Keeping things informal as well as infernal

Caliross, an RPG Maker game by mdpq, follows a young shapeshifter as she navigates a city filled with competing factions and opportunities to get fucked.

Caliross comes from a long tradition of female main character RPG Maker games. Many of these games fit into the general formula of Violated Heroine, following the protagonist as she gets raped by victorious monsters, seduced by whatever townie or fantasy monster is on hand, or tricked into an erotic fate. Caliross doesn’t stray too far from the formula, especially not in it’s early build state, but it’s clear that the creator, mdqp, has broader ambitions. Just look at the way he describes the game on his Patreon:

Caliross, The Shapeshifter’s Legacy, is a fantasy-themed game, which will follow a young up-and-coming historian, as she takes her first steps outside her hometown and into the real world, to learn more about the elusive nature of her own kind, the shapeshifters. Will she become a member of the Mage guild, or of the Adventurer’s guild? Will she find out more about her heritage, or will she be too busy working extra time in sleazy bars to make a living?

As mentioned, the game follows a wannabe historian as she gets introduced to the big city. Right away, you’re probably going to notice the production standards. The character artwork isn’t exactly custom, as a lot of it it comes from a little known RPG Maker DLC pack. They look damn good though, and the fact that no one else uses them makes them feel less generic. It’s made especially pleasing by the fact that the game uses custom art based on the DLC artwork to make its sex scenes.

Another thing you’ll notice right away is that this game isn’t the best at guiding the player around. It sticks Erica right in the middle of a massive sprawling city, with very little explanation of what goes where. You’ll be spending your first half hour playing the game just getting acquainted with the layout of the massive starting town.

However, that massive sprawl of the town hides most of the run of the game. As mentioned before, the game positions itself initially as a story-based game, but as a player you’re going to spend most of your time (as of the version 0.2a build) skipping whatever nonsense is going on about interguild struggles and shapeshifters. This is all in order to focus to work on a human livestock farm, get hypnotized into working in a casino, work as a maid, hire prostitutes, get a tattoo, getting seduced by a domme, and generally screwing around in a literal and figurative sense.

I found these segments fun, interesting, and well written. Standouts include a lengthy cowgirl event chain that serves as one of the best renditions of the human livestock hentai trope I’ve seen in a Western release. The hypnotic casino madam plotline is still pretty early into its development, but it’s also rapidly looking like a standout.

Now, about the main storyline. Unfortunately, not much of it is out right now, but I’m less than impressed. Currently, the faction plotline segments are mostly hentai-free and rely fairly heavily on your personal investment. I mean this in terms of not only your mental energy, but also the need to have built up a lot of money from in game jobs before you can buy into the actual plot. When the story is already straining to hold my attention, requiring that I spend time dawdling around before I can progress ensures that I’m not going to want to focus on it. Why would I waste my time hunting slimes when I can get Erica strap-on fucked?

Which, brings us to game play elements. I’ve enjoyed the puzzles the game has offered, mostly revolving around using different spells in various scenarios. There was a stealth segment that I played, and it came off as well designed. The combat system, however, needs work. A lot of work. If anything, it feels like the only part of this game someone ripped whole cloth out of a RPG Maker XP game from the early 2000s. It looks ugly, every fight feels like a lengthy slog, and the tactical elements are completely lackluster. One of my bigger hopes for the project going forward is to see a complete overhaul to the battle system.

Caliross is a new game, and it has time to grow. We’re only on version 0.2a. The Patreon is growing steadily, more art assets are on the way, and I really want to see what happens in the city sequences. On the other hand, the combat system is a lemon that needs replacement. The story content has a decent foundation, but they need some hook to make it as interesting as faffing about is. Still, make no mistake. Caliross has more potential then many current RPG Maker projects, and I for one intend to watch it’s development closely.

The latest build of Caliross is version 0.2a, but mdqp makes a habit of releasing a new build each month. You can check out the latest build of Caliross over at his Patreon.

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