Release Date: October 25, 2021
Reviewed On: PC
After taking a break from the moege scene to cleanse my desensitized brain, developer Smee has managed to bring me back with their newest game HaremKingdom. It doubles down on their understanding of this fandom with a fantasy presentation of concubines and some hysterical character writing. As a game that moves the bar in no direction, its writing is strong enough to hold your attention during every moment.
HaremKingdom sets up our nameable main protagonist as a loser, or so his childhood friend Hikari would lead you to believe. In an instant, you can probably guess how things will progress, but that’s not really the point of the story. The prologue is short in terms of other visual novels from the developer, with five datable heroines, but it uses that time wisely to set a foundation for each of their personalities. Regardless of which route you end up on, as the name suggests, this is a harem game, so you’ll be hanging out with all of the girls no matter what.
So the premise is simple, the protagonist gets randomly whisked off to a fantasy world where it’s discovered that our loser is actually the lost child of the king and the new ruler of Palretta. Of course, everything else falls into place after that for the harem hijinx to begin. The idea is that the new ruler will bring balance to the world, but this magic requires sex to take effect as it takes the life energy from the user. The character building is limited to the prologue as the story focuses more on its, uhm, plot in the later portions, but that’s fine because the comedic tone takes the spotlight.
As the protagonist falls into his royal duties, the girls will inevitably throw themselves at him. However, I found that Hikari’s route held the most significant laughs as they do act like best friends. In fact, Smee has some of the best understandings of otaku culture and tropes that they use to give readers every bit of what they want and more. The writing never seems to miss a beat. It’s crude, lewd, and full attitude, but I can’t deny that I was laughing during most scenes.
Players can choose which character they’d like to spend time with across the game by visiting their room. It forces you to mix things up at some point, but these scenes are unique and used to get you closer to the cast. In all honesty, if you’ve gotten this far into the game, then you’ll probably stick through it until the end. The prologue has a way of seeding out any uninterested parties with some of the most outlandish character interactions and story bits.
Following these scenes, you can choose which kind of harem you want. From reverse to troll, you get five choices of how you want this whole experience to end. I was surprised by these because it does change the dynamics of the characters just a bit. I mean, it doesn’t matter what their personality type is; during these scenes, everyone kind of just blends into one character with allegiance only to the protagonist. I’m sure the whole thing would be more believable if the main protagonist had an ounce of intelligence. Still, I have to remember I’m playing a fantasy visual novel called HaremKingdom, so I must consider the audience.
The art of HaremKingdom is probably the best of the Smee-developed games. The characters are expressive and animated, even with static illustrations. There are several costume changes and plenty of funny facial expressions shown by the cast. Further, there are a lot of h-scenes in this game. Each girl receives a few dedicated scenes, but most of the acts happen in groups, and if you consider the options for what kind of harem you want; there’s a little bit for everyone here in the vanilla sense.
The UI is something that I’d like to point out as Smee makes navigation simple to access backlogs and various systems. The font can be customized as well with plenty of choices and styles to get that perfect presentation. Voice acting is also well done by the heroine cast, and this is one title where I’m glad the main protagonist doesn’t have a voice because he can be pretty annoying sometimes.
HaremKingdom has some of the best comedic writing of any moege available. It takes familiar tropes and presents them in a hysterical way that only a group of writers who truly understand their audience can produce. The loser protagonist angle does hurt this experience, but this is undoubtedly the ultimate fanservice for those who need the legendary harem route to be the entire game.
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