Magic Matchup is a hentai puzzle game from porn game developer HentaiWriter, known for his work on H-game Future Fragments, and the first product of his “Small H-Games” Patreon project, dedicated to developing short, one-shot 18+ games.
The basic premise of the game, a short nukige with both VN and puzzle game elements, puts you in the shoes of an anonymous student about to attend magic school for the first time. There are some problems, though – first of all, you don’t know why you’re at the school, what your name is, or what you were doing before. Hell, you don’t even know how to do magic. To make things worse, you’ve accidentally talked yourself into a corner with the sexy blonde teacher who greets you at the gate, and now she’s challenging you to a magic duel you have no idea how to win.
Fortunately, there’s at least one silver lining to this cloud – if you win, your sexy teacher will do any one thing you want, up to and including sex. If you lose, though?
Well, you don’t want to find out what happens if you lose.
Most of the game — save the puzzle gameplay — follows this sort of VN dialogue format.
The main attraction of Magic Matchup, then (besides, of course, the promise of porn), is the duel gameplay, which follows as a sort of reflex-puzzle game. It turns out your character may have forgotten the theory behind magic, but he hasn’t forgotten how to perform it, nor how to read minds. In-game, this is represented by clicking multiple spinning nodes in a limited amount of time, which reveals what spell color your opponent’s about to use, and then selecting the appropriate color to counter it. It becomes, then, more a race against time than any sort of guessing or strategy game.
I will admit, though, that there’s another layer of difficulty on top of it – as per the rules, not only are you promised sex for victory, but your teacher loses an article of clothing every time you successfully counter one of her spells. This means that there’s a significant chance that you’ll be playing with only one hand, which does slow you down rather significantly.
The puzzle gameplay isn’t out of this world, but it’s not boring, either.
Once you win your first duel, you’ll find — probably to your own surprise — that the game ends abruptly and kicks you back to the menu screen. You might be briefly befuddled and perhaps a bit offended at the game being this short, but if you take the time to press the start button again, you’ll find that you don’t actually begin a new game, but rather continue where you left off. That is to say, Magic Matchup offers replayability not through a NG+ mode but by actually taking several runs to complete the main story. You duel the same character each run, but the nature of the duels changes a bit as more of the story is revealed, as do the sex scenes.
This eventually culminates into a huge plot twist at the end, which I will not spoil, as well as a turning of the tables involving a femdom/pegging scene that has little warning and no way to back out of. I mention that latter part because, if you’re not into it, as Iwasn’t, you might want to come prepared. The rest of the game is like, 99% vanilla, though, so there’s that.
Sadly, while the writing does change for each sex scene with each different run, the art doesn’t.
On the technical side of things, Magic Matchup isn’t all that impressive. Graphics-wise you’re stuck at 1280x720p, and though the art isn’t hideous by any means, it certainly doesn’t shine. It tries to go off of a “western” cartoony style as opposed to an animesque one, but I don’t feel like it really works. It ends up being rather disproportionate at points. Different strokes, I suppose.
Now, sound – the game is fully voice-acted on the part of your female love interest. The voice actress has a cute voice, and she does some really effective moaning and groaning during the sex scenes, but as far as actual dialogue goes, she’s rather flat. It’s not that she’s not trying or anything of the sort, it’s more like a lack of character. Now that I think about it, it’s probably more of an issue with direction rather than voice talent.
As far as sound effects go, there’s not much to speak of. There’s satisfying SFX for the duels, with little pew-pews and the sound of breaking glass when casting spells, but nothing too out of this world. Likewise, there’s not much to be said for sound effects during sex, though that’s again ameliorated by the VA being pretty sexy. As for music, the Tumblr announcement for the game’s release brags about an originally composed soundtrack, and there certainly is one, but it’s not exactly used to great effect. The best I can say is that it’s that it’s not exactly grating. Really, if you’re not going to go for the wealth of royalty-free music out there on the web, and are instead going to take the effort of composing and recording an OST, then take advantage of the fact! If you’ve got no restrictions but your own composing ability, then aim for something not necessarily original, perhaps, because originality is not guarantee of quality, but something yours. Inoffensive piano plunking and Pokémon Center-style digital trumpets won’t really please anyone, I think.
Bottom line, Magic Matchup isn’t a bad game. It’s not fantastic, either, but it’s good enough to spend an hour or two on, and the writing’s entertaining enough. This brings us to the golden question: is it worth the $5 asking price? I’d say so, yes. It’s a cute little fantasy story on top of the puzzle games and sex, and the fact that it takes three playthroughs to complete means it’s not overly short. If you’re interested in something like that, particularly if you happen to like femdom as well as vanilla sex, go for it – you won’t regret it.