Title: Conception Plus: Maidens of the Twelve Stars
Developer: Spike Chunsoft
Release Date: November 5, 2019
Reviewed On: PS4
Publisher: Spike Chunsoft
Genre: Dating Sim
Niche RPGs tend to use an insane premise and lewd systems to grab the player’s attention. While some only focus on these elements, it’s interesting when the systems are intertwined with the story itself. What’s even more interesting is when it actually begins to make sense. Spike Chunsoft’s Conception Plus: Maidens of the Twelve Stars does just that in a game about birthing children to take into a dangerous dungeon and fight.
Conception Plus begins with some massive news for the main protagonist. His childhood friend is pregnant without actually having intercourse. The moment the two tried to figure things out, a portal opens, and they are whisked off to an alternate world. So we find out that the main protagonist is God’s Gift, and his childhood friend, along with 11 other female characters make up the maidens of the twelve stars. Each girl represents one of the constellations, which is made apparent in the first hour of the game.
Here’s where things get interesting because Conception Plus is very much a dating sim. God’s Gift and the 12 maidens will need to produce what is known as star children who help fight in dungeons. While it’s essential that the player fights through a series of 12 themed dungeons, they must also make sure that their relationship with each of the girls is on good standing. The game loop has players speak with the maidens and answer questions to raise their relationship level, make star children with them, then run a dungeon made up of five floors and fight a boss.
The first time through this game loop is probably the most tedious because star children max out their levels at around 10. When that happens, you’ll need to let them go, which raises the level of your town. However, this means you’ll need to replace the star child with a level 1 star child who has a higher max level. With only that explanation, I’m sure you can understand just how grindy this game can be. Luckily for the player, the developer has implemented so many options for automation that the game practically plays itself.
It’s good to mention that this game does become more streamlined after. This is because your party is above level 20 and your equipment is rather powerful. The automated systems in the game allow players to auto-battle enemies as well as speed up the fights. If you’re trying to level grind, then this makes things relatively easy. Star children each have a job class that is determined by the player at birth. This allows you to control what type of party you create, and there are enough options available to create some pretty unique groups.
If you aren’t in the mood for a dating sim, then you should probably avoid this game since most of the playtime is spent in dialogue with these girls. During conversations, the girls will ask questions, and it’s pretty essential to get the correct to raise the relationship level and produce stronger star children. I didn’t have a problem keeping all the girls happy, but it was clear who my favorites were by the second have of the game. Still, the game urges you to become friends with all of them since they have special events that take into consideration your relationship level with the girls.
Each of the girls has a unique preference and personality. This makes it tough to skip through their dialogue. What makes it even tougher to disregard these scenes is just how complex these characters are. At first, they all seem pretty well put together and set in their ways, but then you discover things about each of them as they reveal their past and secrets to you. It’s up to the player to then chose the correct way to respond. It’s for these moments that I ended up enjoying my time with the game and not just because the girls referred to me as God’s Gift.
The dungeon crawling in the game is fairly decent and not the highlight of this adventure. However, team management and growing the city by releasing powerful star children offers enjoyable moments throughout the game. The boss battles aren’t epic save for the final chapter, but the only reason why anyone would stay for this long is if they had a waifu that they wanted to see the adventure through. There are underlining clues that the writers drop about Japanese culture and how they want more babies, which shows more prominently in the later parts of the game.
As for presentation, Conception Plus’ world is menu-based while the dungeons are procedurally generated. Dungeon design is mostly copied and paste layouts with a few different themes and gimmicks, but nothing special. Character models are pretty good and feature different posses with lots of giggly features. Each character has decent illustrations, but the game’s CGs are what I strived for because they were just charming and only acquired when you raised the relationship with a girl. The soundtrack is forgettable for the most part, and the game’s English audio doesn’t only work as most girls sound like they are whispering.
Conception Plus: Maidens of the Twelve Stars is a great dating sim, so if that’s what you’re looking for, then look no further. However, to get through all the dating moments, you’ll need to complete dungeons. Luckily, the automated systems are present to help players get through the dungeon-crawling, and back to their waifus. The game becomes entertaining when you start to manage your party and manually create groups of star children. It’s the later parts in the game that ends up showing the better sides of this adventure.
Conception Plus: Maidens of the Twelve Stars is extremely niche, but it’s a game that does what it’s trying to do well. In the event that you enjoy being called God’s Gift or big brother, then you’ve just struck gold with this title.
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