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Yukkuri Panic: Escalation Game Review

13 min read

A game for those who love girls who really, really love girls and aren’t subtle about it.

What They Say:
The visual novel is a great game in which you must guide the main character Rie as she navigates the dark world of lesbian possession. Rie Komatsuzaki has just transferred to the prestigious St. Yale Academy, a Catholic school for girls, and she’s sad and confused. She had fallen in love with her home tutor then discovered that her stepmother was involved in an illicit relationship with him.

Now at her new school, she finds herself alone and confused. On a whim, she enters the school chapel, where she encounters Naomi and Midori making love. She’s immediately taken aback — “What are they doing? Girls aren’t supposed to touch each other like that!” And yet, a strange warmth fills Rie, and her panties grow wet. Before she knows what’s happening, she’s the target of the two girls who seek to make her their plaything for sex. Several fascinating endings to explore!

Then get ready for a great action game in the tradition of the classic “Gal’s Panic” erotic arcade games. Combining an original story with 21 levels of gorgeous erotic art that you unlock as you play, it’s similar to the classic Qix arcade games. Your ship travels along the outside edge of the picture, and you can move forward and draw sections of the picture by holding the space bar. Beware of the many enemies that move around the screen, including the Boss, which shoots out missiles and fireballs at you. If something touches the line you’re drawing, sparks will move towards you, destroying your ship if it touches you before you finish claiming a section of screen. The gameplay is fast and furious and erotic! A super item for all Yuri2D fans.

The Review:
Given that the game is an ero (and heavy on that) one the character designers knew that they had to design characters that would look cute in their clothing but would be attractive enough to keep people’s attention when they are unclothed as well. There are only four characters that are shown in the game so the character designers were able to use a distinct appearance for each one in creating them so that they don’t appear to be carbon copies of each other in build or features and just for good measure each of them is assigned different hair and eye coloring to help with differentiating them as well as appealing to fans of certain design types. The characters are largely detailed enough to pass muster in this format though they aren’t quite to the level one would expect in a format like a higher budgeted anime series which means that there are times some of the characters go a bit off model, particularly in Rie’s case as on occasion depending on her positioning it looks like her weight fluctuates a bit noticeably as well as some other variances with character appearances for all four women. The backgrounds come across as largely good enough to establish the game and give it the impression of a Catholic school but the design, while effective for creating atmosphere are largely rather simple. There are also a few places where the game attempts some motion though this is done in such a ridiculous manner that they come across as rather laughable in execution.

The text for the game appears in a white font and it is set inside a slate-gray colored box that takes up the bottom portion of the screen and which then has a small box on the upper left of its perimeter  to indicate which character is currently speaking. Theoretically there is an option to play with this as there are three options in the menu for text styles but no amount of attempting to modify this using the controls was able to produce any discernible differences during play through. Along with that there is also an option to change the text speed which effects how fast the text appears in relation to the dialogue for the given but of speech. The translation itself is largely a passable one as it seems to convey the meaning involved though there are a few issues present as there were (a few) spelling and spacing errors noted along with an odd translation that didn’t seem to make sense contextually, but for the most part the translation was an acceptable presentation overall.

Given that the title is an ero one it obviously the game producers needed to find a group of actors able to respond as needed- meaning they could convincingly sell the sex scenes as well as handle the normal dialogue that comes with the non ero portions of the game. Overall this presentation works, though there is the odd effect that each characters lines are given separately (and likely recorded as such) which is fine for the regular dialogue but sounds incredibly odd when the action on the screen shows the characters having sex as the idea of each character waiting to pant or moan only in turn is a bit absurd.

If one chooses not to wait for the audio one can skip ahead to get to the next bit of text, though some care should be taken as the game lacks a “log” feature and any missed text is simply gone unless one reloads to get the chance to read it. The BGM is neither fantastic nor awful and it largely works for the game while playing though none of it comes off as particularly memorable in the long run. One other that stands out is that only four main characters are voiced so in the couple of places where lines are delivered by a few of the other students present in the school they are text only, apparently either to save on money by not hiring more Vas, trying to stretch the four they have actors or just because they were deemed unimportant enough that it wasn’t a big deal to not bother recording them.

