Full disclosure: I like this game so much that in the time since my last review I became a lead bug tester on the game. I'm also a patreon. I'm close to the definition of a committed fan.
This is a much changed version of house of pandemonium. The game is now split into two modes. Classic mode is a turned based arcade experience where you attempt to resist being transformed by monsters spawning into a mansion. This is fitting the classic experience, and is arguably surpassed by the more modern "pandemonium classic: unity edition". That refines the arcade formula and the author has mentioned that they'd like to retrofit a lot of those features back into this version of classic eventually.
I didn't like the original version because it was unwinnable by design. This new version is a more traditional adventure game, where the protagonist gets transported to another world.
The writing is darling, the protagonists are charming and the transformation scenes are well written with a good number of transformations. I found myself getting really invested in the plot and characters which is a credit to the author. Uniquely the game doesn't end when you get transformed, instead you get to run around in your transformed form. More games should do this.
This is very much a game where the it doesn't consider itself a porn game. The porn is there as a cherry on top. The best porn games are this way. My complaint originally was that combat was fairly simple, the author has since then reworked combat entirely to be a much deep and much more enjoyable system.
Every form now has it's own abilities and combat role, and most characters can change forms in combat. This adds some much needed depth and reliability.
Also, to it's credit is the movement system. Instead of rpg maker tile movement, you can just run around avoiding enemy view cones. It's hard to say just how much this improves my enjoyment of the game. The environments and large and fun to explore.
Fair warning it’s not structured around sexual content, it’s structured around transformation content. There is a little bit of sex but it’s sparse. Instead, it's all about finding forms and getting sexily transformed.
I cannot recommend this game enough. Quick! Go to the steam page and wishlist and play it. It's free and amazing.
Major TF Theme: Human Female to Monster Girl (some MtF at the beginning)
Even though Monster Girl TFs and MtF contents are not my things, I still recommend this game since it has decent artwork and interesting game mechanics. Unlike other games where BE triggers when you get TFed, House of Pandemonium encourages its players to get TFed into more forms and utilize their special powers to get through challenges.
I really like this game, the adventure mode is a story I hope I will one day be able to complete. For now I wonder how much I missed in my initial playthrough, there were obviously some optional bosses and things that I didn't quite fight (i know of atleast one I was unable to defeat). I wonder if I missed any optional party members? I only got Florina, which was something of a default. I cannot begin to describe the sense of wonder when Chapter 1 Ended, but at the same time it was a feeling of dread, because I knew it was coming far too soon for my liking. I like epics, and forgive me if I'm spoiled by other adventure games like Final Fantasy (Real History there) which are made by AAA Publishers like Squaresoft/SquareEnix but...it just seemed a little short with just Chapter 1. Additionally I might suggest to the author the idea of a "New Game Plus" for when the current chapter has been concluded, essentially allowing you to revisit the chapter with all of the gear and levels you got the first play-through.
I'm pretty sure waiting for a game is something dislike but...for this one I'll make an exception. I am *hooked* on this one.
I just wanted to say I usually anticipate 90% of the games on this website to be smut, and that's usually what I look for.
This game is really interesting, and that Warden fight was pretty cool. I really loved Mei's story, and I am looking forward to play Chapter 5.
I am a little confused about jumping from finishing Chapter 1 to Chapter 5, but the writing is really creative, and inspired. Outstanding job making
up the story about Mei and her relations to the runestone. Your writing is really impressive, I'm going to keep playing throughout the updates for the story alone
Onto a criticm: The combat feels a little bland, and I don't mean this to be rude, if you added more involved abilities the combat would be more interesting
right now it just seems to be melee attack > melee attack > heal, other heal I got > melee attack (or whatever, but the majority is melee attack and then use the 4 combo point ability)
it just feels a little boring after a while. Overall the game and transformations are pretty cool.
Firstly this is a truly amazing game! if you like TF games, I'd recommend playing it with no spoilers, so skip the rest of this crazily long review. If you want an unnecessary amount of details I guess you can read on, but again, this game has some really fun exploration in chapter 1, so you should go play it. Chapter 5 is under construction, so you could play that now or wait until it's done, but chapter 1 feels totally complete and fleshed out and playable. With that said, here's a review:
Somehow it took me a while to try out this game, perhaps because it's not on a standard engine, and most games with custom engines don't turn out as well as one might hope. However, this game was absolutely wonderful in nearly every way.
