So, Darkest Dungeon sexy monster girl H-game.
First thing to clear up: if you're making a hentai game, the number one priority is the sex. This is what people are going to be buying it for. So that comes first – which means sexy characters, good art, hot scenes.
If everything is about the sex, is it even worth bothering with the game mechanics?
I don't know the answer to this. Personally, I prefer to play hentai games that have a little more than a rudimentary combat system, but I might just be a weirdo. I'm going to assume other people are weirdos too and write this from that perspective. But if you are actually creating a sexy succubus H-game and have limited resources, put those resources into the sexy first, then start to think about adding clever game mechanics.
So, what does Darkest Dungeon-style combat give you over regular JRPGs?
Added strategic depth by making both party composition and character position very important.
|Typical Darkest Dungeon combat - a party of 4 vs a party of 4 rendered in 2D|
The basic JRPGs are very simple. You have an attack(s), the enemy has attack(s). Repeat until one of you is dead. Damage goes up as you level up, but so does enemy toughness. It works, but is bloody boring if it has no depth.
The standard way to add depth is to incorporate some kind of elemental paper-scissors-stone system. With H-RPGs elemental is usually substituted with body parts, so the player character (or monster) might be more sensitive to boobs, kisses, sex, etc. It's depth, but not much depth – find the weakness, hit weakness for bonus damage, rinse, repeat.
Adding a party adds more complexity, as the party members will likely specialise in different areas – healer, tank, DPS mage, etc. Monmusu Quest: Paradox did this pretty well I thought. It was fun trying out different monster girl parties as they all synergised in slightly different ways.
And this is also one of the major appeals of Darkest Dungeon – mucking around to find the party compositions that 'click'.
(Generally, the ones that don't click get savagely butchered fairly quickly – that game does not fuck around when it comes to difficulty.)
For regular RPGs, it's usually about putting the beefier classes in the front and the squishier ones in the back. But then you get other synergies such as classes with skills that move them (or enemies) about or taking advantage of the 'marking' mechanic in Darkest Dungeon.
That's just for regular RPG combat. We're looking at options for smutty H-game equivalents, which largely come down to: where's the sex?
Again, the easy option is to move it out to separate H-scenes, eg a Bad End scene if the player loses. A lot of the monster girl hentai games do this. You fight a regular battle and then, if you lose, you get treated to a nice scene of having 'fun' with the monster girl.
I think we can do more than that though. Why waste the opportunity to create fun pixel art of succubi getting it on with hapless (lucky?) party members?
In Darkest Dungeon (and the other recent games inspired by it), you have up to four characters in your group facing off against up to four characters in their group. Each character has a range of attacks that can only be used in the right position, and only target certain positions on the other side. An example of this is Darkest Dungeon's Leper. He's a tank with a big sword that can only hit the first two rows, and only if he's in the first two rows himself. If he gets moved to the back two rows he's pretty much useless.
If we want to put a bit of snu-snu into our Darkest Dungeon-style combat we're going to need to break that 4-on-4 placement system and get the sexy monster girls in amongst the other party. At first I thought about making it more complex with the characters being able to move freely through 8 to 10 slots and have attacks more dependent on adjacency than position. I think that might be hellishly complex and move too far away from the straightforward 4-on-4 system.
An easier approach would be to make it possible for two characters to co-exist on the same spot. That way the monster girl would either be jumping into the ranks of the party to jump the bones of the mage in position 3, for example. Or a succubus/alraune would lure one of the opposing party to her position and then start having fun with them. Darkest Dungeon already has some fights like this. The Siren will steal a party member to fight on her side for a turn. The Hag will throw someone in her pot.
As this is a hypothetical sex game, team monster girl grabbing someone is going to be a nice excuse to throw some pixel-art smuttiness in. If anyone has ever played the FOBS game, that, but as part of a turn-based strategy game rather than a 2D platformer/metroidvania.
|FOBS - picture this as taking a character out of combat|
If a portion of the fight is going to be about party members being pulled out of the group or pinned by a monster girl within the group, then this might inform some of the combat gameplay. Maybe neighbouring characters can help out pinned characters by knocking the invading monster girl off. If a character is grabbed, then the focus can be about trying to pull them back from the monster girl group.
The other feature of Darkest Dungeon (and Iratus, but on the enemy side) is the addition of the stress bar. Characters can be taken out via conventional HP damage. Or they can be driven mad and stressed out enough to make them to succumb to heart attacks.
If characters are getting heart attacks in our H-game version, it's going to be of the overexertion-through-sex kind.
The stress system in Darkest Dungeon adds an additional layer to combat. Stress attacks don't cause physical damage, but if you fail to manage the stress build-up, your party members will start behaving erratically and not follow orders.
It wouldn't make sense to use stress in a H-game equivalent. But something like willpower or seduction would be a perfect replacement. That way you'd have monster girls attacking with either physical or seduction techniques. This could again force players to think about party composition. Muscular types might be very good versus muscular monster girls, but very weak to succubi with strong seduction arts. Generally, you want the player to be constantly thinking about chopping and changing their party composition in response to whatever the AI is throwing at them (whether it is monster girls or humans).
That's another interesting question. Do you play as the monster girls (as a succubus-summoning warlock equivalent to Iratus's titular necromancer) or as the leader of a human squad trying to resist the unholy temptations of various succubi?
I think either would work, and I have ideas for both. I'll detail those ideas in separate posts later this week.