The material reviewed was provided as a download and as such there is no packaging to review.

Each of the two games have its own menu and from that very first look at the main menu they both leave no doubt as to just how much a role the ero part will play in the game. The VN has its three student leads present with the two younger women are naked while the older one is wearing leather gear and long gloves that don’t hide her breasts anymore than the two naked girl’s are hidden while the arcade version’s main menu shows the main character Rie in her school uniform in the upper right while in the lower left she is pictured in the act with Midori on top of her as Midori plays with Rie’s naked breast. The menu options are the same for both games and they are written in a black font with gold bordering with the first letter of each word getting a colored box to give a bit of style to them as they are listed horizontally on the right of the screen while the series title is present in Japanese with “escalation” written in English. The options present are New Game, Load, CG Mode and Scenario Reply  (both covered in the next section), Sound Mode (which allows one to listen to the limited BGMs that were present in the game), Option (which allows for changing text and effect speed, style, full or window screen, turning on or off auto click and skip options to be present as part of the small prompts on the screen as well as the sound levels for BGM, dialogue, effects and movie sound) and Quit.

The Steamy Side:
Yukkuri Panic: Escalation is an erogame that is heavy on the ero part of the genre category. The VN half of the package contains 14 sex scenes for its Scenario Replay as well as 19 CG images used in them that can be revisited (CG Mode) once unlocked and the CG images have additional frames where characters either become more nude or some new element is introduced to the image, usually of a sexual nature which may include changes in expression or bodily fluids being added while the arcade side has 7 sex scenes that can be revisited and 7 CG images available as well.

Both games are heavy on the sexually interactions of its cast with most of the acts being of either a consensual or quasi-consensual nature (meaning the character gets talked/groped into going along) though there are some voyeuristic scenes and toys being present in both games as well as some non consensual scenes being present in some paths as well later in the game on the VN side which uses some light bondage some whips are present at times as well. Given all the sexual action is between women a fair amount of oral action takes place along with some mutual genital stimulation though there are also a fair number of toys to be found throughout mostly in the form of strap-ons with one particular one that looks far more like a weapon of torture than a tool of pleasure being present at one point in the “True” route.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The release of Yukkuri Panic: Escalation is almost a two-games value pack as it contains both the visual novel version that plays out with the normal branching choices consistent with that type of game which are used to decide which of the games paths events will follow while the arcade like half of the release has only the single path for the user to follow but to continue watching the stories events unfold the user must pass through an arcade stage that uses the “Qix” style engine to reveal the shaded picture which then unlocks the stories next chain of events. The two games play out almost like opposite sides of the same coin as both adventures use the same dramatis personae and locations to tell their tales though the arcade version is a much lighter in tone and themes as it progresses on its journey than the one the visual novel travels down.

Both games have essentially the same initial set up as Rie Komatsuzaki is introduced to the audience as she has just arrived at her new dorm room at the somewhat prestigious and isolated Catholic St. Yale Academy girl’s school after having her heart broken when she found that the young man who had been tutoring her had rejected after she reacted negatively to his sexual advances and had rebounded by winding up in the arms of another woman. As if this weren’t enough, that woman he wound up with was Rie’s stepmother which caused the pain in Rie’s heart from his reaction to grow even greater and when coupled with the now heavy atmosphere it created at home Rie chose to basically run away from home in the most realistic way open to her.

From here things branch but aren’t terribly different as the VN version has Rie being left alone in her new room by the Sister who shows her to it and she is told that she will be sharing a room with another young woman, though the decision on who it will be has yet to be made. The Sister then leaves Rie to find her way to the classrooms on her own and she finds herself stumbling into the chapel and as she looks around she hears a noise. Upon investigating she discovers two girls in an embrace that quickly turns into far more as Rie watches on in disbelief as she is a bit on the innocent side and didn’t think it proper for two women to be engaged in such activities together and she is further surprised by the physical reaction she has to witnessing the event.

