I finished this last week but didn’t write anything due to having three consecutive exams. I’m not sure if I can actually do this game any justice with my ‘review,’ but not saying anything just won’t do.
Eve is an SLG with the premise of making high tech sex toys in a near-future setting, but it also tackles a variety of topics regarding humans and artificial life forms. It’s hard to place the game in a specific genre or even to pinpoint a single defining draw, because the setting is vast and meticulously detailed, and the game is quite well-done in every direction it tries to reach in. There are hilariously ridiculous scenes mixed in with what most would consider extremely cliched plot points, but they all work in unity thanks to the skill of the writers.
The plot contains many exciting developments, and even starts the game off in an engaging escape sequence. The setting is vast and ambitious, although it may not be that apparent in this single game considering how Eve is a part of the Machina Chronicle series which spans multiple games across a long period of time. If you’re into robots and the concept of artificial intelligence at all, the setting would most definitely be of interest.
Unlike most eroge, Eve is written entirely in third person and is a blast to read. Onikage’s writing style is incredibly descriptive and not only works well with chuuni elements and fight scenes, but also packs a powerful punch in profound moments. The end of Fam’s route has some of my favorite scenes, including an h-scene that manages to turn the sense of guilt of going for a loli heroine who calls the protagonist “father” on its head. Tierra’s true route also has an exceptional climax with some of the most heated moments in the game, as well as intrigue to the future of humans an artificial intelligence. Eve has a lot of stuff that can only ever work in an eroge, and even little things in the game show that the team is very enthusiastic about what they are making. There’s hilarious part in the game where they actually made a commercial for the game that parodies the extended commercials on shopping channels, and played the video in-game.
Each major character has reasonable backstories and development at the least, and many of them bring unexpected sides into play. Even the extremely silly joke character has a very plot-relevant and powerful moment at the end. My personal favorite is Kuon, but I’d have to say that I liked Fam the most of the main heroines (not for reasons that would prompt a visit from the FBI, I swear). I didn’t actually do Touko’s or Juri’s routes since I heard that they aren’t very good or relevant compared to Fam’s or Tierra’s, and the game itself is a pain in the ass to skip through due to the SLG gameplay. However, even the two less ‘relevant’ heroines add to the family-like bond between the main characters, and they have their entertaining scenes as well.
The main part of the gameplay is the SLG portion where you decrypt blueprints for and build sex toys (each of the 75 comes with an h-scene for the “quality assurance” of the product), and send them into the market in accordance with market trends. You plan your actions out by day and have to reach a certain amount of money and shares by the deadline. While this is fun on the first playthrough, it becomes a chore on subsequent playthroughs and is annoying to skip through to get to the different routes. Even when cheating your way through with max stats, it’s simply annoying to have to rest for tons of days to get to the unread plot. There are also 75 h-scenes involving the sex toys you make, and given how often you have to make them, you encounter them at a nukige-like frequency too. It really drives home the fact that this is an eroge, moreso than any eroge I’ve played in the past. Onikage is impressive here too, since the ero can get really creative and there’s one that even directly relates to the grand setting at hand. With that said, despite how entertaining some of them can be, 75 h-scenes is a lot.
The other part of the gameplay consists of a card-battling system based on rock-paper-scissors with skills and RPG-like stats. The key to victory is being able to predict your enemies’ moves and intercept their skills or strong attacks instead of the other way around. It’s quite engaging once you get the hang of it, and is a lot more fun than my last experience with an rps-like battle system that involves predicting the enemy’s moves (Fate/Extra). Levels make a difference, but you can still lose to a weaker opponent if you lose focus (the opposite applies as well). The developers seem to know what the are doing when designing the card battle system, since it only gets more fun the more you play it.
Often times I cite lack of focus and trying to do too many things at once as the flaw of many games. However, Eve is a game whose strength lies in covering many aspects and making them all work together, thanks to the strength of the writing and a development team that clearly knows what they are doing. Sure, the game is not without flaws (in fact, it has quite a few rough spots that are hard to ignore). If I didn’t go straight for Fam’s and Tierra’s routes then I would probably have gotten tired of the game far earlier given other people’s opinions of the other two routes, and the system makes multiple playthroughs annoying to do. While the music is good, the art is bad and inconsistent save for a few decent CGs. The tachi-e are worse than most of the CGs and those are what you see the most often. Even compared to stuff released around the same time, it simply looks older thanks to the visuals.
The good parts are very good, and overall Eve is a very fun and memorable experience that cannot be found in any other medium. I had a blast both reading and playing it, and will most definitely check out the rest of the series (and output by the same company) with anticipation. It’s worth going through for anyone who likes –eroge-. It’s so much more than just making dildos, but at the same time, not enjoying that at all will put a huge dent in one’s experience of the game. It’s a combination of ridiculous ero-scenes and comedic scenes, chuuni and sci-fi settings, hot-blooded and touching moments that work like gears to make up the whole of Kikaijikake no Eve.