Browsing through the PC-88 library, I notice a decent amount of Doujin soft works here and there. While they do have their issues, compared to official releases by bigger companies, most of these titles are of a really high quality in terms of many aspects. When you look at it that way, some things never change even decades later, do they? Ah, but I really like the unique ideas in most of these games, even though the execution is not always done very well. You can tell that it was a simple time when innovative spirits were able to tap out their potential and the results are pretty interesting if anything.
The “Mature” series is a trio of doujin puzzle games released through the period of 89- 91 by Excel Soft. While plot elements are lackluster, the CG artwork is of a pretty good quality and the gameplay is quite enjoyable.
In these games, you are a heart. A throbbing red mass full of emotion and strength, which is enough to let you push any block that might stand in your way! There is also a girl who moves all over the place and your object is to use the blocks scattered around to forge her a path that would lead her to the nearby door. The girl always moves straight, but if there is a solid object in her path, upon reaching it she will turn left, before continuing with her usual movement pattern. A pretty simple formula, isn’t it? Well, it stays the same for the whole course of the series. No new gimmicks or even tile set layouts! Even the character sprites stay the same, despite the fact that the girl you forge a path for is only featured in the first game.
There are a few ways for a failure in these games. One of them is if you get into a direct contact with the girl. Some levels feature black holes, which as far as we know, are not very kind towards walking bags of flesh. You can grind your heart- shaped body all you want into them though or just push some blocks into their hungry maws to completely obliterate them. Other than that, the only way left to screw up is if you push a block in a bad way were it would put you in a softlock. Suicide is the only option at that point…
The first game of the series features an animated sequence of the girl you forge a path for, who will undress gradually as you progress through the stages. There is also a very rich main menu, which has some additional CGs of monster girls, sound test and whatnot. For some reason, I never managed to find the suicide or speed- up key for this game, so I’m wondering if those options were still absent? It’s not that big of an issue really, given that most levels in the first game were of a really simple nature, with some of average difficulty every now and then.
The second title features CGs of random girls in what seems to be a sleepover with gradually developing lesbian sexual intercourse. The main menu is reduced to simply an option where you can pick a different soundtrack to listen to while playing the game. The levels are more of the same as within’ the first game, though there are a few that require you to act real fast at the start and can be quite the pain in the ass when it comes to preserving your extra lives. Practice makes perfect, but to be fair, once you get past their rough start, the rest is a cakewalk. Still, it’s quite the jerk move that can leave you with a bad taste in your mouth.
The third and final game is depraved of any main menu options, apart from starting the game. There is now a voiced opening sequence of a girl greeting you and then it’s straight into the fray! The levels in this game are of a bit more complicated nature, with one breathers being more and more rare. CGs are of just random girls at random places at a random time. References to other popular projects are also present. As a final entry for the series, I can’t say that this one feels rushed, at least not when it comes to the level design.
It’s a weird trio, but they are fun to hang out with! A total of 90 unique level sets (30 per game), featuring the same formula over and over. Surprisingly, it doesn’t get boring after a while, so I’m wondering if it has something to do with the quick pace of progression these games offer. While I’m not a big fan of puzzles featuring limited tries, these games are not all that hard or long to breeze through, even with the few extra lives you are provided with. Overall, I had a pretty good time!