In terms of the gameplay, I really liked it more than I thought I would. I am really not a fan of combat in RPG Maker games, and at first glance I assumed this would be similar. However, somehow the variety of actions and effects and everything else summed up to make for an engaging combat system that I really enjoyed. In chapter 1, I did feel like the combat got a bit too easy after Florentina joined the party. I suspect the reason for this is that I had gotten used to beating things with Mei alone and then Florentina represented a significant power boost, but the enemies did not become different enough to compensate. I don't know if this was just me of course, but the lack of difficulty did make combat seem more like a chore later on (with one big exception I'll mention a bit later). One other issue is that later on, many of the exciting and interesting special attacks become useless. Not useless in that you can't use them, but useless in that there is often no reason to use them when you can just spam the normal attack instead. Delayed damage through bleed and poison is interesting, but not if the battles only last 2 turns.
The one part of the later game that I actually found challenging in an almost puzzle like way was the Warden. When I played through I didn't consult any guides or anything, so I missed the skill books in the manor, so I lacked those skills, but I thought I should still be able to take down the Warden. I was able to combine a maxed damage build for Mei and Florentina with a alraune Mei so that Mei could survive one hit, recover to full health with items and the alraune ability, and then survive another hit and kill the Warden. This took a couple attempts at different builds to get right and was really enjoyable, but the actual way makes a lot more sense than a super specific build that would screw people who had different gem choices. (I saved and loaded a couple gem loadouts to find what worked).
However, my favorite part of chapter 1 was probably the sense of exploration that I had before I became familiar with the map. After the mostly linear section in the dimensional trap, I assumed the rest of the game would be fairly linear with some side paths too. But I was very pleasantly surprised when I was able to take the boat in the north or go to a number of different forest entrances to the south. There were a number of things to discover there that were completely unnecessary to the story, but added so much to the world. The first location I went to was the slime village, which I thought was really great. After a couple encounters with slimes I had worried that they would essentially be mindless monsters, but after going to the village, I could see that there was slime culture and friendly slimes and that they were people too. Again, this paid dividends in making the world feel real and immersive.
Plus, the advancement options that are given out by finding good items or stat boosts very effectively rewards exploration. I tried interacting with almost every item and found a lot of things even when I didn't expect them, and some when I noticed small details that I might have ignored in another game.
The transformations themselves were great too. I liked how each one had their own scene associated with it, and especially that there were both voluntary and involuntary ways to get them. The one exception is the cat one, which requires you to fail a rescue to transform voluntarily, which seemed strange to me. Especially because Mei has her runestone and acknowledges that she might as well take every transformation possible because it doesn't cost her anything, but adds a form to her repertoire. So on my playthrough I did every transformation voluntarily except for that one, for which I needed to surrender to an enemy. (I did lose intentionally to check out as many scenes as I could though).
The world seemed reactive to the player and their actions too. I loved the way characters would treat Mei differently depending on what form she was in and her speaking would change too. Conversation options would be different before and after a transformation or depend on what form she's in. The world actually seemed alive and not like a lifeless lump of dialogue hidden behind some NPCs that repeat the same lines over and over again. (I mean, some do that, but the world still felt alive). I tried scenes multiple different ways and really appreciated the different dialogues that felt customized to the situation when it made sense for it to change. The attention to detail is really great.
The characters were also great. I couldn't help but like Mei, with her cheerfulness and kindness. She really seemed like a heroine to root for and though she didn't change too much on her journey, I do think she learned a lot and has potential to grow in the future too. I also liked most of the side characters, like Nadia, who's jokes I liked and her goofiness was also appreciated.
My favorite character was absolutely Florentina though. Her attitude of gruffness and suspicion of the world was a good contrast to Mei's tendency to trust everyone. Her backstory though is what really makes her interesting to me. The fact that she chooses to hold onto her human memories rather than let go and become like any other alraune struck me as intensely relatable somehow. And the tragic story of her wife rejecting her after she made a hard decision to survive made me feel actually sad for her. I wish that I could help her move on or that her wife would take her back, and I think that shows that her character meaningfully connected with me.
The little details everywhere add to the charm and exemplify the attention to detail I mentioned earlier. There are jokes on every bookshelf, unless there are skill books. And even a couple references to another great game on this site, Magical Camp!
The art is also great, with so many unique assets and Mei's expressions for talksprites changing for each of them.
I liked each of the little plots of the side dungeons. The ghosts in the mansion most of all, I think. It seems so eerie and different from the nearly whimsical nature of many other areas, and the plot fits that. The horror that happened there is really more than I would have expected in a game like this, but it was done well, with great build up and atmosphere. It really added to the game in a way I might not have expected.
The overall plot was pretty simple, but the real joy of the game was in exploring and experiencing all the game had to offer. The ending was satisfying though and definitely left me looking forward to the rest of the chapters.
