In the gaming industry, the fascination with robotic beings has increased with popular titles like Cyberpunk 2077, Detroit Become Human and NieR: Automata. And on that mecha train comes Love Shore, a sci-fi LGBT visual novel with the qualities of a dating sim and an RPG. With all of that put together, my interest was certainly piqued, and I expected to see how the story and gameplay would develop as I dived in.
Although the visual novel was previously delayed, Perfect Garbage Studios reworked the demo and set an official release date. When introducing the game, you are initially tasked with choosing either Sam or Farah, two very different characters attempting to act as artificial bodies known as “S. People.” In comparison, I appreciated their different personalities and quirks, as some games cut and pasted storylines for their main characters.
I chose Farah first, an empathetic and trustworthy S. person with a sturdy exterior. Her itinerary often mentions Sam, showing that their journeys are intertwined, not separate. While Farah’s room is tidy, Sam’s apartment is an utter mess, reflecting his fragile state of mind as he tries to escape his past which includes the criminal underworld.
Despite the characters’ similar experiences when they were recently released from prison (why Farah is there is yet to be determined), the two journeys are vastly different due to their unique backgrounds. In turn, it feels like having two games in one due to their individual paths that include their own characters and narrative; Therefore, you will spend countless hours trying to reach all the endings once it is fully released.
As for the origin story, it all stems from the aftermath of a fertility crisis when Life S. Incorporated inherits a god complex and creates life through biotechnology, shaping cyborgs that can express emotions, feel hungry, and even get drunk. It seems to me that a lot of these fictional stories are starting to mix up the concept of horror by incorporating realistic origins like the fungal disease in The Last of Us, almost making players wonder if something similar is happening in real life could.
The introduction also gives you an insight into the RPG mechanics and romance options. The three main stats to keep track of are Strength, Intelligence, and Courage, which can be upgraded based on the choices you make in the game. If a player has a low score in a certain category, they won’t be able to make a decision later. Since this is a demo version, I haven’t been prevented from performing an action many times, so I look forward to seeing how this ability further impacts gameplay.
Then we come to one of the most exciting aspects of Love Shore: the queer romance. As with stats, there are three categories to choose from when it comes to dialogue: Romantic, Romantic (Sexual), and Platonic. It should be noted that these options do not affect the overall plot and are just for fun, wink wink.
Sometimes the flirting factor can be subtle, and other times it can be straight up sexual, like you’re interrupting something. Additionally, there’s a varying range of romantic partners, from the eccentric best friend to the hot-blooded bad boy, resulting in more options for every type of player. Of course, a few dialogue options are cheesy, but every dating sim needs at least a few cliche tropes.
Besides the romance, the main goal of Love Shore is to unravel the mystery surrounding the cyberpunk city, with a main focus on the criminal underground run by gods. Yes, you heard right; There are not only humans and cyborgs, but also supernatural beings who are the mysterious puppet masters of this futuristic universe.
Farah’s mission is to find out what happened to her old S. Human Specialist Imani Santero by looking into the underworld, while Sam’s quest is to live an everyday life until he is eventually drawn back to the demons of his past. Since their paths are connected, there are vague references to one another, which makes me want to play both characters.
For example, if you play as Farah, you will experience a murder-related moment with Sam, and the only way to understand this scenario is to begin his journey. Adding to the mysterious aspect is the spooky musical arrangement, which almost sounds like an electronic soundtrack from the Lost TV series.
Each time a new plot point is revealed, there’s a haunting composition that could be straight out of a horror movie. While some scenes are dark and somber, Love Shore’s artwork still features vibrant, ultra-modern designs of the cyberpunk city with watercolor paint-like qualities.
One of the core aspects I personally look at in choice-based visual novels is the impact of choices; do they even matter? through my experience
I’ve played a few parts with a set path, although it’s a storyline where you can choose your own adventure. Thankfully, Love Shore doesn’t look like it because I tried different playthroughs and got a whole new story each time. The decision gameplay and cinematics are balanced enough to make you feel like you’re contributing to the story rather than watching it all unfold.
Additionally, players can use the handy fast-forward button when beginning another run, which also pauses during the dialogue selection phase. In the past I’ve had instances where I accidentally clicked the wrong button and had to start over, but the mechanics of this game can prevent that.
So if you want to lose yourself in a futuristic world full of attractive humans, cyborgs and gods, I strongly recommend downloading Love Shore, especially since it’s free and has one of the longest game times I’ve seen for a demo (I spent about 5 Hours just completing each path.)
Whether you’re an ally or part of the LGBT community, you’re sure to enjoy just how much queer representation is packed into this fascinating story, and I look forward to seeing more of it when it launches in Spring 2023.
https://twinfinite.net/2023/01/love-shore-demo-impressions/ Love Shore Is Just The Dirty Queer Cyborg Thirst Trap You Dreamed Of (Demo Impressions)