Rie thinks that she has gone unnoticed as she sneaks off but she discovers that she is in for a new surprise as one of the girls from the chapel, the green haired Midori Omamori, is in her class and that Rie’s presence had not gone as unnoticed as Rie had thought. On top of that shortly after her class introduction the class goes to Mass and Rie discovers that the other girl she witnessed in the chapel embrace, Naomi Hayakawa, is the class president of the year ahead of her and is the school idol as the younger girls all adore her (though few in the same way that Midori adores her). More shocking perhaps is the fact that depending on which choice the user makes one of these two girls will be Rie’s roommate and will slowly guide Rie down the road of sexual awakening, though the journey may not end well as there are secrets abound at even this religious school and not all of them will lead to the most pleasant of endings as twisted hearts can lead to twisted actions and activities.

The arcade version on the other hand has a bit more of Rie discovering herself as well as a few other members of the cast as she stumbles across a fair number of incidents that are voyeuristic and which challenge the beliefs in sexuality that she has established for herself and which lead to her finding that some activities she had dismissed in the past are actually a good deal more pleasant than she had ever allowed herself to contemplate as she goes down the path of  sexual awakening that almost boarders on her own personal sexual revolution.

The genera labeled “erogame” is a pretty wide one when actually examined as it can include games that have a single sex scene in the midst of 20 hours of game play that delve into deep philosophical or psychological matters while also encompassing games that were designed much like a porn movie to get in the maximum number of sex scenes possible and create whatever basic plot is needed to move the audience along from the present scene to the next.

In truth Yukkuri Panic: Escalation is far closer to the latter type of game as it packs in a fairly large number of sex scenes into its somewhat short playtime, though it does go a bit above and beyond just a bare bones approach as it tries to load its characters with a bit of complexity and motivation. In the game each of the characters each have their own reason for doing what they do, some of which tie in to things that will deeply impact Rie’s psyche and sense of self (though some of the toys used may do that  from a physical perspective as well). Largely the early events carry fairly well as one could easily see a young woman being overwhelmed with some of the situations (other than Rie possessing a level of naivety that seems implausible in this day and age), but some of the later revelations and twists have a real potential to create some very uncomfortable feelings as the secrets hidden by a each of the tree other characters in the game (and two in particular) lead to some rather graphic actions and which also lead to areas that may be a fetish to some but repulsive to others. There are also a few places where the narrative seems to go fuzzy as at times the audience is granted almost a direct line into what Rie is thinking only to have the next sentence give a strangely third person like description which creates a bit of disharmony when playing through parts of the game.

Most of the game is on the mostly willing side of things (in the hentai logic of “willing” meaning with some heavy petting a character can go from reluctant to OK with participating in the sexual activities) though not all of the acts are willing and there are a couple of rapes (one that falls under the insanely brutal side of things) in the later parts of the game so if that is a major issue one can either pass on the “True” path of the game or just stick to the arcade side of bundle as that version of events is far more sweet and light in nature (though it also has more voyeuristic  moments) than some of the darker elements explored in the VN side of things. Given how events play out this is most likely a title aimed a bit more at those looking for more of an edgy type of erogame as the time spent developing and strengthening relationships in a more loving manner isn’t really its forefront and the game seems to prioritize getting to (and having a fair variance of) sexual encounters. While there is some value to be found beyond just the ero scenes here as there is some time spent raising a couple decent issues for the various characters, the ero nature is clearly the focus of the games intent so potential buyers should make sure that a more sexual and at times visceral experience is what they are looking for in weighing whether they feel this title is right for them.

In Summary:
Yukkikuri Panic: Escalation is in many respects a tale of sexual awakening as the game’s protagonist discovers her sexually naïve preconceptions challenged (though shattered may apply as well) as she discovers that sex and love can take forms she had never dreamed of to date when she escapes from her broken heart but discovers in a new location that there are those who are willing to heal it- or to place it under the control of their whims. With its heavy sexual focus it may find an audience hungry for a title that explores live (particularly love that has a strong sexual component) between young women as its protagonist enters into this awakening period of her life but the darker tones that are present in the visual novel portion of the release may alienate those looking for a tale of a couple women learning various aspects of love, sex and perhaps the difference between the two in each other’s arms. While the game is willing to go out on a limb in a number of different ways its short play time and the novels almost soap opera like final twists may not please those looking for more emotional depth, but those looking for some quick to get to and varied lesbian scenes would do well to give the game a look.

Grade: C+
Released By: JASTUSA
Age Rating: 18+
MSRP: $24.95