship on an abandoned planet, you must venture forth to survive and fraternize with the ecosystem, choosing sides along the way with one of the nine warlords, representing the character alignment grid with their own branch of fetishes. From what the developer envisions for the final game, it’s going to have the unique world-building filled with all sorts of transformative content, with a bit of alliance politics depending on where you align on the 2D grid. Not only do you have to deal with how loose you play your character when dealing with encounters, but you also have to worry about how many mutagens you consume.

The character creation starts with gender first, allowing you to combine several organs & mix body shapes.

The differences are immediately apparent when you hit “new game” and scroll through the introduction text – immediately, you have fully customizable control of your character’s sex, gender, and appearance. What’s even more noteworthy is that you can see what your character looks like at all times, so if your character grows horns, a tail, lesions, and/or plays with their weight, you won’t just be described it – you’ll know. Not to say that the descriptions aren’t well-written in Tainted Elysium; thanks to several flags checking the size of each body part, there’s a lot for expansionists to enjoy. And if you don’t like certain sexual organs with your preferred sex, you can modify any sex organ, such as ovaries, breasts, testicles, and phalli on your character. After picking the low fruit, you’re then given the reigns to your past. Three perks are available to pick out of the gate: your work history, where you pick one of the dozen professions for spacefaring & colonization to assist your base stats; your medical history that will give you a boost in a unique way; and your mental history, which gives you character flaws and in-game perks. Only a few of them work as of right now, but there are plenty more planned in the future for Tainted Elysium.

Characters have the innate ability to resist temptation, but how well they do is up to you.

And just like that, you’re in the world. Currently, there isn’t much besides the derelict spaceship and the forest next to it, but there are a couple events worth looking into. On the spaceship, there are a couple loot crates filled with all kinds of supplies – emergency nutrition pills that expand in your stomach, clothing that keeps track of your size, air pumps for party animals, the odd mushroom with varying toxins, and more. The items are randomly-generated, however, so occasionally you’ll have to dump the undesirables to find what you want. If you’re in a particular rush, you can activate the debug menu and hunt down the code to spawn the item you’re looking for. Along with that, there’s an apple tree to test your appetite, with the occasional grove apple to pig out with, and a water trough to wash up or top off your expandable stomach.

As for the forest, besides the impassable barrier that walls off the developer’s mind and lore of Tainted Elysium, the forests can be trekked to a few events. You can be drugged in the forest to find yourself at the aftermath of a dark ritual with varying effects, find a face full of albino alien schlong (complete with dummy baby in the womb), pass through an enlarged beehive to collect honey and play beekeeper (perhaps succumbing to mutations from venom), or become attached to supersap and fill up with diabetes-inducing sludge.

You read that right, there will be certain illnesses that can be gained from what you do. One of which is something akin to diabetes, known as “sugar sickness” (because nanomachines can only do so much in this world), and there will be a few more tied to slobbish fetishes, such as stretch marks. Fitness will be a key point in Tainted Elysium, so there will be a clear difference between being beefy and being a fatty. Thankfully, you can disable anything you don’t like in the settings, including any weight gain or expansion, so if there are any cringeworthy quirks in the writing, the full game will be able to turn it off through checkbox flags.

And that’s just scratching the surface – Tainted Elysium is only halfway through pre-alpha. The full game will promise partners you can recruit and participate in sexual debauchery with. In the meanwhile, the author occasionally splurges from the design documents about the lore of the land, including bestiaries of monsters which you can transform into, profiles of one of the warlords, or a sneak peek of the lay of the land. If not that, he’ll either have an update noted for what he did that week or explain what he was up to. He’s also generous about feedback, so if you have a suggestion or bug report, write it to him in the forums (maybe in the comments).

The developer, Atticus Arc , currently has a job and is making the game in his spare time, but he has a Patreon that he refers to as a “tip jar”. Although he claims that it won’t help the project, money always makes the world turn. It’s going to be a long process, but seeing just how much is dangling above, Tainted Elysium might be worth the wait.

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