At the time of this writing, the year is 2016. The world is beset by all sorts of terrible things; from the imminent, looming threat of our eventual destruction through one mean or another; self-censorship becoming an increasingly common occurrence; hoverboards that don’t actually hover; and perhaps worst of all, 60-degree weather in winter that invites mosquitoes to terrorize my person ahead of time. To cope with my increasing displeasure at these events, I did as any man worth his salt would and smothered myself in the voluptuous, succulent female form. Unfortunately, I was $2.00 shy of being able to hire a hooker. As if to put my melancholic spirit at ease, independent developer Libra Heart had just released the pulse-pounding continuation of the Succubus saga, The Tower of Succubus.
I was told I’d get paid extra for including this edit. Please forgive me.
When we last tuned into the Succubus saga (which consists of Succubus, Akumajou Succubus, and this game), Simone Belmonte successfully slew the titular succubus, whereupon her body was immediately possessed by the violet-haired vixen. In this installment, that story seems to have been eschewed completely in favor of a prequel to the original Succubus. As this is a very recent release by Libra Heart, the game is primarily in Japanese. This wasn’t an issue in Akumajou Succubus, as that game’s complete absence of Japanese text and familiar gameplay made it easily accessible. The Tower of Succubus, however, features quite a bit of Japanese text in its opening cutscene, ending, and various collectible items scattered through the game, including manuals that explain gameplay elements (or so I assume; they could be sex manuals for all I know). Since my moonspeak is absolutely dismal, I’m unable to provide an accurate overview of the story, so allow me to provide one anyway!
The game begins with the titular succubus, Lucia, sleeping peacefully in the lowest room within the tower when some old man busts open the door, gets on the floor, and does the dinosaur straight into her vagina. He explodes soon after cumming, typically the sign of phenomenal sex. Being used as a cock sleeve rouses Lucia from her slumber, though it also has the side-effect of draining almost all of her latent abilities. After the most impersonal meet-‘n-fuck in history, Lucia’s adventure to scale the tower’s 77 floors begins. Given how she encounters and kills other succubi to get her powers back, the plot of the game can be interpreted as a glorified conquest of seduction, rape and murder just to get a tramp stamp.
The story itself is more fleshed out than in prior games, though it’s ultimately still present to justify why you’re controlling a violet-haired woman who beds nearly everything that moves. Additionally, the game even has flavor text in the form of picture books that feature girls being deflowered, pleasuring others, or other such sultry events. Since the game is in Japanese, this also means much of that flavor text is lost on most people probably reading this.
Lo and behold, the great big book of 日本語.
Fortunately, you don’t actually need to know Japanese to enjoy The Tower of Succubus. The gameplay seems to derive heavily from Namco’s 1984 arcade game The Tower of Druaga, as well as a bit of Nintendo’s classic The Legend of Zelda series. Levels in The Tower of Succubus are very short affairs, generally taking no more than a few minutes to complete. These levels are normally full of corridors about a single tile wide with monsters sauntering through much of them. Since the objective of the game is to scale the tower, Lucia usually (but not always) has to collect a key somewhere within a level to unlock a door, which leads her to the next level. After about 15-20 or so floors, you’ll encounter a rest area with another edition of Grimms’ Sexy Tales describing some unfortunate woman who got raped. This is then followed by a boss fight with the unfortunate woman who was raped, giving the title some sense of continuity on the adventure that goes completely over my filthy gaijin head. I’ve caught word that the bosses are indeed fellow succubi though I obviously cannot confirm this. Each boss heralds the end of a zone and its level-specific elements, making way for levels with new songs, enemies, hazards, and puzzles that the zone may prominently incorporate until the next boss is slain.
There’re actually three ways to get that chest. Can you find them all?
Your romp through the tower is shown from a top-down perspective akin to the titles The Tower of Succubus may have drawn inspiration from. On the left side of the screen is where all the gameplay is shown while there’s a lot of seemingly random information surrounding it. Lucia can attack by kicking (and later stabbing) the shit out of enemies or by expending MP to fire magical blasts at them, the potency of which can be temporarily upgraded by items hidden in breakable pots. These pots can also yield two types of hearts, the likes of which can restore Lucia’s HP and MP upon contact. While blasting enemies with magic sounds cool, Lucia’s magical strength is tied to the amount of MP she has, meaning that once her MP dips to 25% or so, her MP power will weaken. At least, this is what the numbers at the bottom right-hand corner of the screen seem to indicate. These numbers show the potency of Lucia’s magic attacks and the amount of hearts she’s amassed, which are once again ammunition of a sort. By collecting over 50 hearts and holding both the Z and X keys, Lucia can activate a burst mode of sorts, which prevents her MP bar from draining while active. Additionally, slaying enemies yields EXP, which can grant Lucia stronger attributes upon amassing enough EXP.
There are also items you can find to upgrade your person, such as a sword the game gives you, magic scrolls to increase your MP, hearts that increase your HP and unlock optional doors, a shield which lowers damage you take (I think?), and a necklace that seems to serve no apparent purpose. These items are equipped automatically with no immediate explanation as to what their function is, though perhaps it’s stated in the game’s manuals. The game is perfectly playable even if you don’t know what these items do. That being said, if anyone figures out what the ribbon and necklace do, please tell me so I can hate myself when it turns out to be really obvious.
