When I saw the seller’s description of Goddess Kiss in the Ap store, I sensed I was looking at a true piece of kink sub-culture. The splash screens are exclusively top-heavy tarted-up anime schoolgirls, but the text makes you realize this game was someone’s vision: “Touch your beautiful angels and experience various responses and motions,” “Only your kiss can free the beautiful angels,” “Costume is not just clothing. It’s an affection.” And finally: “Each commander engages in a battle riding inside a mechanical unit. Each unit has unique skills and attack pattern.” So it’s some kind of battling game, but the rest seems way too specific to be simply “and the female characters show a lot of skin”.
The hour-long download screen let me know I was on the right track: 2D schoolgirls with long animated flowing hair, and short pleated skirts swaying. And, key, at about “10% loaded” a skirt blows up not too much, and not for too long, to show a flash of cheek. Someone with very specific tastes worked on that wind simulation, just for the loading screen.
54 minutes later, I’m hearing JPop while reading the insane backstory: evil-doers have made Obedience drug. The first screen shows two rows of captured cuties floating in individual tubes full of green liquid, being mind-controlled. But Obediance (always a proper noun, in blue text,) doesn’t affect some people, and they formed the resistance, Goddess Kiss, and defeated the bad guys. Wait, what? Its over? It goes on: but the good guys became overconfident, lost the last battle (it walks you through a battle), and are scattered. The name Goddess Kiss has now mostly been forgotten. You have been appointed the new leader of the revival of Goddess Kiss, working under an umbrella group with the harmless-sounding acronym R.E.A.P.
That’s quality nonsense written by a true believer. It’s clearly important that later sub-villians sneer when they hear our name, and suggest we should have stayed dead.
Now it’s on to the game. We start in the warehouse/item area, managed by a sexy mechanic: a grown woman, using the latest in jigglemation, coveralls pulled down to reveal her sweaty T-shirt. As per the Ad copy, tapping the character pops up more voice bubbles (written in English, voiced in Korean). Ask me Korean for “I like it more and more”. Then it’s on to the daily chests area, presided over by an anime woman in a full-on playboy bunny outfit. She doesn’t appear to be sweating at all. When you get a good treasure her face pops up with hearts flying out of it, pulls back to a bust, then you finally get the chest opening animation. So as not to keep you in suspense: later there’s a 2nd sexy mechanic, and a sexy nurse wearing a cannabis pin, uniform unzipped to the navel.
But that’s not the kinky part. It doesn’t take too long recruit two mech-driving young women and beat the first boss, also a young woman. Your pilots remind you that she’s Obedience-controlled, and tell her the cure is in your body. I hope not my spleen. The screen moves to a close-up of her face; her eyes close and her lips purse. Ah, this is the kiss in Goddess Kiss (hold your finger down, or, I assume, kiss the screen). The sparkles now flying out of her eyes let you know it’s working. Your two pilots joke they didn’t get to kiss you yet. Hmm… .
Starting the next mission, the new pilot talks about how she hopes the next place you attack will have a shower. Another hopes for food, so that you can feed it to her. What? I think I’m getting it. You’re like the headmaster of a girls’ school, keeping their tummies full and bodies clean, and also the only man they have to practice flirting with. Your harem is completely dependent upon you.
You can also pick their clothing, but much later and it’s the same alternate costumes as in every other game. They cost a ton of gems and are the only way to customize characters’ stats. Beside the swimsuits and frilly nighties with teddy bears they even have a non-sexualized option: the battlesuit is a full body skin-tight vinyl .. ah, nevermind. They are all highly sexualized. But the teddy bears are Amanda Beard jokes, I hope.
You later get to give them gifts. In many games you use “runes” to raise rune level, for bonus stats. In this game it’s poetry books, flowers, steak dinners, rings and cocktails, with voice bubbles like “you really shouldn’t, but I like it.” They increase “affection points”. When you gain a level and tap to collect, it flips over to tell you the character’s age, which is 16, 18 or 25. But mostly 16. The next level gives a pretty good attack bonus and reveals … their birthday?. That’s also pretty common. Did you know that Zangief from early 90’s Street Fighter-II, was born on June 1st?
The last thing to unlock are the personal mini-quests. From way back, Final Fantasy had these – just a fun easter egg. You do a few little things, when the game lets you, and get to see some cut-scenes telling about the character’s background. These seem to involve the girls sitting on your bed at night. The farm-girl, who pilots a giant robot like everyone else, has one named “Machines are so difficult to handle.”
The game part uses the standard energy points system – each mission uses some, and you can quickly auto-complete to trade all energy for the various rewards. When you run out, you can tap a heart icon to increase them faster. For no reason, you have to pick one character to come with you. You walk with her into an opulent cruise ship’s dining room, with the caption “Currently Dating.” Eww. Your companion gains a few affection points each minute. They missed an opportunity by not making this the page where you ply them with flowers and liquor. I’m sure this inter-office dating and misappropriation of funds partly solves the mystery of how the first Goddess Kiss organization fell apart.
My favorite feature is how every click freezes the game for a few seconds whlle it talks to the server. Even clicks that really shouldn’t need to. To somewhat compensate, you can hold down a button and have it not freeze until you let go. Say you want to give someone 12 steak dinners to level them up. Instead of spending 45 seconds tapping and waiting, you can hold the button for a second and let go. It goes so fast you’ll probably give them 15, but worth it.
So what is Goddess Kiss? It’s a real game – a collectable team fighter where you grind to keep upgrading. It’s about as good as every similar game. The sexy parts aren’t really new: costumes and underaged anime art is common. Kissing and gifts are from dating sims. The new parts are having your team be only sexy underaged girls, the crazy kissing to unlock (which you don’t do that much) and “dating” so you can fight more. It’s just enough to turn it from gross into creepy.
To compare and contrast, “Girls X Battle” is 6 months older, and ranked a little higher in the App store.
The backstory is child and girl friendly: the school has teams that fight for fun, and women prefer being on all-female teams. The mooks you fight are girls with soccer and rugby balls, female crossing guards swinging signs, broad-shouldered lady mechanics with wrenches, a spike-haired girl with a keytar.. . All very age appropriate and empowering. The plot is a rivalry between you and another male friend managing a different girls’ fighting team. Plus some gay jokes that stopped being acceptable in the 80’s.
But the rest is more explicitly sexual than Goddess Kiss. More pin-up poses. They all call you master. My least favorite idle quote: “it’s not illegal if we’re not caught.” The Sexy Apron’s flavor text says to wear nothing under it. This is odd, since you give them lots of underwear – they use it to level up. Later on, “level up” purses are made from an empty purse, a cell phone and underwear. Eww, eww.
The relationship section is hidden behind a heart icon. There are many more types of gifts. It says some heroes prefer some gifts over others. There’s no kissing, but once a day you get free “intimacy” points (yes, they found a worse name than Affection points) for “gently caressing”: touch the hero’s head and slowly run your finger up and down their body. There’s a meter that increases, as she tells you how much she liked it. Ew, ew, ew.
So, yeah, Girls X Battle is a stylistic mess: a game fine for girls; but then with boring dirty old man stuff dripped all over it. I stand by my original assessment: Goddess Kiss is someone who looked at generic “can’t play in public” games like Girls X Battle, filled with random cheesecake, and said “do these guys have even a single person on their team who lusts after too-young girls? Do they even understand the importance of establishing a child-adult relationship as part of the kink?” My suggestion: make one for women, with hunky gardeners and pool boys. You clearly have the talent, and “make games that you want to play” is a myth. Get a romance author as a consultant.