You awaken alone in a dark room with a collar wrapped around your neck. Urged on by nothing but a door with a green light, you move forward. This is the opening moment of the Visual Novel ‘euphoria’, published by MangaGamer. The horror story focuses on a young “over 18” year old man and his “over 18” year old female classmates as they have to undertake sexual rituals in order to unlock their way out of a sadistic and torturous death game. ‘euphoria’ is definitely a game for the sexual fetishists out there, but it also offers a rather interesting story for those that might not be so inclined.
Keisuke Katakou is an 18 years old or older student that suddenly finds himself trapped with a number of female students in a weird series of white chambers. These chambers are a part of a sadistic game whereby the players, designated as a key or a keyhole, must complete sexually sadistic challenges to unlock a series of doors to escape. As an early demonstration shows, a failure to comply with the rules of the game results in a rather torturous death for the non-compliant student.
I found the premise of the game to be pretty interesting, but for the most part, the story in the actual death game is kind of trickled in between scenes where the player character is forced to have rather fetishy sex with the female students. For someone that wasn’t particularly interested in a fair few of these fetishes, and disagreed with the games’ definition of “rough”, the games story would have to be the crux to keeping me interested. I have to admit that the small amount of story and character drama between H-scenes was pretty interesting, and it did keep me going. However, depending on your choices, the most interesting parts of the games story come after the death game within the alternative endings.
What was really enjoyable about ‘euphoria’ is that it has a kind of fake-out moment within the story, where if you go down a particular path, you think that you’ve unlocked a rather ordinary and boring ending. However, through the credits at that point, it switches out into what initially seems like an epilogue sequence after the credits. This isn’t an epilogue though, and I would say that this is actually the true events of the game after the sex-games.
This means that the story in ‘euphoria’ can either be quite short, or really long depending on the actions you choose within the sex-game itself. And while the majority of these options will be which girls you choose, these can have an impact on the ending that you as a player receive. It’s also interesting going back and playing the game again, knowing what kinds of decisions you make and how you can change things up to create a better or worse situation. The death game itself is quite short if you do it particular way, but the games length does increase if you choose to do things a bit methodically.
Visually speaking, considering that this is a Visual Novel, the art style really has to hold this game up. And it does. I was quite a fan of the way that each character had their own rather unique looks that reflected their personalities at a glance. Of course, being a H-VN, this made it easier to choose which girls you would be more interested in sexing. Unfortunately, one girl can not be chosen for storyline reasons.
The H-scenes in the game are quite detailed, and can be kind of physically disturbing at times. Like, I remember one particular scene involving girls being hooked together with their anuses and mouths via tubes. Let’s just say that my stomach was physically disturbed. As were my eyes. And my soul.
Somehow, the background scenery within ‘euphoria’ was highly detailed but somehow lacking the same spark as the H-scenes. This felt a bit odd as the background scenery in the white-rooms actually felt really quite ominous, and then going from that to detailed but somehow uninteresting background scenery later, it felt strange. You still get a good feeling for the atmosphere, and the backgrounds still give the game that level of intensity that’s needed to feel a bit uneasy, but somehow, it also had a kind of uninteresting look to it. It’s hard to describe.
As is becoming the standard in Visual Novels these days is that the story is fully voiced with exception to the main characters thoughts. Each of the girls voices play along with the original Japanese text (the game has been adapted into English, but there is no English voice work), and can also be set as the systems voice in the options. I thought that the voice work was really well done, but that with all the screaming and moaning going on, that the voice actresses probably required a lot of breaks between recordings.
‘euphoria’s’ biggest strength though is definitely in its soundtrack. Like, seriously, that soundtrack brings the entire game together. Most of the time you’ll be listening to this ominous sounding track that somehow keeps you both tense and intrigued. The other times, there’ll be some variation in track, but usually, you’ll be listening to this fast-paced thumping track that really echoes the intensity in a scene. It feels like it gets your heart-rate up, which can either be scary, or arousing, depending on how you view the acts presented in the game.
Overall, ‘euphoria’ is a rather interesting Visual Novel that’s story kept me going, rather than the H-scenes. However, this is primarily because those particular fetishes aren’t up my ally for the most part. The game has a great visual style and the art is pretty on point when it comes to the games H-scenes. ‘euphoria’s’ music is easily it’s strongest point though. Definitely check this one out if you like particularly interesting fetishes, or if you want an interesting horror story to go into your collection.
Rating: Two girls attached bowels-to-mouth /10
‘euphoria’ is released by MangaGamer and developed by Clock Up. This review is based on a review code sent to us by the publisher for the purposes of review. You can buy ‘euphoria’ on MangaGamer’s website for ~$45.