Overall, chapter one is probably a game that I would consider a masterpiece of this genre, ranging from great to amazing in every dimension I judge a game on.
Chapter 5 is much more incomplete, so I won't judge it too harshly, but so far I didn't like it as much as chapter 1. This kind of surprised me because I'm usually a big fan of MTF transformations, and this chapter did that well I think. The other parts didn't quite live up to chapter 1 though in my opinion.
The drastic change of setting is interesting and appreciated. And the worldbuilding done here with the cause of science and the establishment of the moon base and some ethical dilemmas is really interesting to me. And I loved the interesting structures of their society.
The gameplay suffers here though I think. The worst change for me was the dramatic reduction in exploration. This story is much more linear for much longer. For example, in the initial area, there are doors that are inexplicably locked until 2855 unlocks them for you. There isn't really any reason for this and it just forces the player to go down one path, return, go down another, return, and so on, rather than exploring more naturally. The game then continues to be linear until much later when you finally have the option to do side missions, and then your options are spelled out very explicitly. And once you have transformations, you can' only go certain places with certain transformations, like Regulus city is only accesible as a golem, and the outdoors is blocked for human form. This makes sense narratively, but also adds to the feeling of restriction compared to chapter 1. Perhaps this makes sense metanarratively if you want to say that Golems and everyone else on Regulus live a much more ordered life than those who live on the wilds of the frontier on Pandemonium, and this is shown through both the narrative and the narrative structure itself. I don't know if I buy that though. That could just be me though.
There were a number of bugs I encountered, but the chapter is unfinished, so that's to be expected. I think like 8/10 bugs were near doors though, so I'd recommend checking those a bit more in the future. In particular, I'd one annoying error was when I would get stuck by going through and doorway and being behind the invisible travel line, so I couldn't move forward and if I went back I'd also be stuck. The other common one was doors being immaterial, so I could walk through them if I walked back immediately after getting through. Playing on Mac.
The way memories are handled also seemed strange to me, like does Christine's runestone also protect her memories in the same way Mei's does? If it did then I don't know why 2855 needed to create an encrypted backup of them and why the stone didn't restore them earlier. Or if it doesn't and that's particular to Mei's stone then that seems like it could cause problems in the future with so many transformations in every chapter and no explanation for the character not losing themselves?
Regardless, I do really like the characters in this chapter. Christine is great, she is interesting and has conflict within herself in a way that Mei didn't quite have. I really liked the way that the game didn't fall into a cliche that I really dislike, where a male character becomes female and then changes their mental gender for weak reasons and doesn't get dysphoria or anything. I think it can be handled quite badly quite easily for any character that isn't a player insert. However, Christine is very clearly a trans woman, who may not have realized exactly what she was before she became a golem, but definitely acknowledged it when she did not want to become a man (she was fine being human) and was happy that her "true" form was a woman all along. And this plays well with the expectations of her family confusing her, and her family's history then also shapes how she interacts with 2855. Overall, Christine is amazing and I look forward to seeing her develop over the course of this chapter.
Sophie is just a cutie. I like how she makes herself somewhat distinct from the other slave golems (and side note: I love the differentiation between slaves and drones, where the slaves are actually conscious so they are really enslaving conscious beings, showing some great injustice in that society that people might first accept because they are robots and might not notice that it is literally slavery). The way her relationship with Christine develops is very well done and developed. The scenes can take a while, but that's probably necessary in order to get the romance to feel as real and natural as it does. Their relationship is well done as well.
2855 is an interesting character. At first, I was curious about her, then I hated her after her forced transformation of Christine, then I was curious again, and then I forgave her and liked her. I think her character has a lot of space to grow, but I already like where she's going with her introspection about a topic that is very serious and traumatizing. This is another example of this game handling a complex and difficult topic well I think and that is a testament to the high quality of the writing in the game.
The art is very incomplete, but is great where it is, maintaining quality from chapter 1.
The combat is unfinished, so I won't judge it too harshly, but it has some interesting innovations over chapter 1, but also seemed a bit easy in most places for me and can become somewhat mindless with the same attack pattern being optimal for every fight.
Transformations are also incomplete, but I liked the scenes that are there. I look forward to being able to see people react to them in the future.
Holy crap, that is a large wall of text lol. Anyway, I'd just like to say thanks for making this masterpiece of a TF game free for everyone. It is cemented as one of the best games in the genre for me despite its flaws and I will be looking out for future developments eagerly.
Tldr; Truly amazing game, interesting plot, likable and interesting characters, good handling of transformations, absolutely amazing exploration in Chapter 1 at least, great engaging combat for the most part, really incredible attention to details, cool setting, great looking art, I love it