Isekai Quest

As with any anime fan out there, the boom in isekai stories has not escaped my notice. It evolved from a niche subgenre in the 80s and 90s, to the most recognizable anime trope today. Recognizable enough that other media are starting adopt the isekai genre for both genuine storytelling and parody. Isekai Quest, for its part, falls squarely under the label of parody.

The story is what you’d expect. You play as a total loner loserboy more virginal than Mary herself. One day you step out of your room—a rarity!—to buy some cheap cup noodles. On the way you are hit by a truck, whereupon you awaken in a mystical land of fantasy and adventure. You have been Isekai’ed! However, possessing no adventurous spirit whatsoever, you take this as an opportunity to fulfill your real fantasy: finally having sex.

Isekai Quest is framed as a match-3 puzzle title somewhat similar to HuniePop. Instead of dates, however, you are engaging women in battle. Each location is home to one lusty fantasy babe, who you can battle to increase your relationship gauge—up to a maximum of 3 hearts. Each encounter is preceded by a brief dialogue segment, which can sometimes have an impact on that battle based on your decisions.

Once in “battle” the game is about what you’d expect. Make matches and string together combos to do more damage. You build up mana with which to perform special skills that can help out in pinch and can heal yourself by matching green tokens. Deplete the girl’s health bar and you win. Do that 3 times and she’s officially conquered.

While that may sound shallow, Isekai Quest is actually quite clever in its setup. Each girl is characterized through her dialogue, with traits that then carry over into battles with her. Clumsy adventuress Betty has potions whose effects switch between beneficial and detrimental as you make plays. The guarded sorceress Agnes stays back and lets her minions slowly overrun your gameboard, unless you destroy them by making matches next to them. Each girl has a mechanic like this, which gets tougher after each encounter with them.

Isekai Quest manages to be genuinely challenging in doing so. There is plenty of RNG involved, of course, but I often found myself pausing to really contemplate my next move. The tricky mechanics combined with the high damage output demand you pay attention or pay with your life. Honestly, it’s a shame there aren’t more levels to go through. I would have cherished seeing these mechanics pushed even further.

Each time you beat one of the girls, you “level up” in a sense. You get to pick an upgrade from one of 3 random cards, which can be stats, new abilities, or single-use items. These upgrades are also preserved if you happen to die, in which case you are “reincarnated” back to the start of the story. It’s somewhat annoying to lose all your progress, but at least subsequent tries will get easier each time.

Pro tip: if you want to level up a bunch safely, then start your runs with Cornelia. Her mechanic can’t kill you and her first 2 battles are fairly easy; guaranteeing a few upgrades before you take on more dangerous characters. Once you get powerful enough to beat the game, safe Cornelia for last. Since her health loss is preset, she won’t benefit from the game’s scaling as much as the other girls.

The game’s artstyle is quite appealing as a Western twist on anime aesthetics, though its character designs may strike anime fans as a little too familiar. Not content with merely lifting simple archetypes from anime, some girls are blatantly fantasy versions of popular anime heroines. So blatant that I am actually worried that the few characters who seem original are actually more “references” that I’m just not getting.

I am not mad, it’s just peculiar. Their outfits and themes are often entirely detached from the original characters. You get cool concepts like a demon samurai surrounded by familiars… except it’s Nagatoro for some reason.

Creative liberties with copyright aside, Isekai Quest does look quite sexy. During each battle you have a chance to strip off clothes by completing “quests”. Basically a special icon appears on the board and you have to get it to the bottom in a limited number of turns. Besides looking sexy, this also chips away at the girls’ armor—meaning they take more damage. Completing the third battle battle with a girl also rewards you with an interactive sex scene and there optional ones to find if you make the right dialogue decisions.

These sex scenes are admittedly unspectacular. You get to change the speed at which the animations play and sometimes grope around a bit. Nothing too interactive, though the attention to detail does make it look a fair bit better than the average hentai title. I mean, the artstyle alone already gives the game an edge, but I also like how repeating the same scene multiple times will make it increasingly messy. It’s an effort few other hentai games on Steam would make. Then again, that just makes me wish there was more to these scenes than just 1 or 2 positions with a basic animation loop.

If you have an interest in anime-styled erotic games, then Isekai Quest is a fun title to pick up. Its gameplay has fun twists on the formula popularized by HuniePop and the artstyle is definitely appealing. Enough effort is put into the gameplay to get you thinking about its puzzles, but even the worst Bejeweld players can eventually get through the game thanks to its generous progression system.

As always, however, you’ll have to actually enjoy the style of gameplay to make it worth it worth a purchase. If you just want the lewd moments, then Isekai Quest, with its short scenes and lack of interactivity, will be kind of a letdown after suckering you in with its cool art and sexy characters.

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