Something fishy is happening here. Way back in 2015, I downloaded the demo for Future Fragments—a 2D Metroidvania platformer with pixelart hentai in it. That game is now scheduled for a release this summer, but in 2017 a very similar game called Eroico released on Steam. It has the same pixelart style, same mechanics, but it’s linear 2D platforming in a fantasy setting now.
It’s not made by the same developer so did Eroico snipe the concept before Future Fragments could release? Maybe? Its Mobygames page, however, states that Eroico originally released in 2013! Somebody is ripping off somebody, but I haven’t the energy to figure out which. Let’s just get on with the review for now.
What Eroico is about is not something I can really answer. The game starts with little fanfare; you are plopped straight into a level upon selecting a save file, without any introduction whatsoever. There’s also no dialogue anywhere in the game, so like many oldschool titles you just set out and begin murdering whatever you find.
You play as a little knight who can swing with a sword, dodge backwards, raise his shield, jump, or use a limited magic pool to fire a projectile. Levels are linear paths filled with traps and monsters, though there is some exploration to be had if you explore around for secrets or branching paths.
The monsters in the game are its biggest selling point. Every foe is a monster girl, ranging from catgirls and slimes to sexy interpretations of horror classics. Their attack patterns make Eroico a 2D platformer with a surprisingly satisfying focus on combat. More importantly, however, this is where the sexy magic happens.
When you take damage from an enemy, there is a chance that you end up stunned by them. The foes will then rush in for a chance to have their way with the knight, which locks you in a button-mashing struggle that gets harder the less health you have. The pixelart hentai is well-animated and each monster type has a unique way of doing it. The sound-effects also certainly don’t disappoint and—if you “die” to a monster—you unlock a lewd CG game-over screen related to them. Most of these are pretty mediocre, but I went out of my way to collect all of them anyway.
This is obviously the core selling point of the game and something that the developer was well-aware of. You even have a button to “trip” on accident, so you’re not beholden to the random chance that a monster might stun you. There’s also a “Gallery” where you walk around a simple stage with all the monsters in it, so you can rewatch your favorite animations without having to replay the game until those monsters came up.
Core selling point or not, it’s not the only string to Eroico‘s bow. I already mentioned how the combat is genuinely engaging and the same goes for the platforming gameplay. The levels are well-crafted and fun to play through. The game introduces new hazards and mechanics often enough to keep the game feeling fresh. It’s also not afraid to test your mastery of these systems, with some screens requiring very precise movement. The game is also not too punishing, as you respawn at the beginning of any screen you died on and the harder segments are usually optional.
Oh, and the boss-fights! Those are really fun too
It is a shame then that Eroico is so very short. The game only has 3 levels with a few screens each, most of which I breezed through quite fast. I beat the game in 77 minutes, 20 minutes of which were lost to troubleshooting. That time is further padded by me getting deliberately caught by monsters to see all the animations and dying to every enemy type—bosses included—to unlock all the CGs. If you play the game seriously or with the adult content turned off, you could realistically beat it in half an hour.
The game is also baffling in its technical shortcomings. There is no way to manually save your progress, nor does the game seem to reliably save anything on its own. The few times I tried loading a save it always booted me back to the first screen of the first level. This is an issue because the game is prone to crashing and twice throughout the game soft-locked on me. I also pressed Esc in an attempt to call up the pause menu a few times, which in Eroico instantly shuts down the entire game without prompt or saving.
I had to replay the first level 7 times because of these issues before eventually beating the entire rest of the game in one sitting. I did have a good time with and liked the gameplay enough that I might revisit it sometime in the future. If you’re into monster girls or pixelart hentai, then Eroico absolutely comes recommended. If you’re not, you can simply turn the hentai off and still have a quick infusion of 2D platforming goodness. You can always turn it back on later if you get curious 😉