Update: The English version of this title has since been released and is available on English DLSite here.
Merry October, you ghastly deviants! As of this writing, we’re creeping in fast on Halloween, the only time of the year where it’s okay to stalk your ex in a ghost costume. Everyone’s got their own Halloween traditions, like doing a marathon of Silent Hill games or having bloody sex in a graveyard. In fact, my own personal tradition involves playing games from the legendary Castlevania franchise. Sadly, doing so has reminded me of how we live in the timeline where Konami will likely never release another title in the franchise again. Sure, you can argue that Konami still develops games, but that’s like saying your dad loves you just because he sends your mother money every month. Fortunately, a familiar developer from Japan has stepped up yet again to try filling the void with their newest game, Succubus Hunter.
In case anyone remembers: No, I was not paid extra for that edit last time.
Succubus Hunter is the most recent entry in the ongoing Succubus series, created by Libra Heart. The game was first revealed on Libra Heart’s website, in an update for yet another upcoming entry in the Succubus series. While that game looks to feature the titular succubus in a rainbow of colors, this particular game evokes the nostalgic feeling of playing a game on that good ol’ Game Boy.
As this is the Japanese release of the game, almost all the text in Succubus Hunter is presented in characters I’m unable to decipher. There’s certainly a plot here, focusing on a whip-wielding heroine infiltrating a castle to rescue a maiden, but I had a shockingly difficult time finding anyone willing to translate any of it. Lucia, the main character of the series, seems to be involved to some extent, but it’s pretty hard to tell when you can’t distinguish hair colors or outfits this time around. As with previous releases of the series, there will likely be an English release on DLSite that’ll clear up some of this. Those curious about the story’s finer details are just gonna have to hold out until then.
“And then she came with the white-hot intensity of 120 suns…”
Everything in life is made up of two halves: form and function, and Succubus Hunter’s function is very familiar territory at this point. It’s more or less a bite-sized version of the Akumajou Succubus formula, itself an H-game take on Konami’s own vampire-slaying franchise. With two buttons and four directional keys, you’ll control the game’s heroine as she jumps and whips her way through the game’s five levels. There’ll be plenty of candles to smash, breakable walls, perilous platforming, and horrifying enemies. If you’ve read our ancient LewdLook of Akumajou Succubus, many of the gameplay mechanics are also applicable here.
The key difference between the two Libra Heart titles is that Succubus Hunter takes a slightly different approach to the same idea. Rather than opting for wider, open levels, the areas in this title are very claustrophobic. Screens often either have very low ceilings, spacious platforming challenges, or flights of stairs bridging two densely packed corridors. Character physics are also a bit different, as jumping is far more lenient in this game, no longer snapping you to the ground as it did in Akumajou Succubus.
There are also skeletons. Lots of skeletons.
Whereas one of its predecessors had a noticeably schizophrenic difficulty curve, Succubus Hunter is extremely lenient, perhaps even to its detriment. Falling down pits doesn’t kill you instantly; neither do spikes. The cast of enemies rarely demands much of the player, though cheap enemy placement is somehow still present in some levels. Losing a life won’t cost you that subweapon or its ammunition, though getting a game over will. Not that you should game over, given the abundance of health pick-ups strewn around the levels. Lastly, due to how the levels are structured, there’s rarely any enemies capable of outmaneuvering the player. While games in the Succubus series aren’t typically a struggle to complete, I’d argue that Succubus Hunter may be the easiest game in the whole series.
Subweapons are back in action, though there’s only about three to choose from: the dagger, the scythe, and the boomerang. Due to the game’s lenient nature, they’re less of a liability and more of a convenience. They’re still pretty handy during the game’s five boss fights, but even those are simple enough to conquer.
On the whole, I’d say Succubus Hunter’s core gameplay is a step up from Akumajou Succubus. The character handling feels more fluid, and the level design feels tighter here. That tightness does come at the cost of variety, though, as level themes and hazards don’t change too much. One stage hazard, for instance, is just someone flickering the lights on and off during a platforming section, while ghosts saunter towards you. Level themes seldom play into how that level is structured, and since the level design is more claustrophobic than spacious, certain screens can feel “samey” after a while. I swear I saw the same hallway with five zombies shambling above a staircase at least two times.
A lot of skeletons.
Succubus Hunter evokes memories of playing games on the original gray Game Boy. While it can be argued the game is specifically evoking memories of Castlevania: The Adventure, it nails the presentation no matter which direction you’re looking. The game is not only displayed in the handheld’s amazing color palette of white and black, but the resolution has been dialed back from Libra Heart’s other games to really nail the authentic handheld experience. This is also part of why levels feel so “boxed in”, which I imagine was an intentional design choice. After all, various handheld versions of popular IPs in that time were scaled back or otherwise changed entirely to suit the handheld’s limitations. If this game is really trying to go for authenticity, that should logically branch into the game’s design.
There’s not much to write home about when it comes to the actual pixel art itself, though. Nothing really pops out in the environment or locales, save for some of those brief outdoor screens. The soundtrack, I feel, is an area that’s been improved upon since last time. Some songs are still kinda forgettable, like Stage 4 or the boss themes, but Stage 1 and Stage 3 are more jamming than I expected. They’re nowhere even close to the same level as songs like Bloody Tears, Tower of Dolls, or New Messiah, but the increase in quality is welcome.
It takes a seasoned succubus hunter to appreciate such fine art.
Sexual content in Succubus Hunter is handled a little different from past games. Much like in Tower of Succubus, there are books peppered through the levels, which gracefully bestow you with knowledge in unfiltered Nihongo. Fortunately, they’re all children’s picture books, except the children’s pictures are images of women being railed. Many of the women in this game have their tits flopping about, as they should, so those who can’t get behind massive mammaries may wanna sit this one out. While huge breasts are fine by me, I’m a little disappointed that there’s not too much variety in the sex CGs this time around. Whereas other games put the heroine in a greater range of sexual deeds, this particular game feels rather tame when compared to earlier games. With a healthy number of CGs to collect, it’s a bit of a shame that this aspect of the game is a step down from Libra Heart’s previous efforts.
Keen players may notice that you’ll most likely only have about 50% of the CGs by the time you beat the game. There aren’t any hidden maidens to save, no elaborate books to unearth, and you (thankfully) don’t need to commit suicide in every stage to snag an otherwise unobtainable CG. Every book you can pick up is available in the open with no extra strings attached. There’s a good reason you’ll have 50% left by the finale, but all I’ll say is to keep the game running once those credits are done.
100% SympaRate! Symmetrical Docking — approved!
Succubus Hunter is a quaint little game with a small dose of replay value and dozens of CGs to hoard. If you enjoyed Akumajou Succubus, you’ll almost certainly enjoy this venture. While I do wish the game offered up more variety through some means, be it level design, difficulty or sex CGs, it’s nonetheless a comfortable stroll through a sex-filled castle. If you’re interested in snagging the game for yourself, it’s available on Japanese DLSite for 648 yen, or a little under $6.25 USD. If you can’t afford other games in the Succubus series, Succubus Hunter is a very solid starting point. Then again, if you can’t afford the other titles in the series, I think you may wanna reconsider your financial priorities.
If you’re curious about the other games in the Succubus series, take a look at the LewdLooks we’ve given for each game here.