Compared to most VNs that hit the market, Lucy Got Problems is a much more impressive product on a technical level. While this visual novel doesn’t have voice overs, even that can be forgiven considering its low price point. Unfortunately, there’s one critical element which this title is lacking, and it’s one that’s much more difficult to overlook.
Lucy Got Problems is a great example of a quality visual novel on many levels. There was a ton of effort put into it. It’s got great art, it has interactive gameplay sequences, there are loads of branching paths, and the timed choices are a nice touch which give the game a more “actiony” feel. If you’re looking for a more laid back experience, you can turn off the timer and even the instant deaths. It’s even got character sprites that animate nicely at chest level. You can tell that the team behind it really cared about what they were making.
While this title is very proficient in a technical aspect, Lucy Got Problems commits a fatal sin of VNs: It doesn't keep track of the choices you’ve made on previous runs. You are required to play this game repeatedly to get the full story. When some choices are as mundane as, “go left / go right,” it’s an absolute bitch to remember your previously taken path. This is just a courtesy and shows respect for the player's time. Without getting ahead of myself, let’s just say that this VN doesn’t have much respect for your personal time.
Unless you’re talking about a nukige, the story is one of the most important parts of a visual novel. Without it, you’re left with nothing but pretty pictures and elevator music. Lucy Got Problems has a story, but frankly, it’s just not one worth reading.
The story is told from Lucy’s point of view as a retelling of events. The tale she tells circles back to the beginning where Lucy is reporting her progress to her demonic master. This can be as a resurrected spirit recounting how she died or a triumphant scout giving a status report. The difference depends on the type of ending you received, and there are several.
We open with the main character, Lucy, kneeling before some hot demon chick. After a non-explanation of the situation, we are thrust into a flashback. The intro scene establishes that Lucy both fears and lusts over this demon chick. The problem is, that’s all it really tells us, and it takes far too fucking long to do so.
Lucy recounts her adventure where she meets various characters and creatures in a forest while searching for a magical item, the Orb of Fate. This is the story’s MacGuffin. It’s an item so vaguely defined that not even the characters in the story know what the fuck it’s for. All we know is that it is ‘powerful.’ This vague description is important for a lazy plot. You see, by not defining what this object can do, it allows it to become a full blown deus ex machina, and the story can resolve itself with little effort from the writer.
The idea of someone going on a magical sex journey, a la Alice in Wonderland, is not a bad idea for an erotic VN. The issue is the abysmal way it’s executed. The story is so bad, that it feels like little more than a barrier between the sex scenes, and the “jokes” are so lame and poorly executed, all they do is extend an already boring story.
Let’s talk about the comedy in Lucy Got Problems. The writer had a constant need to tell “jokes.” Jokes that interfere with the plot, jokes that interfere with the dialogue, jokes that go on criminally long, and random bullshit which is also passed off as comedy. At so many points in this story, everything is interrupted for us to be reminded that Lucy is hungry, horny, and probably retarded. I couldn’t tell you how much of my time was wasted reading about Lucy’s food fetishes.
Do you remember when you were eight years old, and you thought that saying something random was the same as being funny? The writer of this story remembers. They also still think it’s funny. When Lucy transforms into a school girl and sprouts wings to prevent her from plummeting to a well deserved death, that isn’t interesting, cool, or funny. It’s laziness. It’s shitty writing. Even when the story introduces a legitimately funny concept, it will still be ruined. The thing it likes to do most is to keep a gag going until way past its expiration date. If you’re going to place a joke in the middle of plot development, it’s gotta be in and out. Otherwise it just becomes a distraction.
Another problem is the manner in which the story is delivered. The non-stop tangents constantly impede the story progress. There were so many times when I lost track of what was going on, because some stupid shit would happen. For example, one time Lucy started talking to a fucking acorn. It was meant as a joke, but it turned into a tangent and quickly became irritating.
I can’t stress enough how these tangents kill the story. Have you ever sat in a class at school, and the lesson is constantly getting interrupted by that one idiot who thinks he’s funny, or by the moron who keeps asking unrelated questions? That feeling is this visual novel in a nutshell. Any positive feelings you may have about what you’re reading are ruined by constant interruptions.
Once again, you won’t get the full story on the first playthrough. You will have to play it multiple times before you can really get a sense of what’s going on, let alone the full story. I’m sorry, but Lucy Got Problems simply does NOT earn the right to ask you to sit through it again. It's just miserable. Even after unlocking everything, a chore I do not care to repeat, there were still unanswered plot threads.
I’ve banged on about the story for quite a while now, but my rant wouldn't be complete without mentioning the writing quality. Story aside, the writing is just plain bad. When I began my first run of Lucy Got Problems, I quickly found myself bored with the story. Character motivations were never properly explained, nothing seemed to make sense, and it felt like such a chore to continue. The more I played, the more questions I had, and the narrative wasn’t engaging me to say the least. It took me a bit to realize that the reason I wasn’t engaged was because the writing was horrid.
This title is full of awkwardly worded sentences, improper usage of words, and just about everything else you’d expect to be squashed in the editing process. I swear, commas are used as if the writer was trying to fill a quota. These issues are far too frequent to overlook. In a story that’s already a complete mess of poor pacing, tangling tangents, and ludicrous lines, stuff like this will just make a reader’s head spin.
Before anyone retorts with, “But the story isn’t important! It’s about dem elf tiddies!” I have to ask, “If the story isn’t important, then why is there so fucking much of it?” Also, you know what there’s not much of? Sex. To clarify, there are several sex scenes, but you won’t see them all on a single playthrough. The issue is that when they do pop up, they're over before you can unzip your pants. The art for these scenes is quite nice, but the hentai only accounts for about 5% of the total package. If you're aiming to get this exclusively for fap material, you'll probably be disappointed.
In the end, Lucy Got Problems is “kinda okay,” with a strong emphasis on “kinda.” While the visuals and design are quite nice, the music is meh, and the story is awful. How do you score a VN that only delivers half of what it should? It’s certainly a lot better than most of the VN vomit that’s hurled onto Steam each day, and also, for the price, you might find it worthwhile. Personally, I’d rather pay more money to get something way better, but that’s up to you. Maybe one day Flat Chest Dev will have better writing to accompany their awesome art. For now, Lucy Got Problems.