Enemies in The Tower of Succubus don’t do much besides saunter around the hallways, regardless of whether they’re goblins, eyeballs, slimes, or mages. As the game continues, the enemy variety will liven up a bit; some can only be attacked when they reveal themselves, some actively try to pursue you, some enemies are immune to magic, others to physical attacks, etc. Enemies and environmental hazards can inflict quite a bit of damage very quickly if you’re careless, and health pick-ups in The Tower of Succubus are a bit scarce. It might seem like the game is a tried and true arcade-style classic that doesn’t hold your hand, which is arguably quite true; it’s still extremely easy to complete, though. Save for two boss fights, simply playing through the game from beginning to end is comparable to a peaceful stroll on a moonlit beach. It’s a far cry from a few of the later difficulty spikes in Akumajou Succubus. Of course, I wouldn’t be so remiss as to neglect the pornographic aspect in The Tower of Succubus.
Look ma, no hands!
A portrait of Lucia is always displayed on the right side of the screen, which will always reflect her current status. If she’s attacking an enemy, a picture of Lucia kicking or slashing will flash in the portrait; if she’s firing magic, her portrait shows her doing just that; if Lucia is charging up her magic, she’ll hold her bare breasts with a serene look resting on her face; and if she’s fucking the shit out of something, her portrait will show her fucking the shit out of something.
By charging up magic, Lucia can release a slow-moving heart ahead of her. Enemies that come into contact with this heart will be stunned, open for a barrage of attacks; if you’re a plebeian, that is. Cultured gentlemen would recognize immediately that you can walk up to dazed and automatically have sex with them, which completely recharges your health and magic. Shagging enemies yields different sex scenes where Lucia’s portrait is, meaning different enemy categories will fuck Lucia in different ways. Copulating with enemies also unlocks a more detailed, static image in the gallery for viewing, resulting in an abundance of detailed CGs in The Tower of Succubus.While the actual sprite quality in-game is intentionally designed to be plain and simple, the scenes and animations are far more detailed, expanding on Akumajou Succubus’s art style. I personally feel some of Lucia’s faces in CGs can look a bit off at times, but it isn’t enough to kill the mood.
The most commendable aspect of the sex scenes in The Tower of Succubus isn’t how they look — though they certainly are a voluptuous site to behold — but how they’re incorporated into the gameplay: rather than encouraging death in a section just for a single sex CG, you’re rewarded with sex scenes and CGs for actually playing the game properly. Dying simply kicks you out of the stage with no scene, since game overs aren’t possible in the game. The game will generously remind you how many sex CGs you haven’t found yet by displaying the percentage of discovered sex CGs atop the screen’s right quadrant.
Now that I think about it, being ridden on a cold stone floor must be uncomfortable as shit.
Speaking of completion, that’s where the real challenge rests in The Tower of Succubus. Venturing from one level to the next is a simple affair, but upgrading your equipment, finding HP/MP expansions, and getting the CG percentage up to 100% are where the true difficulty in the game lies. The stage select screen clues you in on what stages have secrets, but it doesn’t do so for all stages, leading to some backtracking if you’re particularly thirsty for that 100% completion. The locations of the optional secrets live up to their moniker of “secrets” well, ranging from “pretty easy” to “how was anyone expected to find this” in difficulty, up to and including invisible passages with no indication they exist. Few secrets abide by the same rules, meaning only one or two secret items actually share the same method of discovery. The game does like to throw red herrings in a few levels, however, making you think there’s some alternate path you missed or some other secret in an earlier stage you didn’t find yet. For all I know, these might not even be red herrings at all, but I doubt the on-screen CG percentage would lie to me like that.
Not pictured: The time it took to find this lone CG.
Presentation in The Tower of Succubus is, as I’ve stated earlier, rather simple. The art style is as appealing as it was in Akumajou Succubus, if not even better. The in-game sprites are naturally inferior compared to Libra Heart’s previous two games, but it seems to be another deliberate stylistic choice. The soundtrack strikes back yet again as arguably the weakest part of the game, with a fraction of the songs being recycled from Akumajou Succubus. The original compositions fare slightly better on the ears than the ones from that game, though it comes off as a tad lazy to see entire level themes reused fairly early on. Even the sound and voice clips used for sex scenes seem to be recycled, but you know how that old saying goes: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
When played normally, The Tower of Succubus is a short, fun and easy adventure of a succubus, a tower, and the doujin within. When played to completion, The Tower of Succubus is a scavenger hunt that borders on trial and error, the likes of which depend on how keen and persistent the player is. There’s a certain elegance in the execution of Libra Heart’s latest game, with very few sections coming off as tedious or impassable. While there are some occasional hiccups that detract from the overall experience, such as rare softlocks, slightly buggy block pushing, and an aggravatingly minuscule hitbox on the final boss, they’re but small, accidental folds in an otherwise pristine piece of parchment. Not only is The Tower of Succubus a game that’s easy to pick up and play, it’s a title that’s actually enjoyable on its own merits as a game, rather than porn with some game attached. On that merit — and on that merit alone — does The Tower of Succubus come recommended.
If you’re interested in snagging the game for yourself, you can find an officially translated version on English DLSite right now for the price of $9.35. If you’re just tuning in and you don’t know about the previous two entries in Libra Heart’s Succubus series, you can give our LewdLooks of Succubus and Akumajou Succubus a peek to gain a better understanding of Lucia’s adventure and whether it’s worth following.