Idols Galore! (PC) review
"Then, quite suddenly and also improbably, Kuro decides to have sex with his assistant (whom he has been neglecting). This triggers a series of sexual encounters that occur almost non-stop for the next hour or so, until the game ends. So, to recap: you start playing and see almost nothing, get really bored, then get a mind-numbing rush of nudity toward the end that almost takes away any of the enjoyment."
People play hentai games for one reason: cartoon boobies. Certainly, theyíre not playing for the plot or the characters; those are almost always the same from one game to another, even if names and artistic depictions vary. A good movie or novel provides the same enjoyment and emotional attachment in substantially less time and with no likelihood of carpal tunnel. Argue the point all you like, but everything comes down to the breasts.
The people responsible for Idols Galore! seem to have forgotten that initially, then remembered only once it was too late. The story begins slowly, with the introduction of the protagonist. His name is Kuro Miyabi, and his job is to turn bad business investments into a sure thing. A few minutes in, youíll find his latest mission, which is to keep a few troublesome ďidolsĒ (if the term throws you, think of Jessica Simpson, Britney Spears or even Paris Hilton) from leaving one company in favor of the other. He will do this by having sex with them. First, though, youíll have to sit through a bunch of boring text and a few options that simply let you pick which girl you wish to pursue (then you wonít make any choices at all for the last few hours, just click the left mouse button a billion times).
The text-heavy problems Kuro face begin and end with a woman named Yumiko Akane. She was once a famous idol, but has now assumed a managerial role. The girls she took under her wing trust her, and she is suspicious of Kuroís motives the minute he and his lovely assistant arrive on the scene. This is the gameís excuse to make you work for your nudity. Aside from an encounter with a business partner early on, you wonít see so much as a single nipple for the first two hours or so. There will be some near misses and a lot of tedium (you get to read about a lot of photo shoots that you wonít ever actually see), but no skin.
Then, quite suddenly and also improbably, Kuro decides to have sex with his assistant (whom he has been neglecting). This triggers a series of sexual encounters that occur almost non-stop for the next hour or so, until the game ends. So, to recap: you start playing and see almost nothing, get really bored, then get a mind-numbing rush of nudity toward the end that almost takes away any of the enjoyment. Sound good?
Even if it does, there are a few wrinkles that further taint the experience. I know you probably donít want to think much about the plot or how realistic it is when youíre playing a hentai game, but the plot for Idols Galore! is often so boring that youíll have no other choice. Once logic started flooding my brain, it wouldnít stop.
Consider Kuro. Heís your normal, featureless protagonist with longish hair and a tendency to be horny and forthcoming. Okay, thatís fine. But his justification for his actions is pretty stupid, and itís crammed down your throat as if itís perfectly normal. The most obvious example is the way he views women. The game fairly makes the point that women should not be considered objects. One Ďvillainí refers to them as meat and offers to arrange sex with them as part of a business proposition. At this late stage in the game, Kuro is repulsed that a man could be so evil (his rage at the notion consumes him to such a degree that he even smashes a desk into pieces), even though he forced himself upon each of them earlier in the game!
Naturally, that was different. When he forced them out of their shirts and massaged their panties while they begged him not to do so, he was just releasing their repressed love for him. It wasnít wrong, because thatís what the plot demanded. By the end of the game, when the victim of your choice is begging Kuro for sex and thanking him when he gives her the treat that is his penis, all is right with the world.
Ugh. Gag me with a frying pan!
This sort of contradiction is evident in just about any hentai game you might wish to name, but here it was especially disturbing. No, the scenes in Idols Galore! arenít repulsive compared to what else the genre offers. Theyíre actually quite bland and, as I mentioned, their frequency diminishes their effectiveness. Thatís the problem, though. By forcing so much skin upon you after delaying the moment for so long, the game makes everything seem dull. By the end, I was practically groaning every time I saw another shot of a nipple or vaginal region, even though they are drawn quite nicely.
Obviously, thatís a unique reaction that no hentai game should ever produce from a horny gamer. I didnít really think Iíd be so disappointed by Idols Galore! when I looked at the cover art. The girls looked pretty sexy, and I knew Iíd get to see them naked. It sounded like a winning proposition to me! Unfortunately, this is one of those games that doesnít do enough things right to remain engaging. If I want to read about boring photo shoots for a few hours, Iíll pick upóno, screw that. Iíll stay as far away from it as possible. Who wouldnít?
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Staff review by Jason Venter (January 01, 2006)
Jason Venter has been playing games for 30 years, since discovering the Apple IIe version of Mario Bros. in his elementary school days. Now he writes about them, here at HonestGamers and also at other sites that agree to pay him for his words.
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