Abaddon: Princess of the Decay Review – Sexy Retro Horror

    Title: Abaddon: Princess of the Decay
    Developer: Sakuraprin
    Release Date: October 19, 2021
    Reviewed On: PC
    Publisher: Fakku
    Genre: Horror RPG

Abaddon: Princess of the Decay is a horror RPG with retro aesthetics. Though it’s not spoken about often, I had heard of it back when it was still only known by its Japanese name Fukai ni Nemuru: Oujo no Abaddon. Suffice to say, as a fan of RPGs, horror, Corpse Party, and erotic games, it’s been on my radar for a while.

Developed by Sakuraprin, Abaddon is a sum of many parts. However, the short story pitch I can give is that it takes place in a mysterious old mansion where a professor and a few teenagers are tasked with investigating, which leads them to supernatural situations of the deadly sort. However, before things get nasty, the professor asks his son to bring some keys he’s left at home.

Thus our protagonist, Homura, and his friends end up entering the premises along with two members of the professor’s team that were lucky enough to arrive late. Soon enough, the group of six people meets the horrors of those halls and will have to fight their hardest to survive.

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In Abaddon, players control the protagonist and two people chosen at an early point of the game. By picking them, the player defines which events will be available during that playthrough. Each character has different reactions and individual powers, where specific combinations can even lead to special scenes as they become more intimate.

Three girls and two boys can be partnered with Homura, and the game has BL content locked through optional settings. Whenever the player has access to a bed, it’s possible to interact with the partners or let them have some alone time with the other party member, as the game also includes NTR content. However, bed usage is limited, so it’s essential to be carefully picking when to rest.

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As a horror title, managing your resources is crucial for survival. Each character has three slots of storage, with three more in case you pick Kippei. This limitation affects consumables, weapons, and key items. However, players can drop their items at a box and get them back at any resting spot.

As an RPG, Abaddon has a unique fear system. Instead of HP, the cast has a sort of sanity gauge and a few hearts. Each character is afraid of a specific kind of monster, and meeting it will increase their bar. Unfortunately, being hit also makes them more afraid, which eventually makes them go berserk, and if the gauge is filled, the character will faint and lose a heart when the battle is over.

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If Homura has no hearts left, the game ends, returning players to the last save point. The same happens if all three characters faint, but the partners may die in battle if they lose all their hearts. But before that, when they reach their last heart, they become hopeless, which may activate an event of them running away.

By failing at the management or when facing bosses, it’s possible to see multiple, let’s call them, messed-up situations. In addition, some events only show up if the player meets specific criteria, which can honestly be hard to get. So if you want to see everything the game has to offer, it will take some effort, which can be reduced with a guide.

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Abaddon: Princess of the Decay is a very old-school kind of hardcore. If you go at it blind, managing fear levels and getting through the first playthrough could be challenging, as there are many intricacies to understand. It’s even possible to get soft-locked by having no way to hold out against enemies or running out of healing items and bed uses.

To deal with that, the game offers a “give up” option, which allows players to restart the game from the moment Homura and his friends enter the mansion. The advantage of doing it is you get to keep your level though you will discard the items. In addition, players who get to the ending can replay using the new game plus feature. A higher level will also reduce the random encounter rate, making it faster to play the game a second time.

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Besides the harsh limitations, keep in mind there are a few instances of translation issues. These are mostly related to system messages that don’t fit the circumstances, such as confusing battle messages or object interactions.

One that hindered my progress a little was the inconsistent naming of the paintings in a reordering puzzle. Further, the game features a retro soundtrack that sells the nostalgia of it all, and it’s possible to unlock updated CGs if the classic versions aren’t to your liking.

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Abaddon: Princess of the Decay can be a frustrating experience if you’re not looking for a challenging RPG for your next romp into the eroge horror genre. However, it’s an interesting experience that I can’t say I’ve had in a while. The game manages to provide moments of tension and real stakes for these characters but requires a lot of player investment to see see the nightmares it has to share.

A review copy of the title was provided by the publisher for review purposes

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Ivanir Ignacchitti

Random Japanese games are my jam. Handhelds, RPGs, VNs and PC banzai.