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Standard Review: UnderParty (PC) (NSFW)

CW: Discussion and mentions of fetishism of pain, violence, gore, amputation and death.

Welp, I was not kept away from weird fetish games for long. UnderParty is certainly an interesting game, at the very least. UnderParty was released on Steam in English in 2020, but I know that its Japanese release was earlier because it was apparently common for gameplay videos to randomly show up in people’s Youtube recommendations in the late 2010s. Yeah, that makes things a bit awkward when you remember that UnderParty is a ryona fetish game, and some of the people who may have clicked those links were teens. In case you’re unaware, ryona is a type of hentai genre based around causing inflicting pain in a sexualized way.

Anyway, there’s likely going to be some people who hear “ryona” and think that UnderParty is going to be a grotesque gorefest on the same level as Demonophobia, Nayoriyo, or DepraviA. In actuality, UnderParty is a fairly tame example of the genre. There’s also no sex in this game, so it’s easier to recommend if the gameplay sounds appealing. That being said, the initial campaign is clearly focused more on the fetish part than the gameplay.

For most normies, UnderParty will either unnerve them, or it will awaken something in them. UnderParty’s core fetish is embedded in every aspect of its design. Enemies are large, muscular men, who will hold you up by your hair and repeatedly punch you in the gut while you try to escape. Meanwhile, you play as a bunny girl named Mizuno Aoi who is half the size of most enemies in the game, and most attacks will send you flying across the room and colliding with walls, that also deal damage. Those who do not have a tolerance to violence are best passing on this game.

So I know what you all are thinking. You want to know whether I’m into this fetish or not? You want to know whether or not I’m the kind of fucked up bitch who get a bit turned on when I see a big breasted anime girl holding a syringe over the player character’s dead body with bruises on her arm, well I was until I described it that way which makes it sound pretty fucked up. Yeah, if you’re now concerned for my well being or in fear for your life, this game isn’t for you.

Standing here, I realize!

But in all seriousness, UnderParty’s sexual content ranges from your standard BDSM fare to some pretty fucked up shit like eroticized amputation and cannibalism, and I have to say, I was kinda into some of them. One of the first cgs you unlock is an image of Aoi with her arms and legs amputated and presumably, dressed in cute, frilly clothing, and placed between two teddy bear on a bed, one of which is given her eyes. Also on that bed is a saw with bloodstains on it. Said image is simultaneously cute yet terrifying in a way that brings to mind the bad ending of Mad Father.

It was actually quite some time ago that I played this, so I don’t know how far gone my sexuality was, but I do remember that I found that image strangely comforting in a way that only a true masochist can. To be so pretty and cute even in death, it’s something you can only ever take comfort in if you’re so terrified of the world around you, and have such a low opinion of yourself, that you crave being adored no matter how one goes about doing so. That’s what makes Guardian Acorn so special, it’s not just a game review blog, but it’s also a cry for help!

Rarely has a simple fetish image inflicted so many conflicting emotions in me.

Anyway, the initial campaign nails the fetish appeal, but it in turn makes the gameplay feel significantly more clunky. I’m sure I don’t need to explain why it’s frustrating to be knocked across the room and for it to take several second to get back up, but that pales in comparison to the frequent instance death traps and the backtracking that ensues once killed by them.

And THAT pales in comparison to the second half of the campaign, which is basically a giant escort mission where the person you’re escorting is defenseless and has her movement mapped to yours. But she’s also a few steps behind you, which leads to her falling in pits that you easily cleared, or getting stuck on the floor above you when you’re on the platform below.

Thankfully, the main campaign only lasts for a few hours, and the bulk of the gameplay is in the sweeping operations modes. About 28 of the 30 hours I spent on this game was spent in the sweeping operations mode, which should really tell you about the increase in quality. It’s also when UnderParty starts to focus more on the gameplay than the fetish material. The basic gist of the gameplay changes is that, unlike the Metroidvania like gameplay of the original campaign, you get a linear level layout more like a traditional beat em up hack n slash whatever. Said levels layouts will be randomly chosen based on locations from the game, but they follow the general level themes and conclude with harder versions of the previous bosses. You also have limited lives, and have to start over if you lose them all.

It was this mode that really made you strategize and learn how to effectively deal with enemies, and was a much more engaging experience than the main campaign. But it didn’t just come down to “git gud” though, there were also RPG elements that could be used to access newer moves, increased stats, or increased life counts. You can also pick up temporary upgrades and power ups in game as well, in addition to spare ammo for your guns, but these are randomized. In other words, UnderParty changes genres after you clear the main game, and it improves because of it.

And you still unlock fanservice pic and Holy fuck my gay heart is pounding!

While the personality of the game shines more in the main campaign, there is still at least some element of it in the first sweeping operations campaign. And it was also a neat touch how the final boss is also the father of the samurai girl you fought as the final boss as the main campaign, and FUCK is he hard! Notice how I said the “FIRST” Sweeping Operations campaign, as there is a second one. This second campaign takes place in a completely different area, with some new mechanics, new music that doesn’t sound like stock royalty free tracks, and significantly greater difficulty. You will have unlocked most of the moves at this point, but can keep increasing stats with each attempt.

UnderParty was an overall positive experience, both in terms of its strange fetish appeal and its gameplay following the initial campaign. There isn’t any getting past the fetish material if it isn’t your thing, but the Sweeping Operations campaigns will appeal to gamers who prefer the old school arcade style approach of limited continues and repeated attempts. If anything, this makes UnderParty a bit of a rarity since a lot of fetish games tend to suck ass in the gameplay department, and the fetish department to but in a different way. I guess this means that UnderParty shouldn’t be swept under the rug.

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