Synthetic Love Is an indie game that was recently posted on Steam Greenlight by developer Kexboy, and a few Steam users have gotten fired up over the game’s content and have gone as far as reporting the game to the Steam support team for being a “rape simulator”.
Before I get into the details, I’ll first let you watch the trailer and read the description for Synthetic Love so you can see for yourself.
Main character is a scientist who has invented a way to increase sexual desire and sensitivity in women. There is a side effect though – short-term memory loss. In other words, a person who has taken the medicine enjoys vivid sexual sensations but then cannot remember what has happened. The main character tries to get rid of this side effect.
He works in his mansion with a lab up in the mountains. There are three girls there with him: a lab assistant, a housemaid and a gardener. He carries out experiments on them: gives various versions of the medicine to the girls and has sex with them trying to find out which one won’t erase their memories.
But something went wrong…
Based on that description, it is obvious why people would scream rape because of the nature of the drug. However, the developer also provided a demo for the game so that you could also play a small bit of it to see if you liked it. The experimental drug pretty much works like a superpowered version of Viagra, but the main side effect is that after taking the drug you lose all memory of the events that take place afterwards, and it seems to last all the way until the following morning.
This now sets the stage for the actual plot for the game. Synthetic Love is a detective point-and-click mystery adventure game with a bit of visual novel dating sim elements mixed in with it. The game starts with the main character and lead scientist for the serum, Victor, waking up and having no memory of the night before, realizing that his serum was once again a failure.
After getting dressed and opening the safe in his office where he keeps his money, he soon realizes that all his money is gone. I think you can start to see how the plot plays out from here. Questioning the three women that are in the house with you is a difficult task, given that you’ll have to figure out who stole the money even though they have no memory of the events that happened the night before since they were participating in testing the serum as well.
Due to the memory loss side effect of the serum, Victor would record the footage of each test session to review later, but the latest video is corrupt and didn’t properly record the footage, which suggests it may have been sabotaged. Upon further investigation, one dose of the serum was missing from the lab and there was no recorded entry in the test log that it was used in their experiments.
Victor now has to figure out who stole the money and what happened the night before by piecing together his lost memory. If you attempt to look at the previous video entries, Victor replies with a simple “Not right now” Or “I need to find the thief first”, so you can’t actually watch the videos (at least not in the demo).
Is it a ridiculous plot? Absolutely. Is it a rape simulator? Not at all. Like most Waifu dating visual novels, the main character lives in a house with three women, all of which consented and agreed to be part of the experiment to help find a solution to the memory loss problem before going to live in the mansion, and Victor himself also suffers from the same memory loss. So everyone involved has no memory of the events of the previous night.
It appears that people read the description for the game and jumped to the conclusion that it was a rape simulator without actually checking the content of the game itself (which is understandable due to the subject matter). The website does have a NSFW image in the header showing a topless woman, and after the demo ends it shows the same image as the developer asks people to support his game so he can finish it.
Other than that one topless image, there is only suggestive content in the game that is equal to any other dating sim visual novel on Steam. The above screenshot is probably the second most NSFW image in the demo. Will the full version have more NSFW content? Based on the previous games Kexboy made, I think it is safe to say yes. However, the full game isn’t finished yet and the developer is only about 30% done with it at the moment, so we’ll see.
With all the other anime visual novels on Steam, I think it is safe to say there are dozens of other games already on there with far more graphic content. Majority of the content in Synthetic Love is played by pointing and clicking the mouse to travel around the house to look for clues about the thief while also piecing together the events of the night before by questioning the three women and comparing their stories to see who is telling the truth from who is lying.
To be honest, the graphics and visual quality is quite nice, the gameplay is simple but it is solid and the demo runs very smooth, and when it comes to most visual novels on Steam, at least it does actually have some form of gameplay since it is primarily a point-and-click mystery game.
Is it the type of game I would play? No, it isn’t exactly my cup of tea. However, I spend quite a bit of time on Steam Greenlight and Synthetic Love is probably one of the better quality games that is currently on there. At the moment, a handful of Steam users believes that the developer purposely made the trailer and description the way he did to make the project more controversial to gain more attention to promote his game. I think he succeeded.
If you do see the appeal and would like to support the developer, or perhaps send him some angry rant letters about how you hate the game, you can visit the Steam Greenlight page for additional details.
Also check out the Synthetic Love website (NSFW image in header) where you can download and play the free demo. Synthetic Love is planned for a 2017 release date.