Earlier in 2019, it was confirmed that Wayforward would be developing a brand-new game in the Kunio-kun franchise, better known overseas under the River City Ransom banner. Even knowing Wayforward's propensity for female protagonists, their take on the series being revealed as the energetic River City Girls was still something of a surprise. Releasing early in the hectic month of September, the title focuses on the girlfriends of the series' protagonists, serving as a love letter to both the franchise itself and its sister series, Double Dragon.
Though Wayforward's approach to the series is as tender as it is violent, it's HotPink Games' take on the concept that's just a little punchier.
Getting right down to business, Lewd City Girls is a short, Unity-based parody of the aforementioned spin-off, in which you play as the orange-haired delinquent Kyoko. On a surface level, it looks about the same as the original game; the expressive sprite work, the general premise, and the main goal of pounding goons and students on your way to saving Kunio are all unchanged. That's about where the defining similarities between the two end.
Were River City Girls to be a full-featured dame, Lewd City Girls would be its stockier, more aggressively sexual cousin. Just about everything in Lewd City Girls is scaled back to just the bare essentials, such as the combat; very simplistic in execution, with nary but a single-button, three-hit combo system in place. There are no strong attacks, no aerial maneuvers, nor advanced techniques of any sort. It's the bare essentials of a classic beat 'em up, and while it doesn't dazzle, it serves the game's core purpose well enough. After all, there's but one level in Lewd City Girls, with just a few hallways to fight the school's family of look-alike delinquents in — less like a proper beat 'em up, and more like a small sandbox playground.
And that's where the main hook of the game comes into play.
Successfully landing a hit on an enemy increases an SP gauge beneath Kyoko's health bar, changing color as it completes and increases in level. As the gauge levels up, so too does Kyoko's fashion sense, gradually shedding more of her clothing, until all she's left with is her stylish jacket.
The gauge isn't just to offer some visual teasing, of course; by pressing X or E near a downed enemy, Kyoko can either beat down the delinquents with a handjob, lash at them with a blowjob, or ride them cowgirl-style, all depending on the level of the SP gauge. The only real crime with the sexual finishers is that there isn't a greater bevy of positions, with just the aforementioned three in play. The animations themselves are a treat, with appropriate sound design to go with the action, but I can't help feel there's room for more variety here than anywhere else in the game.
The degeneracy doesn't end there, though, as enemies no longer drop coins when they get knocked out, instead dropping condoms. As it turns out, some enemies play safe more than others, carrying comical amounts of condoms on them at all times. While the condoms are functionally useless for the sex takedowns, they work wonders as currency for the vending machines around the school. For anywhere from a few dozen to a few hundred condoms, you can buy new outfits for Kyoko to don. The gesture is appreciated, but given how much grinding is necessary to even get some of the outfits versus how much content is realistically available in Lewd City Girls, it feels a bit misguided.
According to the game's brief disclaimer on start-up, all the assets used in Lewd City Girls are all handcrafted and weren't ripped from the original game, which is pretty impressive considering how spot-on the sprite work is and how small the team was. The animations aren't quite as fluid or expansive as the original game, but it remains a treat for the eyes nonetheless. Though the visuals are solid, they're hampered a bit by a few of the game's occasional technical quirks, such as some strange stuttering when moving Kyoko around, blurring her frames of animation as she constantly vibrates around. The oddities are never too jarring, even when it's a soft lock during a screen transition, but they are of note nonetheless.
Audio design is markedly more simplistic by comparison. The more explicit remix of the original game's main theme is a nice touch, and the moaning in sex takedowns are also of positive note, but the sole level theme and other sound effects are otherwise unremarkable.
Lewd City Girls is a very short, sexually charged take on the newly-released beat 'em up, and nails the general feel and presentation of the original game. According to the developers, the project is currently completed, but they aren't opposed to "fun updates" should they gain more support, something the game would certainly benefit all the more from. Perhaps with some small tweaks, like extra sex animations, more incentive for replayability, or maybe even a little more technical polish, that short run-time would be all the better.
If you want to try Lewd City Girls for yourself, the game can be downloaded from itch.io here. Meanwhile, Hotpink Games' Patreon page can be found here if you want to support them, along with the contributing artists' Twitter accounts: @KamuoHen, and @annueart.
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